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....

Do frequent objections by attorneys alienate jurors? Online Jury Research Update

September 6th, 2021|

During trial, objections are the primary way in which an attorney can enforce evidentiary rules. Many attorneys worry that objecting might alienate a jury. Reed (2019) examined juror reactions to objections in two studies. In both studies, mock jurors listened to an audio trial of an armed robbery case and then rendered a verdict, rated the favorability of both the prosecuting and defense attorney, and answered questions related to memory for the evidence....

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

August 27th, 2021|

In both civil and criminal trials, jurors are instructed about the burden of proof of the parties with pattern jury instructions. Many states have re-written their instructions to try to be more juror-friendly, that is, more comprehensible to people without a legal background. Boginskaya (2020) explored how well jurors comprehend rewritten and simplified pattern jury instructions about the preponderance of evidence. Two California pattern jury instructions, one being the preponderance of evidence, were audio recorded. The audio recording was played twice to each of 44 native English-speaking undergraduate and postgraduate students who had never before served on a jury. Each

What makes an expert witness persuasive to jurors? Online Jury Research Update

August 26th, 2021|

Expert witnesses testify in the vast majority of trials (see, for review, Jurs, 2016). Research conducted over three decades involving jurors in actual trials with expert testimony produces highly consistent results about what makes an expert witness persuasive to jurors. In the 1990s, Champagne and colleagues (Champagne et al., 1991; Shuman et al., 1994) surveyed jurors about the characteristics necessary for an expert to be effective in court in four different cities. Jurors reported that....

How helpful is expanded voir dire in civil cases? Online Jury Research Update

August 12th, 2021|

The law regarding jury selection in civil cases varies widely across trials, venues, judges and court systems. Voir dire can be fast or slow, done by attorneys and/or a judge, and focus on biographic, experiential and/or attitudinal information. Three types of voir dire are common in civil cases...Campbell and colleagues (2020) examined the effect of basic, minimal and expanded voir dire on 2,041 mock jurors across three different civil cases....

Do judges set aside a defendant's history and character when determining guilt? Online Jury Research Update

August 6th, 2021|

The biography and character of a criminal defendant are legally irrelevant factors in the determination of guilt, particularly the definition of a crime. While jurors' attributions of blame often consider a criminal defendant's history and character, judges are expected and trained to decide guilt according to the facts and the law, and to ignore legally irrelevant factors such as sympathy.....

Do per diem or lump sum requests yield larger punitive damage awards? Online Jury Research Update

July 31st, 2021|

Punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant and deter similar conduct in the future. The U.S. Supreme Court suggests that the ratio of punitive damages to compensatory damages generally should not exceed 9:1 (State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Company v. Campbell 538 U.S. 408, 425 (2003)). The specific amount of money that punishes a defendant and deters similar conduct, however, is subjective and left to each case's decision-maker. Conklin (2021) examined whether a lump sum request (for the total amount desired) or a per diem revenue request (asking for a specific number of days of the defendant's revenue) yielded

How accurately do jurors self-diagnose their ability to be fair? Online Jury Research Update

June 28th, 2021|

The judicial system weights a juror's self-diagnoses of bias and fairness during voir dire very heavily, assuming that, as a factual matter, jurors can undertake accurately this self-assessment.In the context of a medical malpractice case, Yokum, Robertson and Palmer (2019) tested whether mock jurors exposed to negative pre-trial publicity are able to identify the influence the material had on their decision-making....

Are attorneys more persuasive when expressing anger? Online Jury Research Update

June 19th, 2021|

Emotional expression is a key part of trial advocacy for attorneys. Many attorneys are encouraged to demonstrate conviction through the expression of anger as a way to gain credibility with juries. Salerno and colleagues (Salerno & Phalen, 2018, 2019; Salerno et al., 2018) conducted a series of experiments involving nearly 700 participants from across the country to test whether expressing anger in court makes attorneys more effective....