answers to questions about trying cases to juries

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Scales of Justice

JURORS

voir dire  ·  characteristics  ·  race  ·  gender

JURIES

decision-making  ·  judicial instructions

PEOPLE

judge  ·  attorney  ·  witness  ·  expert  ·  litigant

CASES

case types  ·  civil issues  ·  criminal issues

PERSUASION

strategies  ·  graphics  ·  language

also see  SLIDE SHOWS  and  VISUAL RESOURCES  about jurors' attitudes, beliefs and behaviors

The Jury Expert Favorite ThingThe OJRU trial advocacy blog offers practical answers to questions about trying cases to juries using social science research.

OJRU posts provide persuasive insight to assist with strategic choices when litigating cases and is:

Blog posts are organized by topic to facilitate finding specific subject matter. The overall topical organization can be accessed any time at the top of this page.

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Jurors        Voir Dire  ·  Characteristics  ·  Race  ·  Gender 

 

VOIR DIRE

Are silent jurors in voir dire unbiased jurors?

Do jurors answer fully and truthfully in voir dire?

How accurately do jurors self-diagnose their ability to be fair?

What is the effect of minimal versus expanded voir dire?

How helpful is expanded voir dire in civil cases?

Which type of voir dire best identifies biased jurors?

Is individual or group voir dire more effective at identifying juror bias?

Are jurors more candid in attorney-conducted or judge-conducted voir dire?

Which better uncovers bias: juror questionnaires or oral voir dire?

Is directive or non-directive questioning in voir dire better at identifying juror bias?

Can voir dire questions help jurors set aside a litigant's prior record?

Does voir dire or judicial instruction best educate about due process rights?

Does ingratiation in voir dire affect trial outcomes?

How does mentioning racial bias in voir dire affect juror decision-making?

Do jury consultants affect verdicts in death penalty cases?

Does judicial rehabilitation in voir dire debias jurors in civil cases?

Does judicial rehabilitation about the insanity defense reduce juror bias?

JUROR CHARACTERISTICS

How does a juror's social class influence understanding of evidence?

How does a juror's social status affect participation in deliberations?

How does a juror's occupation affect damage awards?

Does prior jury experience affect how a juror participates in deliberations?

How does prior jury experience affect jurors' verdicts?

Does a juror's gender affect verdicts in gender discrimination cases?

Do women jurors lean toward the prosecution or defense in rape trials?

Do male jurors talk more than female jurors in deliberations?

Do minority jurors participate less in deliberations than White jurors?

Are Spanish-speaking witnesses more credible to Spanish-speaking jurors?

How do jurors' tort reform attitudes affect civil and criminal case verdicts?

How do jurors' litigation crisis beliefs affect punitive damage awards?

How does a juror's locus of control influence liability decisions?

How does jurors' authoritarianism affect criminal verdicts?

How are jurors' religious beliefs related to death penalty verdicts?

Which jurors are more favorable toward the use of expert witnesses?

Which dissenting jurors hang juries versus conform to majority opinion?

Do crime victims convict defendants?

How impartial are jurors in sex abuse cases?

What is the effect of #MeToo support on juror decision-making?

RACE

How does the racial diversity of juries affect verdicts?

Do minority jurors participate less in deliberations than White jurors?

How does racial composition of a jury affect capital sentencing?

When are juries more lenient toward African-American than White defendants?

When do Black jurors judge Black defendants more harshly than White defendants?

How do jurors treat plaintiffs who don't speak English?

Do jurors believe non-native speakers are as truthful as native speakers?

Are Spanish-speaking witnesses more credible to Spanish-speaking jurors?

Are jurors more persuaded by attorneys of their own or another race?

Are jurors fairer to Hispanic defendants with non-Hispanic attorneys?

Are jurors biased against ethnic minority attorneys?

How does litigants' race influence verdicts in sexual harassment cases?

Do jurors like cultural explanations of conduct in sexual harassment cases?

GENDER

How do women and minority plaintiffs fare in employment cases tried to juries?

How does litigants' gender affect jury verdicts in sexual harassment cases?

Does calling an accuser a ‘complaining witness’ or ‘victim’ matter?

What certainty do jurors require to convict a defendant?

Does a juror's gender affect verdicts in gender discrimination cases?

Do women jurors lean toward the prosecution or defense in rape trials?

Do male jurors talk more than female jurors in deliberations?

Does the gender of an expert witness affect his/her credibility?

Juries         Decision-Making  ·  Judicial Instructions 

 

JURY DECISION-MAKING

How do bifurcated versus unitary trials affect jurors' verdicts?

Do jurors discuss attorneys' fees when awarding damages?

Do jurors discuss insurance in deliberations when awarding damages?

What influences jurors' initial votes in criminal trials?

Have jurors made up their mind by the end of opening statements?

When do jurors first form their verdict preferences?

Do jurors recognize that trial evidence is selective and not all of the facts?

When does "if only" thinking affect jurors' verdicts about accidents?

Are juror questions for witnesses helpful or disruptive?

What are the effects of juror note-taking during trial?

Are verdicts harsher when the most severe verdict option is decided first or last?

Do jurors award more money when given general or special verdict forms?

How do multiple charges against a defendant influence jurors' verdicts?

How does the racial diversity of juries affect verdicts?

Do male jurors talk more than female jurors in deliberations?

How does a juror's social status affect participation in deliberations?

Do larger or smaller juries perform better?

How often does a jury's minority sway the majority to its point of view?

Why do juries hang?

Which dissenting jurors hang juries versus conform to majority opinion?

In which cases is settlement most often mistakenly rejected?

Who most often mistakenly rejects settlement -- plaintiffs or defendants?

Are defendants who lose civil jury trials at a disadvantage on appeal?

JUDICIAL INSTRUCTIONS

How able are jurors to disregard stricken evidence?

Can jurors disregard hearsay evidence?

Are judges better than juries at setting inadmissible evidence aside?

How do objections influence jurors' treatment of inadmissible testimony?

How can jurors be instructed more effectively to disregard inadmissible evidence?

How well are instructions on preponderance of evidence understood by jurors?

How accurately do jurors decide liability based on preponderance of the evidence?

How well do jurors understand negligence instructions?

Do instructions about loss of enjoyment of life increase damage awards?

How does pre-instruction about damages influence damage awards?

Do instructions help jurors understand presumption of innocence & burden of proof?

How well do jurors uphold a defendant's right not to testify?

How well do jurors understand jury instructions on reasonable doubt?

Which definition of reasonable doubt reduces conviction rates?

Does voir dire or judicial instruction best educate about due process rights?

Does pre-instructing juries about due process rights influence verdicts?

To what extent do juries discuss jury instructions in deliberations?

People    Judge  ·  Attorney  ·  Witness  ·  Expert  ·  Litigant 

 

JUDGES

Are jurors more candid in attorney-conducted or judge-conducted voir dire?

Does judicial rehabilitation in voir dire debias jurors in civil cases?

Does judicial rehabilitation about the insanity defense reduce juror bias?

How often are jurors presented invalid scientific evidence?

Are judges better than juries at setting inadmissible evidence aside?

Do judges set aside a defendant's history and character when determining guilt?

When are juries more likely than judges to convict criminal defendants?

How do judges' backgrounds affect sexual harassment case outcomes?

Do jurors award the same or different damages as arbitrators and judges?

When do judges award higher punitive damages than juries?

ATTORNEYS

Does ingratiation in voir dire affect trial outcomes?

Do frequent objections by attorneys alienate jurors?

How do objections influence jurors' treatment of inadmissible testimony?

What questioning style is most effective for discrediting an expert witness?

Which influence style is persuasive for female attorneys?

Are attorneys more persuasive when expressing anger?

How do successful and unsuccessful prosecutors and defense attorneys speak?

How do private attorneys compare to court-appointed & public defenders?

Do male or female criminal defense attorneys get more acquittals?

Do male or female defense attorneys get more acquittals in rape trials?

Do male or female prosecutors get more convictions?

Are jurors fairer to Hispanic defendants with Hispanic attorneys?

Are jurors more persuaded by attorneys of their own or another race?

Are jurors biased against ethnic minority attorneys?

WITNESSES

Which witness preparation method is most effective -- simulation or training?

How does witness instruction in cross-examination techniques affect answers?

What speech style is most effective for witnesses?

How does the reading of deposition testimony at trial affect jurors?

How do jurors respond to live versus videotaped testimony?

How does the verb, adjective and article in questions affect witnesses' answers?

How does question wording affect witnesses' answers of frequency?

How does cross-examination question phrasing affect witness accuracy?

Are leading or non-leading questions better at exposing inaccurate witnesses?

Do complex questions to child witnesses help or hurt the defense?

Does testimony of trivial details hurt or help a witness' credibility?

Does refutation of peripheral details hurt an eyewitness's credibility?

When does exposing inconsistencies in witness testimony affect verdicts?

Do jurors differentiate what is stated in, from what is implied by, testimony?

Are witnesses who don't speak English less credible to jurors?

Do jurors believe non-native speakers are as truthful as native speakers?

How do interpreters affect the credibility of witnesses?

Are Spanish-speaking witnesses more credible to Spanish-speaking jurors?

EXPERTS

Are experts more persuasive using anecdotes or data?

Is one expert with multiple points more persuasive than multiple experts with distinct points?

What type of doctor is most credible to jurors as an expert witness?

Does the gender of an expert witness affect his/her credibility?

How do jurors respond to expert psychological testimony?

Are jurors most persuaded by clinical or actuarial psychological expert testimony?

How does expert testimony about eyewitness fallibility affect verdicts?

Which jurors are more favorable toward the use of expert witnesses?

How do leading questions influence jurors' perceptions of experts?

What questioning style is most effective for discrediting an expert witness?

LITIGANTS       CIVIL DEFENDANTS   ·   CIVIL PLAINTIFFS   ·   CRIMINAL DEFENDANTS

Civil Defendants

What do jurors expect of product manufacturers?

To what standard of care do jurors hold auditors?

Which jurors are more likely to find against defendants in bad faith cases?

When does "if only" thinking affect jurors' verdicts about accidents?

How does litigants' race influence verdicts in sexual harassment cases?

Civil Plaintiffs

How do apologies affect settlement demands?

Do jurors like cultural explanations of conduct in sexual harassment cases?

When does "if only" thinking affect jurors' verdicts about accidents?

Criminal Defendants

When are juries more lenient toward African-American than White defendants?

When do Black jurors judge Black defendants more harshly than White defendants?

Are jurors fairer to Hispanic defendants with non-Hispanic attorneys?

When are attractive defendants convicted more than unattractive defendants?

How does defendant ethnicity and immigrant status affect sentencing in capital cases?

Can jurors follow instructions limiting use of a defendant's prior conviction?

Can voir dire questions help jurors set aside a litigant's prior record?

Do judges set aside a defendant's history and character when determining guilt?

Do jurors believe confessions can be false?

Do jurors treat alcohol abuse and child abuse as mitigators in capital cases?

What certainty do jurors require to convict a defendant?

Cases          Case Types  ·  Civil Issues  ·  Criminal Issues 

 

TYPES      SEX  ·  MURDER  ·  DEATH  ·  CRIMINAL  <>  EMPLOY  ·   PI  ·  PRODUCT  ·  CIVIL

Sexual Assault (Civil & Criminal)

Do male or female defense attorneys get more acquittals in rape trials?

Do complex questions to child witnesses help or hurt the defense?

How does alcohol use affect jurors' judgments of sexual assault?

Are women who carry condoms less credible sexual assault victims?

What rape myths shape verdicts in rape cases?

How do jurors judge the severity of sexual harassment?

Do jurors think sexual harassment by email or in person is worse?

Do jurors like cultural explanations of conduct in sexual harassment cases?

How do judges' backgrounds affect sexual harassment case outcomes?

How does litigant attractiveness affect verdicts in sexual harassment cases?

How does litigants' gender affect jury verdicts in sexual harassment cases?

How does litigants' race influence verdicts in sexual harassment cases?

Murder

Death Penalty

Do jury consultants affect verdicts in death penalty cases?

How are jurors' religious beliefs related to death penalty verdicts?

Do religious appeals most help the prosecution or defense in capital sentencing?

Other Criminal

Employment

Personal Injury

Product Liability

Other Civil

CIVIL CASE ISSUES       SETTLEMENT   ·   LIABILITY   ·   DAMAGES

Settlement

In which cases is settlement most often mistakenly rejected?

Who most often mistakenly rejects settlement -- plaintiffs or defendants?

Do bench or jury trials yield more mistakenly rejected settlement offers?

Liability

How do bifurcated versus unitary trials affect jurors' verdicts?

How does the aggregation of plaintiffs influence liability and damage awards?

Does the severity of a plaintiff's injury affect jurors' liability decisions?

How do jurors determine what a reasonable person would do?

How well are instructions on preponderance of evidence understood by jurors?

How accurately do jurors decide liability based on preponderance of the evidence?

Do jurors protect civil rights when illegal searches find illegal items?

What do jurors think about whiplash cases?

How do warnings on products affect jurors' allocation of responsibility for injuries?

What responsibility is assigned a priori to manufacturers & users for product injuries?

How do juror characteristics affect verdicts in personal injury cases?

Which jurors are more likely to find against defendants in bad faith cases?

To what standard of care do jurors hold auditors?

When does "if only" thinking affect jurors' verdicts about accidents?

Damages

How does the aggregation of plaintiffs influence liability and damage awards?

What damages do jurors award to non-negligent vs. partially negligent plaintiffs?

Can jurors ignore a plaintiff's injury when deciding a defendant's recklessness?

How are jurors affected by dollar amounts requested by plaintiffs?

Do larger per diem requests for noneconomic damages lead to larger awards?

Does a per diem or lump sum request yield a larger pain and suffering award?

Do per diem or lump sum requests yield larger punitive damage awards?

Do requests with precise or round amounts result in larger awards and settlements?

Do jurors punish plaintiffs who request too much money?

Do plaintiffs need to be careful of how much money they request?

Do instructions about loss of enjoyment of life increase damage awards?

How does pre-instruction about damages influence damage awards?

How do jurors treat plaintiffs who don't speak English?

Why are damages higher against corporate versus individual defendants?

How do jurors react to a corporation's cost-benefit analysis?

How does a juror's occupation affect damage awards?

Do juror demographics predict punitive damages in high-stakes cases?

How do jurors' litigation crisis beliefs affect punitive damage awards?

How helpful is expanded voir dire in civil cases?

Does judicial rehabilitation in voir dire debias jurors in civil cases?

Do jurors award the same or different damages as arbitrators and judges?

When do judges award higher punitive damages than juries?

What do jurors talk about in deliberations when deciding damages?

Do jurors discuss attorneys' fees when awarding damages?

Do jurors discuss insurance in deliberations when awarding damages?

When does "if only" thinking affect jurors' verdicts about accidents?

How do deliberations affect the decision to award punitive damages?

How do deliberations affect the size of punitive damage awards?

Do jurors award more money when given general or special verdict forms?

CRIMINAL CASE ISSUES

When is playing the race card an effective strategy?

Do religious appeals most help the prosecution or defense in capital sentencing?

How does expert testimony about eyewitness fallibility affect verdicts?

Do jurors recognize that trial evidence is selective and not all of the facts?

Do jurors expect scientific evidence in criminal cases?

How does a juror's social class influence understanding of evidence?

Does character evidence help or hurt defendants in criminal trials?

When do physical and character evidence dilute information diagnostic of guilt?

Can jurors follow instructions limiting use of a defendant's prior conviction?

Do judges set aside a defendant's history and character when determining guilt?

Does gruesome evidence matter in jury-decision-making?

How does viewing a crime scene videotape affect jury verdicts?

Do jurors believe confessions can be false?

How does the camera angle of a videotaped confession influence verdicts?

What do jurors think of circumstantial evidence?

Can jurors distinguish circumstantial and direct evidence?

How well are instructions on circumstantial evidence understood by jurors?

What is the effect of a lesser-included charge?

Are verdicts harsher when the most severe verdict option is decided first or last?

How do multiple charges against a defendant influence jurors' verdicts?

How well do jurors uphold a defendant's right not to testify?

How well do jurors understand jury instructions on reasonable doubt?

Which definition of reasonable doubt reduces conviction rates?

What certainty do jurors require to convict a defendant?

Does judicial rehabilitation in voir dire about the insanity defense reduce juror bias?

How do jurors understand an entrapment defense?

Persuasion         Strategies  ·  Graphics  ·  Language 

 

STRATEGIES       FOR ATTORNEYS   ·   FOR WITNESSES   ·   FOR SPECIFIC EVIDENCE

For Attorneys

Can closing argument reduce jurors' use of "20-20 hindsight"?

Do religious appeals most help the prosecution or defense in capital sentencing?

Do jurors like cultural explanations of conduct in sexual harassment cases?

Does ingratiation in voir dire affect trial outcomes?

Which influence style is persuasive for female attorneys?

Are attorneys more persuasive when expressing anger?

Do frequent objections by attorneys alienate jurors?

How do objections influence jurors' treatment of inadmissible testimony?

How do apologies affect settlement demands?

Do requests with precise or round amounts result in larger awards and settlements?

In which cases is settlement most often mistakenly rejected?

Do bench or jury trials yield more mistakenly rejected settlement offers?

Are defendants who lose civil jury trials at a disadvantage on appeal?

For Witnesses

Do jurors differentiate what is stated in, from what is implied by, testimony?

Does testimony of trivial details hurt or help a witness' credibility?

When does exposing inconsistencies in witness testimony affect verdicts?

Does refutation of peripheral details hurt an eyewitness's credibility?

Are leading or non-leading questions better at exposing inaccurate witnesses?

Do complex questions to child witnesses help or hurt the defense?

How does cross-examination question phrasing affect witness accuracy?

What makes an expert witness persuasive to jurors?

What criteria do jurors use to judge the credibility of expert testimony?

How do jurors handle conflicting expert testimony?

Is one expert with multiple points more persuasive than multiple experts with distinct points?

Are experts more persuasive using anecdotes or data?

How do leading questions influence jurors' perceptions of experts?

What questioning style is most effective for discrediting an expert witness?

For Specific Evidence

Is comparing death risks from asbestos exposure to other substances persuasive?

How do jurors react to a corporation's cost-benefit analysis?

When does "if only" thinking affect jurors' verdicts about accidents?

Do jurors like cultural explanations of conduct in sexual harassment cases?

What conclusions do jurors draw from truncated bar charts?

When do physical and character evidence dilute information diagnostic of guilt?

Does it help or hurt when racial differences are a salient issue at trial?

When is playing the race card an effective strategy?

Do jurors treat alcohol abuse and child abuse as mitigators in capital cases?

Do jurors expect scientific evidence in criminal cases?

How often are jurors presented invalid scientific evidence?

What do jurors think of circumstantial evidence?

Can jurors distinguish circumstantial and direct evidence?

How well are instructions on circumstantial evidence understood by jurors?

Do jurors differentiate what is stated in, from what is implied by, testimony?

Do jurors recognize that trial evidence is selective and not all of the facts?

GRAPHICS

Does gruesome evidence matter in jury decision-making?

How does viewing a crime scene videotape affect jury verdicts?

How does the camera angle of a videotaped confession influence verdicts?

LANGUAGE

How do jurors treat plaintiffs who don't speak English?

Are witnesses who don't speak English less credible to jurors?

Do jurors believe non-native speakers are as truthful as native speakers?

How do interpreters affect the credibility of witnesses?

Are Spanish-speaking witnesses more credible to Spanish-speaking jurors?

How does cross-examination question phrasing affect witness accuracy?

How does question wording affect witnesses' answers of frequency?

How does the verb, adjective and article in questions affect witnesses' answers?

What speech style is most effective for witnesses?

Do complex questions to child witnesses help or hurt the defense?

How do leading questions influence jurors' perceptions of experts?

How do apologies affect settlement demands?

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