How do the letter and spirit of the law affect culpability decisions? Online Jury Research Update

February 1st, 2022|

Violations of the letter of the law can be distinct from violations of the spirit of the law. The letter of the law is a formal boundary between that which is legal and illegal, such as driving over the speed limit or parking in a handicapped parking spot without a special permit. The spirit of the law is the perceived intention of the law which is often shaped by political, moral and social values about how people should act. A person, technically, can be held culpable for any violation of the letter of the law, yet jurors do not always

What notes do jurors take during trial? Online Jury Research Update

January 22nd, 2022|

Jurors commonly are allowed to take notes during trial. Dann and colleagues (2004, 2020) investigated the content of notes taken by mock jurors and examined how jurors take notes about simple and complex evidence. While most of the notes taken by the mock jurors involved factual or evidentiary matters, nearly a quarter referred to judicial instructions and ....

What are effective defense responses to the plaintiff's damages request? Online Jury Research Update

January 6th, 2022|

Numerous studies have shown that jurors' damages decisions are strongly affected by the damages amount suggested by a plaintiff's attorney, independent of the strength of the actual evidence, a psychological effect known as "anchoring". Simply put, the more money asked, the more jurors award, even when the damages anchors suggested by plaintiff attorneys are extreme or absurdly high. Campbell and colleagues (2016) investigated whether civil defendants can effectively rebut a damages anchor proposed by a plaintiff's attorney....

Which jurors take notes during trial? Online Jury Research Update

December 13th, 2021|

hile most jurors take notes during trial when allowed to do so, not every juror chooses to do so. Dann and colleagues (2004) report on juror note-taking among 480 community members who watched a 70 minute videotaped trial filmed in a real courtroom using legal professionals to play the parts of the judge and lawyers. Lorek and colleagues (2019a, 2019b) explored whether prior jury service influenced juror note-taking and conducted three studies exploring how juror note-taking was influenced by jurors' handwriting speed, short-term memory capacity and attentional span....

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....