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Full-Text Articles in Law

Empirical Fallacies Of Evidence Law: A Critical Look At The Admission Of Prior Sex Crimes, Tamara Rice Lave, Aviva Orenstein Jan 2013

Empirical Fallacies Of Evidence Law: A Critical Look At The Admission Of Prior Sex Crimes, Tamara Rice Lave, Aviva Orenstein

Articles

In a significant break with traditional evidence rules and policies, Federal Rules of Evidence 413-414 allow jurors to use the accused's prior sexual misconduct as evidence of character and propensity to commit the sex crime charged. As reflected in their legislative history, these propensity rules rest on the assumption that sexual predators represent a small number of highly deviant and recidivistic offenders. This view of who commits sex crimes justified the passage of the sex-crime propensity rules and continues to influence their continuing adoption among the states and the way courts assess such evidence under Rule 403. In depending ...


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 ...


Taking The High Road: Why Prosecutors Should Voluntarily Waive Peremptory Challenges, Maureen A. Howard Jan 2010

Taking The High Road: Why Prosecutors Should Voluntarily Waive Peremptory Challenges, Maureen A. Howard

Articles

In this Article, I review the efficacy of peremptory challenges and conclude that both empirical and anecdotal evidence confirm such challenges are of little utility. I contend that the marginal benefit of peremptory challenges to a criminal prosecutor is outweighed by the damage done to both the actual and perceived fairness of the system, and that imbalance should persuade prosecutors to consider a wholesale voluntary waiver of peremptory challenges.


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 ...


Race In The Courtroom: Perceptions Of Guilt And Dispositional Attributions, Samuel R. Sommers, Phoebe C. Ellsworth Jan 2000

Race In The Courtroom: Perceptions Of Guilt And Dispositional Attributions, Samuel R. Sommers, Phoebe C. Ellsworth

Articles

The present studies compare the judgments of White and Black mock jurors in interracial trials. In Study 1, the defendant’s race did not influence White college students’ decisions but Black students demonstrated ingroup/outgroup bias in their guilt ratings and attributions for the defendant’s behavior. The aversive nature of modern racism suggests that Whites are motivated to appear nonprejudiced when racial issues are salient; therefore, the race salience of a trial summary was manipulated and given to noncollege students in Study 2. Once again, the defendant’s race did not influence Whites when racial issues were salient. But ...


Jury Reform At The End Of The Century: Real Agreement, Real Changes, Phoebe C. Ellsworth Jan 1999

Jury Reform At The End Of The Century: Real Agreement, Real Changes, Phoebe C. Ellsworth

Articles

Complaints about the jury system and calls for its reform are nothing new-they have probably existed as long as the jury system itself. Warren Burger called for the reform of the civil jury in 1971'; in 1905 William Howard Taft decried the contemporary tendency "to exalt the jury's power beyond anything which is wise or prudent .... ,2 Judges complain to judges, lawyers complain to lawyers, legal academics write articles about the jury for other legal academics, social scientists report their research on juries to other social scientists, and the jurors themselves go home and express their exasperation to their ...


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 ...


That's My Story And I'M Stickin' To It: The Jury As Fifth Business In The Trial Of O.J. Simpson And Other Matters, Marianne Wesson Jan 1996

That's My Story And I'M Stickin' To It: The Jury As Fifth Business In The Trial Of O.J. Simpson And Other Matters, Marianne Wesson

Articles

No abstract provided.


Are Twelve Heads Better Than One?, Phoebe C. Ellsworth Jan 1995

Are Twelve Heads Better Than One?, Phoebe C. Ellsworth

Articles

The jury's competence, unlike that of the judge, rests partly on its ability to reflect the perspectives, experiences, and values of the ordinary people in the community - not just the most common or typical community perspective, but the whole range of viewpoints.


Asymmetrical Peremptories Defended: A Reply, Richard D. Friedman Jan 1995

Asymmetrical Peremptories Defended: A Reply, Richard D. Friedman

Articles

Three years ago, with the publication of his article ''An Asymmetrical Approach to the Problem of Peremptories" in this journal, Professor Friedman initiated a debate on the subject that was taken up in 1994 by three prosecutors who offered a rebuttal that was also printed in these pages. Professor Friedman continues the debate.


Settling For A Judge: A Comment On Clermont And Eisenberg, Samuel R. Gross Jan 1992

Settling For A Judge: A Comment On Clermont And Eisenberg, Samuel R. Gross

Articles

Trial by Jury or Judge: Transcending Empiricism,1 by Kevin Clermont and Theodore Eisenberg, is not only an important article, it is unique. To most Americans, trial means trial by jury. In fact, over half of all federal trials are conducted without juries2 (including 31% of trials in cases in which the parties have the right to choose a jury3), and the proportion of bench trials in state courts is even higher.4 And yet, while there is a large literature on the outcomes of jury trials and the factors that affect them,5 nobody else has systematically compared trials ...


An Asymmetrical Approach To The Problem Of Peremptories?, Richard D. Friedman Jan 1992

An Asymmetrical Approach To The Problem Of Peremptories?, Richard D. Friedman

Articles

The Supreme Court's decision in Batson v. Kentucky, and the extension of Batson to parties other than prosecutors, may be expected to put pressure on the institution of peremptory challenges. After a brief review of the history of peremptories, this article contends that peremptories for criminal defendants serve important values of our criminal justice system. It then argues that peremptories for prosecutors are not as important, and that it may no longer be worthwhile to maintain them in light of the administrative complexities inevitable in a system of peremptories consistent with Batson. The article concludes that the asymmetry of ...


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 ...


To Tell What We Know Or Wait For Godot?, Phoebe C. Ellsworth Jan 1991

To Tell What We Know Or Wait For Godot?, Phoebe C. Ellsworth

Articles

Professor Elliott raises two questions about the American Psychological Association's practice of submitting amicus briefs to the courts. First, are our data sufficiently valid, consistent, and generalizable to be applicable to the real world issues? Second, are amicus briefs adequate to communicate scientific findings? The first of these is not a general question, but must be addressed anew each time the Association considers a new issue. An evaluation of the quality and sufficiency of scientific knowledge about racial discrimination, for example, tells us nothing at all about the quality and sufficiency of scientific knowledge about sexual abuse. "Are the ...


Expert Evidence, Samuel R. Gross Jan 1991

Expert Evidence, Samuel R. Gross

Articles

It seems that the use of expert witnesses in common law courts has always been troublesome. In his Treatise on the Law of Evidence, first published in 1848, Judge John Pitt Taylor describes several classes of witnesses whose testimony should be viewed with caution, including: enslaved people (which accounts for "the lamentable neglect of truth, which is evinced by most of the nations of India, by the subjects of the Czar, and by many of the peasantry in Ireland"); women (because they are more susceptible to "an innate vain love of the marvelous"); and "foreigners and others ... living out of ...


Are Twelve Heads Better Than One?, Phoebe C. Ellsworth Jan 1989

Are Twelve Heads Better Than One?, Phoebe C. Ellsworth

Articles

Few advocates of the jury system would argue that the average juror is as competent a tribunal as the averagejudge. Whatever competence the jury has is a function of two of its attributes: its number and its interaction. The fact that a jury must be composed of at least six people,' with different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives, provides some protection against decisions based on an idiosyncratic view of the facts. Not only must the jury include at least six people, but they must be chosen in a manner that conforms to the ideal of the jury as representative of community ...


The Inefficiency Of The American Jury, Edson R. Sunderland Jan 1915

The Inefficiency Of The American Jury, Edson R. Sunderland

Articles

What is proposed in the present article is to show that in attempting to preserve the independence of the jury in its exclusive juris- diction over questions of fact, the people and the courts in most American jurisdictions have departed from the common law practice and have introduced a principle calculated to undermine the very institution which they wish to strengthen. That is to say, through the rules prohibiting judges from commenting on the weight of the evidence, juries tend to become irresponsible, verdicts tend to become matters of chance, and the intricacy of procedure, with its cost, delay and ...