Another look at social psychological aspects of juror bias.

Sealy, A. P. (1981). Another look at social psychological aspects of juror bias. Law and Human Behavior, 5, 187-200.

Two trials were constructed by tape recording verbatim reports taken in court. One was a case of theft, the other of rape, involving two defendants and varying the amount of incriminating evidence. Subjects were recruited to listen to the trials and reach a verdict after deliberation. The recruitment of subjects was done by door-to-door survey methods aiming at producing a series of juries whose composition was representative of the adult population of Greater London. Thirty-four juries considered the theft case, and 26 the rape case, respectively 319 and 257 subjects. The results indicate that few variables correlate with the verdict, either before or after the verdict. In general, there was a slight tendency for younger (up to 25) and older (above 40) jurors to prefer to acquit. In terms of attitudes and personality, the only general finding was that people with most favorable views towards the jury system tended to wish to convict.

Defendant’s admissible prior record on similar charges produced more postdeliberation preferences for guilt; instruction to ignore record reduced. Weak impact of standard of proof on juror postdeliberation verdicts.