Date of Submission
Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
A fair, unbiased jury that follows the courts instructions is a crucial aspect of the American criminal justice system, mandated by both the California and United States Constitution. When jurors violate judicial instructions, it can jeopardize the impartiality of a case. Despite this, little research has been completed on what individual differences are indicative of greater willingness to commit jury misconduct. Misconduct can occur when jurors fail to follow judicial instructions in circumstances that a reasonable person may be tempted to disobey. This study explores potential individual differences that correlate with a greater likelihood of excusing and even committing juror misconduct under specific circumstances. Participants (N = 148) in an online survey read one of six vignettes relating to a mock court case. These vignettes either presented clear or confusing information, and included one of three types of juror misconduct witness [googled a term, talked to their spouse about the case, or went to the crime scene]. Neither the severity of the juror misconduct nor the clarity of expert testimony significantly affected participant’s perceptions of the behavior. However, participants Right Wing Authoritarianism and Belief in a Just World scores did affect their likelihood of reporting the juror misconduct as well as influenced their report of whether they would engage in these behaviors.
Wilson, Grace K., "Civilly Disobedient: Justifying Juror Misconduct" (2019). CMC Senior Theses. 2266.