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. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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