Justice needs a new blindfold: A review of mock jury research.

By Gerbasi, Kathleen C.; Zuckerman, Miron; Reis, Harry T.


Reviews studies on factors that may influence jurors' verdicts. These factors include characteristics of the victim and defendant, judges' instructions regarding pretrial publicity and inadmissible evidence, number and severity of decision alternatives, jurors' conception of guilt, and size of the jury and its decision rule. Data have indicated that many extra-evidential factors contribute to mock jurors' verdicts. The applicability of these results is limited, however, by the many methodological and sampling problems inherent in the studies. It is suggested that efforts to develop methods of minimizing biases would be most successful if undertaken conjointly by legal experts and social scientists.