Scientific Jury Selection

Explosion of Field –Dr. Phil and Oprah –O. J. Simpson and Prosecutor Marcia Clark •Predict what a jury will do from the demographic characteristics of jurors. •Predict what a jury will do from the individual characteristics–personalities–of the jurors. Does SJS Work? •Can consultants predict what a certain type of juror is likely to do? •Demographic Characteristics –Race? –Gender? –Politics? –Religion? –Education? –Age? Can consultants predict what a certain juror demographic is likely to do? •No. •Jurors do not reliably vote for guilt or acquittal on the basis of their demographic characteristics. •However…

•There is some slim evidence that women, as a group, may be more likely to convict with sex crimes. •There is some evidence that African Americans are unlikely to convict in capital cases. •But, that is it, and it is not much. Traditional Personality Test Predictors •Locus of Control •Just World Scale •Authoritarianism: F-Scale •Juror Bias Scale Locus of Control •1. Becoming a success is a matter of hard work; luck has little or nothing to do with it. •2. People who can’t get others to like them don’t understand how to get along with others. •3. One of the main reasons that we have wars is that people don’t take enough interest in politics.

•4. No matter how hard you try, some people just don’t like you. •5. Sometimes I can’t understand how teachers arrive at the grades they give. •6. Most people don’t realize the extent to which their lives are controlled by accidental happenings. •7. The average citizen can have an influence on government decisions. •8. There is a direct connection between how hard I study and the grades I get. •9. Getting a good job depends mainly on being in the right place at the right time. •10. There really is no such thing as luck. •11. There will always be wars no matter how hard people try to prevent them. •12.

The world is run by a few people in power and there is not much the little guy can do about it. Just World Scale •1. I’ve found that a person rarely deserves the reputation he has. •2. Basically, the world is a fair place. •3. People who get “lucky breaks” have usually earned their good fortune. •4. Careful drivers are just as likely to get hurt in traffic accidents as careless ones. •5. It is a common occurrence for a guilty person to get off free in American courts. •6. Students almost always deserve the grades they get in school. •7. Men who keep in shape have little chance of suffering a heart attack.

•8. The political candidate who sticks up for his principles rarely gets elected. •9. It is rare for an innocent man wrongly to be send to jail. •10. In professional sports, many fouls and infractions never get called by the referee. •11. By and large, people deserve what they get. •12. When parents punish their children, it is almost always for good reasons. •13. Good deeds often go unnoticed and unrewarded. •14. Although evil men may hold political power for awhile, in the general course of history, good wins out. •15. In almost any business or profession, people who do their job well rise to the top. •16.

American parents tend to overlook the things most to be admired in their children. •17. It is almost impossible for a person to receive a fair trial in the USA. •18. People who meet with misfortune have often brought it on themselves. •19. Crime frequently does pay. •20. Many people suffer through absolutely no fault of their own. Authoritarianism Scale (F-Scale) •1. Every child should have religious instruction. •2. This country would be better off if religion had a greater influence in daily life. •3. Our country should be engaged constantly in research to develop superior weapons for our national defense. •4.

Central government should run only those things which cannot be run effectively at the local level. •5. If a man is showing a sex movie to friends at home, the police should stop it. •6. Sexual relations between unmarried people should be illegal. •7. The police should put homosexuals in jail. •8. Criminals convicted of three separate felonies should never be released. •9. In our country, the sentences handed out to criminals are usually too light. •10. A mentally ill man who attacks and kills a little girl should be executed. •11. A gunman who kills someone in an armed robbery should receive the death sentence.

•12. Every able-bodied male should willingly serve for a period of time in his country’s military. •13. A man who is ready to die for his country deserves the highest honor. •14. Most unions try to prevent the efficient use of labor. •15. The strength of this country today is largely a product of the free enterprise system. •16. Regulation of business by government usually does more harm than good. •17. A woman who has sexual relations with a man for money should go to jail. •18. More restrictions should be imposed to prevent young people from having sexual relations before marriage. •19.

Motion pictures which offend any sizable religious group should be banned. •20. Public libraries should contain only boks which are morally sound. SJS: Testing Focus Groups •This technique has been shown to be useful…but, slim evidence. •Draw a focus group from the same juror pool and get their attitudes and opinions about important issues in the trial…everything… •Nature of the crime •Characteristics of defendant •Develop juror “profiles” •Who will vote to convict or acquit Focus Group Example •Review police reports and depositions •Learn case strategy •Develop and revise survey •Collect data.

•*Identify correlates of guilt judgments •Submit report •Develop jury questionnaire •Venire observation •Assist in voir dire and execution of challenges Key Issues in Example Case: Murder/Insanity •Number of stab wounds •No evidence of previous dysfunction •Evidence of remorse •History of childhood abuse •Use of OTC stimulants Survey Given in Example Case: Murder/Insanity •Instructions and scale orientation •Case summary and elements of verdict •3-4 key prosecution arguments •3- 4 key defense arguments •Case specific attitude questions •Best reasons for verdict –free response •Demographic information Key Points in Example Report.

•Description of sample and generalizability to venire •Description of the questionnaire and analysis •Summary of verdict preference •Change in verdict preference •Percent citing reasons for verdict •Attitude correlates •Demographic correlates •Summary indicating key issues for voir dire Summary of SJS Usefulness •Simple demographic variables cannot predict verdict bias. •Simple personality variables cannot predict verdict bias. •Case-specific survey of attitudes of representative sample from venire can predict attitudinal bias regarding key issues in a case. •Not necessarily the resulting verdict. •BUT can help plan strategy.