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Jurors' Evaluations Of Expert Testimony: Judging The Messenger And The Message, Sanja Kutnjak Ivkovic, Valerie P. Hans Apr 2003

Jurors' Evaluations Of Expert Testimony: Judging The Messenger And The Message, Sanja Kutnjak Ivkovic, Valerie P. Hans

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Jurors are laypersons with no specific expert knowledge, yet they are routinely placed in situations in which they need to critically evaluate complex expert testimony. This paper examines jurors' reactions to experts who testify in civil trials and the factors jurors identify as important to expert credibility. Based on in-depth qualitative analysis of interviews with 55 jurors in 7 civil trials, we develop a comprehensive model of the key factors jurors incorporate into the process of evaluating expert witnesses and their testimony. Contrary to the frequent criticism that jurors primarily evaluate expert evidence in terms of its subjective characteristics, the ...


Some Steps Between Attitudes And Verdicts, Phoebe C. Ellsworth Jan 2003

Some Steps Between Attitudes And Verdicts, Phoebe C. Ellsworth

Book Chapters

Most research that has attempted to predict verdict preferences on the basis of stable juror characteristics, such as attitudes and personality traits, has found that individual differences among jurors are not very useful predictors, accounting for only a small proportion of the variance in verdict choices. Some commentators have therefore concluded that verdicts are overwhelmingly accounted for by "the weight of the evidence," and that differences among jurors have negligible effects. But there is a paradox here: In most cases the weight of the evidence is insufficient to produce firstballot unanimity in the jury (Hans & Vidmar, 1986; Hastie, Penrod, & Pennington, 1983; Kalven & Zeisel, 1966 ...