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Monday, 21 January 2008


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Being lawyers, the researchers themselves are very unlikely have sat as jurors. Will they have a panel of ex-jurors to assess the plausibility of the mock jury discussions? P.S. why 8 jurors; surely 12 for England, 15 for Scotland?

I gather they chose juries of 8 because time was limited for their deliberations and they wanted to make sure everyone got a chance to speak their mind. Also, it made transcribing the recordings that much easier. However, there were 3 juries of 8 for *each* of the 9 scenarios. That's a total of 216 people - men, women, old, young, black, brown and white, middle and lower class. There were usually differences between the jruy outcomes.

Also, and rather to my surprise, the jurors took it very seriously and virtually *all* of them seemed to pay close attention to the proceedings some of them taking down copious notes. I think it was very well done, and given the inherent practical difficulties, as near to a genuine replication as you could get.

Exactly what the research will show, I'm not sure - and what use it is put to is also doubtful. The feminist movement is all too keen to bend the law for politico-social purposes.

"as near to a genuine replication as you could get": do you speak as an ex-juror, David?

Ah, you have me on the hip, 'DM'. No, I have never been chosen, thank God, although my son has been hit twice, poor sod. Certainly from the appearance of the 'jurors' they appeared to my inexpert eyes to be a very average cross section, certainly neither of the young barristers raised any objections. As to how and what they discussed, of course, I do not know; nor do I know how that would have compared to a real jury, although it's worth bearing in mind that the 3 different juries usually reached different conclusions. Remember, the object of the exercise was to see what effect, if any, the differences between scenarios had on different juries.


Ssounds interesting, do tell us the results.

Here the Death penalty is on moratorium.. Something between 10 and 20 death sentences were overturned on DNA evidence. They were all multiple Rape or murder rape cases from before DNA was allowed as evidence.

Ofcourse no really says they were Rape case, you have to read the summaries of the cases then the light comes on. The local feminists had been waging a loud and likely to be successful campaign to restrict the available defenses in a rape cases. Well that campaign ended real quick once DNA testing started.

Rapes are never committed on Main Street at noon wutg thirty witnesses, you have no witnesses a dead or highly traumatized victim, police under pressure to make an arrest. If you have a death penalty, in my book rapists are certainly candidates, the evidence needs to be 100% solid.. Your idea of a screen to hide body language is a good one, but you really need mandatory physical evidence such as DNA for a conviction in these cases.


What will probably happen with the results of your study is that in similar cases the lawyers will have a profile of jurors who are inclined to vote guilty or not guilty given certain scenarios and facts. The lawyers try to exclude jurors or pick strategies on how to present evidence on the profiles. And not do things that would annoy the jurors. Which is one thing if both sides have access to the results the net being that the evidence presented is understandable to the given jury. If only one it can swing a case in a way it shouldn’t go. Assuming your lawyers know their business you helped do some good.

But didn’t Shakespeare say something Lawyers?

Hank, I don't agree that rape deserves the death penalty, indeed, the more I think about it the more I realise there are, so to speak, degrees of rape, ranging from rape in marriage to stranger-rape with extreme violence. Sentences need to reflect that variety, I think. The difficulties, in many cases, arising from the absence of any witnesses or substantive forensic evidence makes conviction extremely difficult and I am not *unsympathetic* to feminists - and others, they don't have a monopoly of feeling! - who desire to change the rules in order to gain a greater number of convictions, but even so I am utterly opposed to such efforts.

Rape is often associated with drink and here we have another difficulty with English law. According to what I learned in recent weeks, a woman can only be deemed to have consented to sex (the usual defence) is if she has the freedom and capacity to make that choice. Obviously, if she has been drinking a prosecutor will claim that she did not have the freedom and the capacity to make any choice. That's fair enough, but exactly how much drink incapacitates her is, I suppose, another question for the lawyers to argue over.

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