Jury Decision Making Essay

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Criminal justice researchers use several methods to evaluate the jury decision-making process. The processes each have subtle differences. In some instances, they use the various methods to understand juror verdicts and in others to evaluate their competency. Criminal justice researchers have used these methods to evaluate such controversial cases as the Trayvon Martin case and the McDonald’s coffee case.

Juror Decision-making Processes

When the justice system brings a criminal case to trial, a defendant has a right to judgement by their peers, called jurors in the court system. Anyone accused of committing a crime is extended this right. The jurors cast a judgement called a verdict. Studying verdict outcomes is a prominent subject for
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Typically jurors enter a trial setting believing that the defendant is guilty. It is the opposing legal counsel’s argument that sways their opinions. Overall, the prosecutor’s opening arguments; the jurors’ initial impression of the defendant(s) and the jurors’ personal values from an initial influence. The jurors use these stimuli to evaluate the case as the counselors present new statement and evidence, continually renewing this process through the trial. Once the juror had formed an opinion it is unlikely that they will change the verdict they …show more content…
The defendant obviously shot and killed the youth. However, the jury acquitted the assailant, which resulted in public unrest. This incident brought to light the subject of jury competency. It is impossible to know the jury members’ motives. However, decision-making research can help criminal justice researchers ascertain what jury bias levels existed in the case, if any, and whether the jurors knew and applied Florida laws properly.

The McDonald’s Coffee Case

The McDonald’s coffee case is another recent, publicly rousing verdict. Although the case was not as serious as the Trayvon Martin case, it did raise public astonishment that a jury could find a major corporation culpable for one of its customers burning themselves. Despite the that the media downplayed the plaintiff’s injuries, the case led the public to question whether the verdict was fair. Criminal justice researchers have used jury decision-making models to determine that, in fact, the jury did not compensate the plaintiff

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