Objective and subjective comprehension of jury instructions in criminal trials

McKimmie, Blake M., Antrobus, Emma and Baguley, Chantelle (2014) Objective and subjective comprehension of jury instructions in criminal trials. New Criminal Law Review, 17 2: 163-183. doi:10.1525/nclr.2014.17.2.163

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Author McKimmie, Blake M.
Antrobus, Emma
Baguley, Chantelle
Title Objective and subjective comprehension of jury instructions in criminal trials
Journal name New Criminal Law Review   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1933-4206
Publication date 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1525/nclr.2014.17.2.163
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 17
Issue 2
Start page 163
End page 183
Total pages 21
Place of publication Berkeley, CA, United States
Publisher University of California Press
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Abstract It would seem important that jury instructions are clear and comprehensible to jurors if they are to effectively carry out their responsibility in criminal trials. Research suggests, however, that jurors may not fully understand instructions despite reporting high levels of comprehension. The current study (N = 33) surveyed jurors who had recently served on a jury to assess their level of comprehension and the factors that contributed to their decisions. It was found that a substantial proportion of jurors were mistaken about directions relating to beyond reasonable doubt and burden of proof. It also was found that higher levels of self-reported comprehension were associated with self-reported reliance on additional factors to arrive at a decision, and a more positive evaluation of the prosecutions' case. Overall, although jurors report that they understand directions, they do not appear to use those directions in arriving at a decision. Subjective comprehension appears to be an important factor in understanding the effect of directions on jurors.
Keyword Application
Jury instructions
Subjective understanding
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Institute for Social Science Research - Publications
Official 2015 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 1 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 27 May 2014, 02:06:46 EST by System User on behalf of Institute for Social Science Research