Jury decision making: An empirical study based on actual felony trials.

Bridgeman, D. L., & Marlowe, D. (1979). Jury decision making: An empirical study based on actual felony trials. Journal of Applied Psychology, 64, 91-98.

Posttrial interviewing was used to examine the possible relationship between a variety of juror characteristics and jury decision making. Sixty-five actual jurors who had participated in 10 felony trials served as subjects. An emphasis was placed on process as well as outcome variables. Demographic characteristics were largely unrelated to both procedural and outcome variables. The findings lend support to the view that jurors are highly involved and responsible people who determine guilt or innocence primarily on the basis of factual evidence.

Verdict preferred by majority on 1st ballot always selected. Most jurors decided opinion before trial concluded; 70% did not change opinion during deliberation, and 95% stayed same after 2nd ballot. Witness and defendant testimony seen as most important. Forepersons seen as active and influential but not the cause of verdict preference change; most often selected by spontaneous nomination.

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