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Full-Text Articles in Law

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 ...


Avoid Bald Men And People With Green Socks? Other Ways To Improve The Voir Dire Process In Jury Selection, Valerie P. Hans, Alayna Jehle Jan 2003

Avoid Bald Men And People With Green Socks? Other Ways To Improve The Voir Dire Process In Jury Selection, Valerie P. Hans, Alayna Jehle

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

During jury selection, many courts adopt a minimal approach to voir dire questions, asking a small number of close-ended questions to groups of prospective jurors and requiring prospective jurors to volunteer their biases. This Article describes research evidence showing that limited voir dire questioning is often ineffective in detecting juror bias. To improve the effectiveness of voir dire, the authors make four recommendations: (1) increase the use of juror questionnaires; (2) incorporate some open-ended questions; (3) expand the types of questions that are asked; and (4) allow attorneys to participate in voir dire.