In England and Wales, trial by jury is typically reserved for more serious offences and is by no means the norm of criminal prosecution. Despite this, the jury continues to hold enormous symbolic and practical significance. In a context in which research with ‘real’ juries is prohibited, this paper outlines the findings of a mock study in which members of the public deliberated towards a unanimous verdict, having observed an abbreviated rape trial reconstruction. It reflects on the structural processes (including the use of narrative, the presence of a foreperson and group/inter-personal dynamics) that framed the tone and direction of discussions. In so doing, it generates insight into what may go on behind the closed doors of the jury room in rape cases and – more broadly – highlights the ways in which differently composed juries, when faced with the same scenario, may reach divergent verdicts or embark on radically different routes to reach the same destination. In addition, it explores the extent to which participants, having been directed on appropriate legal tests and burdens of proof, were able to understand and apply these standards; and it reflects on the implications of this in terms of future improvement of the jury trial process, both in rape cases and beyond.
1. Zander, M and Henderson, P The Royal Commission on Criminal Justice, Research Study No 19: Crown Court Study (London: HMSO, 1993); Young, W, Cameron, N and Tinsley, Y Juries in Criminal Trials Part Two Preliminary Paper No 37 Vol 2 (Wellington: New Zealand Law Commission, 1999); Chesterman, M, Chan, J and Hampton, S Managing Prejudicial Publicity: An Empirical Study of Criminal Jury Trials in New South Wales (NSW: Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, 2001); Hannaford-Agor, P et al Are Hung Juries a Problem? Final Report National Center for State Courts (Washington: National Institute of Justice, 2002); Devine, D et al Explaining jury verdicts: is leniency bias for real’ (2004) 34 Journal of Applied Social Psychology 2069 ; Gastil, J, Burkhalter, S and Black, L Do juries deliberate? a study of deliberation, individual difference, and group member satisfaction at a municipal courthouse’ (2007) 38 Small Group Research 337 .
2. Ellison, L and Munro, V Reacting to rape: exploring mock jurors’ assessments of complainant credibility' (2009) 49(2) British Journal of Criminology 202 ; see also Finch, E and Munro, V Lifting the veil: the use of focus groups and trial simulations in legal research’ (2008) 35 Journal of Law & Society 30 .
3. Ellison and Munro, ibid.
4. Ellison, L and Munro, V Turning mirrors into windows? Assessing the impact of (mock) juror education in rape trials’ (2009) 49(3) British Journal of Criminology 363 .
5. ‘L Ellison and V Munro (2009) Of “normal sex” and “real rape”: exploring the use of socio-sexual scripts in (mock) jury deliberation’ (2009) 18(3) Social and Legal Studies 1.
6. A Sealy and W Cornish (1973)‘Juries and their verdicts’ (1973) 36 Modern Law Review 496; Visher, C ‘Juror decision making: the importance of evidence’ (1987) 11 Law and Human Behavior 1 ; Ellsworth, P ‘Some steps between attitudes and verdicts’ in Hastie, R (ed) Inside the Juror: The Psychology of Juror Decision-Making (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993) pp 42–64 .
7. Shaver, K Defensive attribution: effects of severity and relevance on the responsibility assigned for an accident’ (1970) 14 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 101 ; Kleinke, C and Meyer, C Evaluation of rape victim by men and women with high and low belief in a just world’ (1990) 14 Psychology of Women Quarterly 343 ; G Fischer (1997)‘Gender effects on individual verdicts and on mock jury verdicts in a simulated acquaintance rape trial’ (1997) 36 Sex Roles 491.
8. Kerr, N and MacCoun, R The effects of jury size and polling method on the process and product of jury deliberation’ (1985) 48 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 349 at 359.
9. Kalven, H and Zeisel, H The American Jury (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966), Zander and Henderson, above n 1, Devine et al, above n 1.
10. Kerr and MacCoun, above n 8.
11. Saks, M and Marti, M A meta-analysis of the effects of jury size’ (1997) 21 Law and Human Behavior 451 .
12. Valentini, A and Downing, L Differential effects of jury size on verdicts following deliberations as a function of the apparent guilt of a defendant’ (1975) 32 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 655 .
13. Kerr, N, Nerenz, D and Herrick, D Role playing and study of jury behaviour’ (1979) 7 Sociological Methods and Research 337 .
14. Smith, V Prototypes in the courtroom: law representation of legal concepts’ (1991) 61 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 857 .
15. Kaplan, M and Kemmerick, G Juror judgment as information integration: combining evidential and nonevidential information’ (1974) 30 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 493 ; Ostrom, T, Werner, C and Saks, M An integration theory analysis of jurors' presumptions of guilt or innocence’ (1978) 36 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 436 ; for an alternative account see also Schum, D and Martin, A Formal and empirical research on cascaded inference in jurisprudence’ (1982) 17 Law and Society Review 105 .
16. Kerr, N Severity of prescribed penalty and mock jurors' verdicts’ (1978) 36 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1431 ; Thomas, E and Hogue, A Apparent weight of evidence, decision criteria, and confidence ratings in juror decision making’ (1976) 83 Psychological Review 442 .
17. Einhorn, H and Hogarth, R Ambiguity and uncertainty in probabilistic inference’ (1985) 92 Psychological Review 433 ; L Lopes Towards a Procedural Theory of Judgment, Technical Report No 17Wisconsin Human Information Processing Program (Madison: University of Wisconsin 1982).
18. Devine, D et al (2001) ‘Jury decision making: 45 years of empirical research on deliberating groups 7 Psychology Public Policy and Law 622 at 624 ; see also Vidmar, N and Diamond, S Jury room ruminations on forbidden topics’ (2001) 87 Virginia Law Review 1857 ; see also Smith, V and Studebaker, C What do you expect? the influence of people's prior knowledge of crime categories on fact-finding’ (1996) 20 Law and Human Behavior 517 .
19. Pennington, N and Hastie, R Explanation-based decision making: the effects of memory structure on judgment’ (1988) 14 Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition 521 .
20. Pennington, N and Hastie, R Evidence evaluation in complex decision making’ (1986) 51 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 242 at 254.
21. Ibid, at 255.
22. Hastie, above n 6, at 194.
23. Hastie, R, Penrod, S and Pennington, N Inside the Jury (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983); Ellsworth, P Are twelve heads better than one?’ (1989) 52 Law and Contemporary Problems 207 .
24. Sandys, M and Dillehay, R First ballot votes, predeliberation dispositions and final verdicts in jury trials’ (1995) 19 Law and Human Behavior 175 .
25. Young et al, above n 1, at 42.
28. Hastie et al, above n 23, Hannaford-Agor et al, above n 1.
29. Kalven and Zeisel, above n 9; Tanford, S and Penrod, S Jury deliberations: discussion content and influence processes in jury decision making’ (1986) 16 Journal of Applied Social Psychology 322 ; Tindale, R et al Asymmetrical social influences in freely interacting groups: a test of three models’ (1990) 58 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 438 .
30. MacCoun, R and Kerr, N Asymmetric influence in mock jury deliberation: jurors' bias for leniency’ (1988) 54 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 21 .
31. Kalven and Zeisel, above n 9.
32. Ibid; MacCoun and Kerr, above n 30; Sandys and Dillehay, above n 24.
33. Devine et al, above n 18; see also Moran, G and Comfort, J Neither “tentative” not “fragmentary”: verdict preference of impaneled felony jurors as a function of attitude towards capital punishment’ (1986) 71 Journal of Applied Psychology 146 .
34. R Nemeth (1977)‘Interactions between jurors as a function of majority vs. unanimity decision rules’ (1977) 7 Journal of Applied Social Psychology 38.
35. Chesterman et al, above n 1.
36. Devine et al, above n 1.
37. Hans, V Deliberation and dissent: 12 angry men versus the empirical reality of juries’ (2007) 82 Chicago Kent Law Review 579 .
38. Myers, D and Kaplan, M Group-induced polarization in simulated juries’ (1976) 2 Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 63 .
39. Matthews, R, Hancock, L and Briggs, D Jurors' Perceptions, Understanding, Confidence and Satisfaction in the Jury System: A Study in Six Courts (London: Home Office, 2004).
40. Bridgeman, D and Marlowe, D Jury decision making: an empirical study based on adult felony trials’ (1979) 64 Journal of Applied Psychology 91 at 95.
41. Tetlock, P Accountability and complexity of thought’ (1983) 45 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 74 .
42. Kalven and Zeisel, above n 9.
43. Ellsworth, above n 23; Kuhn, D, Weinstock, M and Flaton, R How well do jurors reason? Competence dimensions of individual variation in a jury reasoning task’ (1994) 5 Psychological Science 289 ; McCoy, M, Nunez, N and Dammeyer, M The effect of jury deliberations on jurors' reasoning skills’ (1991) 23 Law and Human Behavior 557 .
44. Young et al, above n 1.
45. Holstein, J Jurors' interpretations and jury decision making’ (1985) 9 Law and Human Behavior 83 .
46. Strasser, G and Davis, J Group decision making and social influence: a social interaction sequence model’ (1981) 88 Psychological Review 523 .
47. Ibid, at 524.
48. Davis, J et al Changes in group members’ decision preferences during discussion: an illustration with mock juries' (1976) 34 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1177 ; Kerr and MacCoun, above n 8; Davis, J et al Effects of straw polls on group decision making: sequential voting patterns, timing and local majorities’ (1988) 55 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 918 , Davis, J et al Some social mechanics of group decision making: the distribution of opinion, polling sequence and implications for consensus’ (1989) 57 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1000 .
49. Boster, F, Hunter, J and Hale, J An information-processing model of jury decision-making’ (1991) 18 Small Group Research 524 ; cf Bridgeman and Marlowe, above n 40.
50. Strodtbeck, F, James, R and Hawkins, C Social status in jury deliberations’ (1957) 22 American Sociological Review 713 .
51. James, R Status and competence of jurors’ (1959) 64 The American Journal of Sociology 563 .
52. Velasco, P The influence of size and decision rule in jury decision making’ in Davies, G et al (eds) Psychology, Law and Criminal Justice: International Developments in Research and Practice (Berlin: Walter De Gruyter, 1995); Ellsworth, above n 23.
53. Bridgeman and Marlowe, above n 40; but see Devine, D et al Deliberation quality: a preliminary examination in criminal juries’ (2007) 4 Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 273 .
54. Rotenberg, K, Hewlett, M and Siegward, C Principled moral reasoning and self-monitoring as predictors of jury functioning’ (1998) 20 Basic and Applied Social Psychology 167 .
55. Young et al, above n 1.
56. Ibid, at 46.
58. Ellsworth, above n 23; Bridgeman and Marlowe, above n 40.
59. Boster et al, above n 49; Strodbeck, F and Lipinski, R Becoming first among equals: moral considerations in jury foreman selection’ (1985) 49 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 927 .
60. Diamond, S and Casper, J Blinding the jury to verdict consequences’ (1992) 26 Law and Society Review 513 .
61. Beckham, B and Aronson, H Selection of jury foremen as a measure of the social status of women’ (1978) 43 Psychological Reports 475 ; Zander and Henderson, above n 1.
62. Young et al, above n 1, at 47.
63. Matthews et al, above n 39.
64. Snortum, J, Klein, J and Sherman, W The impact of an aggressive juror in six and twelve member juries’ (1976) 3 Criminal Justice and Behavior 255 .
65. Goldman, J, Freundlich, K and Casey, V Jury emotional response and deliberation style’ (1983) 11 Journal of Psychiatry and Law 319 : Mills, C and Bohannon, W Juror characteristics: to what extent are they related to jury verdicts?’ (1980) 64 Judicature 23 .
66. Strodbeck and Lipinski, above n 59; Marder, N Gender dynamics and jury deliberations’ (1987) 96 Yale Law Journal 593 .
67. James, above n 51.
68. Strodbeck, F and Mann, R Sex role differentiation in jury deliberations’ (1956) 19 Sociometry 3 ; Marder, above n 66; Fowler, L Gender and jury deliberations: the contributions of social science’ (2005) 12 William and Mary Journal of Women and the Law 1 .
69. Nemeth, C, Endicott, J and Wachtler, J From the 50s to the 70s: women in jury deliberations’ (1976) 39 Sociometry 293 .
70. Mills and Bohannon, above n 65; Marcus, D, Lyons, P and Guyton, M Studying perceptions of juror influence in vivo: a social relations analysis’ (2000) 24 Law and Human Behavior 173 .
71. York, E and Cornwell, B Status on trial: social characteristics and influence in the jury room’ (2006) 85 Social Forces 455 ; Hickerson, A and Gastil, J Assessing the difference critique of deliberation: gender, emotion, and the jury experience’ (2008) 18(2) Communication Theory 281 .
72. Temkin, J and Krahe, B Sexual Assault and the Justice Gap: A Question of Attitude (Oxford: Hart, 2008). For further discussion, see L Ellison and V Munro ‘A stranger in the bushes, or an elephant in the room? Critical reflections upon received rape myth wisdom in the context of a mock jury study’, manuscript in progress.
73. McCabe, S and Purves, R The Shadow Jury at Work (Oxford: Blackwell, 1974).
74. Smith, above n 14; Stalans, L Citizen's crime stereotypes, biased recall and punishment preferences in abstract cases: the educative role of interpersonal sources’ (1993) 17 Law and Human Behavior 451 ; Finkel, N and Groscup, J Crime prototypes, objective versus subjective culpability, and a commonsense balance’ (1997) 21 Law and Human Behavior 209 ; in relation to rape, see Krahe, B, Temkin, J and Bieneck, S Schema-driven information processing in judgements about rape’ (2007) 21 Applied Cognitive Psychology 601 .
75. Ellison and Munro, above nn 4 and 5.
76. James, above n 51; Ellsworth, above n 23; Saxton, B How well do jurors understand jury instructions? a field test using real juries and real trials in Wyoming’ (1988) 33 Land and Water Law Review 59 .
77. Horowitz, I and Kirkpatrick, L A concept in search of a definition: the effects of reasonable doubt instructions on certainty of guilt standards and jury verdicts’ (1996) 20 Law and Human Behavior 655 ; Kagehiro, D and Stanton, W Legal vs. quantified standards of proof’ (1985) 9 Law and Human Behavior 159 ; Young et al, above n 1; Chesterman et al, above n 1.
78. Montgomery, J The criminal standard of proof’ (1988) 148 New Law Journal 582 ; Zander, M The criminal standard of proof: how sure is sure?’ (2000) 150 New Law Journal 1517 ; Darbyshire, P, Maughan, A and Stewart, A What Can the English Legal System Learn from Jury Research Published up to 2001? (Kingston upon Thames: Kingston Law School, 2002), available at http://www.kingston.ac.uk/~ku00596/elsres01.pdf; but see Heffer, C The language of conviction and the convictions of certainty: is “sure” an impossible standard of proof?’ (2007) 5 International Commentary on Evidence , available at http://www.bepress.com/ice/vol5/iss1/art5/.
79. Zander and Henderson, above n 1; Matthews et al, above n 39; L Trimboli Juror Understanding of Judicial Instructions in Criminal Trials Crime and Justice Bulletin No 119 (NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, 2008).
80. Elwork, A, Sales, B and Alfini, J Juridic decisions: in ignorance of the law or in light of it? (1977) 1 Law and Human Behavior 163 ; Ellsworth, above n 23; Kramer, G and Koenig, D Do jurors understand criminal jury instructions? Analyzing the results of the Michigan Juror Comprehension Project’ (1990) 23 University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform 401 ; Saxton, above n 76.
81. See also Finch, E and Munro, V Breaking boundaries? Sexual consent in the jury room’ (2006) 26 Legal Studies 303 .
82. Matthews et al, above n 39; Young et al, above n 1.
83. N Madge Summing up – a judge's perspective’ (2006) Criminal Law Review 817.
84. NSW Law Reform Commission Jury Directions: Consultation Paper 4 (NSW Law Reform Commission, 2008) at 235; see also Young et al, above n 1; Semmler, C and Brewer, N Using a flow-chart to improve comprehension of jury instructions’ (2002) 9 Psychiatry, Psychology and Law 262 .
85. Reifman, A, Gusick, S and Ellsworth, E Real jurors' understanding of the law in real cases’ (1989) 16 Law and Human Behavior 539 ; Heuer, L and Penrod, S A field experiment with written and preliminary instructions’ (1989) 13 Law and Human Behavior 409 .
86. Smith, V Impact of pretrial instruction on jurors' information processing and decision making’ (1991) 76 Journal of Applied Psychology 220 .
87. Young et al, above n 1.
* The authors would like to acknowledge their gratitude to the ESRC for funding this research (RES-000-22-2374). They would also like to thank the actors and barristers who undertook roles in the trial reconstructions, as well as Kathryn Cruz for her assistance. They are indebted to Richard Hyde who provided excellent research assistance for this article.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.
* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.
Usage data cannot currently be displayed