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Law and Psychology

Empirical studies

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Ask And What Shall Ye Receive? A Guide For Using And Interpreting What Jurors Tell Us, Barbara O'Brien, Samuel R. Sommers, Phoebe C. Ellsworth Jan 2011

Ask And What Shall Ye Receive? A Guide For Using And Interpreting What Jurors Tell Us, Barbara O'Brien, Samuel R. Sommers, Phoebe C. Ellsworth

Articles

We review the extensive body of studies relying on jurors' self-reports in interviews or questionnaires, with a focus on potential threats to validity for researchers seeking to answer particularly provocative questions such as the influence of race in jury decision-making. We then offer a more focused case study comparison of interview and questionnaire data with behavioral data in the domain of race and juror decision-making. Our review suggests that the utility of data obtained from juror interviews and questionnaire responses varies considerably depending on the question under investigation. We close with an evaluation of the types of empirical questions most ...


Maiming The Cubs, James J. White Jan 2006

Maiming The Cubs, James J. White

Articles

It is easy to believe that students are made anxious and even depressed by law school and that the anxiety and depression stay with many students throughout school. It is harder to believe that these stresses cause permanent and irreversible change and that the ills of lawyers are traced in any meaningful way to the stresses of the three years of law school.


Maiming The Cubs, James J. White Jan 2006

Maiming The Cubs, James J. White

Articles

In the last twenty years much has been written about the deleterious effect that law school has on the mental well-being of law students.' Many have called for "humanizing" law school. In support of their case, the advocates of humanizing cite numerous anecdotes, much scholarly writing in the psychology literature, and even a few rigorous studies of law students. A principal voice is that of Professor Krieger who has done the most careful and elaborate study, a study of students at two law schools.1 You should understand that Professor Krieger and his cohorts do not merely claim that we ...


How Much Do We Really Know About Race And Juries? A Review Of Social Science Theory And Research, Samuel R. Sommers, Phoebe C. Ellsworth Jan 2003

How Much Do We Really Know About Race And Juries? A Review Of Social Science Theory And Research, Samuel R. Sommers, Phoebe C. Ellsworth

Articles

The past decade has witnessed numerous high-profile criminal trials in which controversial verdicts have been attributed to racethe race of the defendant, the racial composition of a jury, an attorney "playing the race card," and so on. A predominantly Black jury's acquittal of O.J. Simpson and White jurors' leniency in the police brutality cases of Rodney King and Amadou Diallo not only sparked public debate, but also led to rioting and violence. In the wake of trials such as these, many have questioned the viability of the American jury system.' More specific questions regarding the influence of race ...


Sticks And Stones, Phoebe C. Ellsworth Jan 1999

Sticks And Stones, Phoebe C. Ellsworth

Articles

I believe that research should be refuted by research. More and more of our scarce journal space is being taken up by attacks, rebuttals, and rebuttals to the rebuttals, often ending with a whimper of recognition that the adversaries were not so very far apart to begin with, and that the only way (if possible) to resolve the disagreement is through empirical research. Communication of scientific disagreement does not require a published article. Grant proposals and manuscripts submitted to refereed journals like this one are sent out to reviewers, who provide written evaluations that are communicated to the author. Papers ...


Hardening Of The Attitudes: Americans' Views On The Death Penalty, Phoebe C. Ellsworth, Samuel R. Gross Jan 1994

Hardening Of The Attitudes: Americans' Views On The Death Penalty, Phoebe C. Ellsworth, Samuel R. Gross

Articles

American support for the death penalty has steadily increased since 1966, when opponents outnumbered supporters, and now in the mid-1990s is at a near record high. Research over the last 20 years has tended to confirm the hypothesis that most people’s death penalty attitudes (pro or con) are based on emotion rather than information or rational argument. People feel strongly about the death penalty, know little about it, and feel no need to know more. Factual information (e.g., about deterrence and discrimination) is generally irrelevant to people’s attitudes, and they are aware that this is so. Support ...


Real Jurors' Understanding Of The Law In Real Cases, Alan Reifman, Spencer M. Gusick, Phoebe C. Ellsworth Jan 1992

Real Jurors' Understanding Of The Law In Real Cases, Alan Reifman, Spencer M. Gusick, Phoebe C. Ellsworth

Articles

A survey of 224 Michigan citizens called for jury duty over a 2-month period was conducted to assess the jurors' comprehension of the law they had been given in the judges' instructions. Citizens who served as jurors were compared with a base line of those who were called for duty but not selected to serve, and with those who served on different kinds of cases. Consistent with previous studies of mock jurors, this study found that actual jurors understand fewer than half of the instructions they receive at trial. Subjects who received judges' instructions performed significantly better than uninstructed subjects ...


Getting To No: A Study Of Settlement Negotiations And The Selection Of Cases For Trial, Samuel R. Gross, Kent D. Syverud Jan 1991

Getting To No: A Study Of Settlement Negotiations And The Selection Of Cases For Trial, Samuel R. Gross, Kent D. Syverud

Articles

A trial is a failure. Although we celebrate it as the centerpiece of our system of justice, we know that trial is not only an uncommon method of resolving disputes, but a disfavored one. With some notable exceptions, lawyers, judges, and commentators agree that pretrial settlement is almost always cheaper, faster, and better than trial. Much of our civil procedure is justified by the desire to promote settlement and avoid trial. More important, the nature of our civil process drives parties to settle so as to avoid the costs, delays, and uncertainties of trial, and, in many cases, to agree ...