Professor’s book looks at science behind jury verdicts

October 11, 2012
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A psychology professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis has written a book using, in part, scientific research to form a new theory as to how juries reach decisions.

Dennis Devine’s book, “Jury Decision Making: The State of the Science,” takes a look at two levels of decision making – the individual juror and the jury as a whole. In his integrative theory, Devine explores the “director’s cut” model for individual jurors, in which jurors create an “edited” version of the facts of each case based on what is the most satisfying and plausible. The jury, on the other hand, utilizes a “story sampling” model, in which jurors enter deliberations with their personal stories and then share them with each other. Other jurors, the individual’s participation in the deliberation discussion, and the personal characteristics of the juror influence the final narrative from which a verdict is made, according to a news release on the new book.

Devine looked at published studies on juries since the 1950s, which have produced various models about the jury process, including the story model and social decision scheme model. The story model proposes that jurors base their decision or verdict on a chronological narrative they create from the evidence. These stories often vary across jurors because of their different backgrounds. The social decision scheme model examines the influence of initial jury votes on how people are swayed to join the majority opinion, the release says.

“Currently, there are some real disconnects between the legal system and the scientific research,” Devine said. “Attorneys value precedent and rationale. This book comes from a scholarly perspective, where we attempt to learn something from the systematic collection of data and use it to better understand this process and improve it in the future.”
 

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  1. I need an experienced attorney to handle a breach of contract matter. Kindly respond for more details. Graham Young

  2. I thought the slurs were the least grave aspects of her misconduct, since they had nothing to do with her being on the bench. Why then do I suspect they were the focus? I find this a troubling trend. At least she was allowed to keep her law license.

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  5. First comment on this thread is a fitting final comment on this thread, as that the MCBA never answered Duncan's fine question, and now even Eric Holder agrees that the MCBA was in material error as to the facts: "I don't get it" from Duncan December 1, 2014 5:10 PM "The Grand Jury met for 25 days and heard 70 hours of testimony according to this article and they made a decision that no crime occurred. On what basis does the MCBA conclude that their decision was "unjust"? What special knowledge or evidence does the MCBA have that the Grand Jury hearing this matter was unaware of? The system that we as lawyers are sworn to uphold made a decision that there was insufficient proof that officer committed a crime. How can any of us say we know better what was right than the jury that actually heard all of the the evidence in this case."

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