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ERIC Number: EJ798084
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0011-1287
Improving Comprehension of Capital Sentencing Instructions: Debunking Juror Misconceptions
Otto, Charles W.; Applegate, Brandon K.; Davis, Robin King
Crime & Delinquency, v53 n3 p502-517 2007
Previous research has demonstrated that judicial instructions on the law are not well understood by jurors tasked with applying the law to the facts of a case. The past research has also shown that jurors are often confused by the instructions used in the sentencing phase of a capital trial. The current research tested the effectiveness of a "debunking" approach to improving juror misunderstanding associated with capital sentencing instructions. Participants were randomly assigned to hear either Florida's pattern instructions used in the penalty phase of a capital trial or the same instructions with additional statements that mentioned and refuted misconceptions thought to be associated with established areas of miscomprehension. After participants heard the judicial instructions, their understanding of the law on capital punishment decision making was assessed. The results revealed that comprehension was higher for participants exposed to the bias-refutation statements than for participants who were exposed to only the pattern instructions. (Contains 2 tables and 1 note.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida