Social Psychology in Court the Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Social psychologists have shown that a group can be heavily influenced by the dominating, authoritarian decision making of one or more strong supporters of the death penalty.

Despite the democratic process of picking jury members, many typical jury selection practices later lead the group of twelve picked to be of a certain caliber, based on the characteristics of those chosen and how those characteristics relate within a group setting. Since the 1970's, social psychologists have been used by counsel to help ensure victory in the outcome of certain cases. Due to the influential potential of a jury's opinion, venue becomes essential in the outcome of the case. The trial of the police officers in the Rodney King beating was set in Simi Valley; the general population being extremely conservative and too many, racist. Modern professionals trained in jury selection based on social psychology findings are known in today's industry as trail consultants. This has inspired much academic research into group psychology of juries and jury selection. The removal of oppositional jurors does also remove the other side of opinion, therefore removing strong oppositional influences and opening up the possibility of a single opinion dominating the group's decision. The O.J. Simpson murder case highlighted the new theories of social psychology of jury selections. Jo-Ellan Dimitrius is a prime example of a trial consultant. She is responsible for helping select the jury that acquitted O.J. Simpson. The jury choice is thought by many to be one of the major reasons he was acquitted for the murder of his ex-wife. However, many researchers believe that attitudes and general opinions on certain subjects can lead to predicted jury decisions better than juror personality traits, "For example, the presence of an authoritarian personality defined as a strong preference for order, for clearly articulated rules, and for powerful leadership, s modestly related to individuals' likelihood to vote for conviction in criminal cases," (Cleary 11).

The decision of the case is not entirely based on the jury selection. Many believe that using social psychology in the act of jury selection is in many ways unfair. Some believe that it ignores the concept that we are able to be judged by a jury of our peers. By using scientific psychoanalysis many believe that an unfair bias is a very real possibility. However, the field of mastering jury selection is still young and its importance continues to be hotly debated.

Works Cited

Cleary, Audrey. "Scientific Jury Selection: History, Practice, and Controversy."

Villanova University. 2005. Retrieved on November 27, 2007 at http://www.publications.villanova.edu/concept/2005/jury_selection.pdf

Hughes, Brian. "Psychology in Court: An Overview." Retrieved on November 27, 2007 at: http://nuigalway.ie/law/GSLR/1998/art2.html

Liner, Douglass. "O. J. Simpson Trial." Pittsburgh University. Retrieved on November 27, 2007 at http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/trials10.htm

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Cleary, Audrey. "Scientific Jury Selection: History, Practice, and Controversy."

Villanova University. 2005. Retrieved on November 27, 2007 at http://www.publications.villanova.edu/concept/2005/jury_selection.pdf

Hughes, Brian. "Psychology in Court: An Overview." Retrieved on November 27, 2007 at: http://nuigalway.ie/law/GSLR/1998/art2.html

Liner, Douglass. "O. J. Simpson Trial." Pittsburgh University. Retrieved on November 27, 2007 at http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/trials10.htm

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