Juror motivations: applying procedural justice theory to juror decision making

Stacey Politis, Diane Sivasubramaniam, Bianca Klettke, Mark Nolan, Jacqueline Horan, Regina Schuller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Jurors sometimes consider inadmissible evidence in their verdicts, despite judicial instructions to disregard that evidence. Procedural justice research suggests this is because jurors are motivated to prioritise just outcomes over due process; thus, jurors’ non-compliance towards judicial instructions to disregard inadmissible evidence may be the product of a discrepancy between legal and lay peoples’ understanding of the juror’s role. In this mixed-method design, we examined 294 university students’ a priori perceptions about the role and responsibility of jurors, and empirically tested how randomly assigning participants to the role of a juror (versus a judge’s associate/assistant, who helps the judge to ensure a trial is conducted according to proper procedure) influenced their verdict decisions, prioritisation of outcome versus procedural considerations, motivation to protect the community, and perceived obligation to ensure correct procedures. Overall, the results demonstrated ambivalence in lay people’s perceptions of the juror role, with many participants perceiving jurors to be responsible for protecting society; however, we did not find support for our predictions that participants assigned the role of a juror (versus judge’s associate) would more strongly prioritise outcomes over procedures. Methodological issues, recommendations for future research, and implications are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalPsychology, Crime and Law
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 01 Dec 2020

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