Are angry or sad victim impact statements more compelling to jurors? Online Jury Research Update

December 5th, 2021|

Almost every state that enforces the death penalty allows for victim impact statements during the penalty phase of the trial. Nunez and colleagues (2017) examined the effects of angry and sad victim impact statements on 581 jury eligible and death qualified mock jurors. Mock jurors watched the penalty phase of a capital trial. For one group of jurors, the penalty phase had no victim impact statement. For a second group of jurors, the trial included a victim impact statement with emotional content that was sad. For a third group of jurors, the trial included a victim impact statement with emotional

What are the effects of juror note-taking during trial? Online Jury Research Update

November 28th, 2021|

Considerable research on juror note-taking has been conducted in both actual and mock trials for many years. Extensive pilot programs and field studies on juror note-taking have been undertaken with real jurors who sat on actual criminal and civil cases. Well-conducted mock jury studies have simulated the experience of sitting on a jury. The results of these studies on juror note-taking during trial have been consistent over many years and across different research methodologies. Reviews of this extensive research on juror note-taking report that:....

How accurately do jurors decide liability based on preponderance of the evidence? Online Jury Research Update

November 17th, 2021|

In most civil litigation, the burden of proof required to find a defendant liable is probabilistic: If it is more likely than not (i.e., over 50%) that a defendant caused a plaintiff's injury, the defendant is to be held liable for that injury. Lariviere (2015) investigated the willingness of mock jurors to assign liability if the likelhood the defendant caused a plaintiff's injury was either 5%, 50%, 51% or 95%....

How well do jurors uphold a defendant's right not to testify? Online Jury Research Update

November 1st, 2021|

urors in criminal trials are instructed they may not draw any inference of guilt when criminal defendants exercise their right not to testify. Jurors often also are instructed that defendants' exercise of their right to remain silent cannot influence verdicts in any way. Frank and Broschard (2006) surveyed nearly 600 actual criminal case jurors after they completed their jury deliberations in Florida misdemeanor and felony cases. In approximately 40% of trials, jurors reported that criminal defendants exercised their Fifth Amendment privilege. When defendants chose not to testify....

How do jurors determine what a reasonable person would do? Online Jury Research Update

October 23rd, 2021|

Tort liability often hinges on whether a defendant behaved as a "reasonable person" would have under the circumstances. Jurors often must decide if a defendant acted as would a reasonably prudent person or as would reasonable people exercising ordinary care. Jaeger (2021) conducted four experiments exploring how potential jurors conceive of the "reasonable person." The first two experiments tested whether mock jurors interpret the reasonable person standard in empirical terms (based on what others do) or economic terms (based on cost efficiency). The third and fourth experiments examined how laypeople apply the empirical standard....

What conclusions do jurors draw from truncated bar charts? Online Jury Research Update

October 6th, 2021|

any trials are full of charts and graphs intended to communicate numerical information clearly and to persuade jurors of the specific facts or conclusions that are illustrated. The graphs and charts can be technically accurate in that they display correct numerical values, while also being misleading if they invite people to draw inappropriate conclusions. Yang and colleagues (2021) conducted five studies that examined the conclusions people draw from bar charts that violate a fundamental principle of data visualization, specifically the "y-axis truncation" of bar charts....

How does defendant ethnicity and immigrant status affect sentencing in capital cases? Online Jury Research Update

October 1st, 2021|

During penalty phase deliberations in capital cases, jurors are expected to weigh legally-specified aggravators and mitigators to reach a sentence of life in prison without parole or death. Jurors typically are instructed to exclude extralegal factors irrelevant to the decision. Examples of extralegal factors include a defendant's ethnicity and immigrant status. West and colleagues (2021) explored how mock jurors used aggravators and mitigators when making capital sentencing decisions of defendants of differing immigrant statuses and ethnicities....

How well are instructions on circumstantial evidence understood by jurors? Online Jury Research Update

September 19th, 2021|

Jurors regularly are instructed about circumstantial evidence using pattern jury instructions that many states have rewritten so as to make legal concepts more comprehensible to people without a legal background.Boginskaya (2020) explored how well jurors comprehend simplified pattern jury instructions about circumstantial evidence. Two California pattern jury instructions, one being circumstantial evidence, were audio recorded. The audio recording was played twice to ....

How are witnesses who answer questions quickly perceived? Online Jury Research Update

September 11th, 2021|

When witnesses are asked questions, sometimes they respond quickly and sometimes they pause before answering. Does a fast answer or a pause before responding make a difference to how believable the witness's statements come across? Are faster or slower responses thought to be more sincere and truthful? Ziano and Wang (2021) conducted 14 experiments involving 7,565 participants to explore how pausing prior to responding to questions affects witness believability....