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Juror comprehension and the hard case - Making forensic evidence simpler

Findlay, M. (2008) Juror comprehension and the hard case - Making forensic evidence simpler. International Journal of Law Crime and Justice, 36 (1). pp. 15-53. ISSN 1756-0616

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The complexity/comprehension nexus as it impacts on juror decision-making is addressed in the particular context of prosecution-led DNA evidence. Such evidence is for jurors the subject of pre-trial preconceptions, and is notoriously difficult to present and argue before a jury. The article looks at the comprehension of forensic evidence by jurors, a task qualified by the opinion of legal professionals whose responsibility it is to present and interpret such evidence in adversarial contexts. Jurors were surveyed post-verdict in trials where forensic evidence featured in circumstantial cases. These insights into comprehension were qualified by contesting views of legal professionals, and critical reflections from independent observation teams regarding the manner in which this evidence was used and its intended impact on the jury. What results is both declared and implicit indicators of comprehension, not so much against broad measures of complexity [Findlay, 2001. Juror comprehension and complexity: strategies to enhance understanding. British Journal of Criminology 41/1, 56.], but rather the particular place of popularly endowed forensic evidence within the circumstantial case.

The article explores the utility of a multi-methodological study of comprehension from the perspectives of the proponents, commentators, recipients and observers of the adversarial contest. To this is employed a interactive analysis of important decision-sites and relationships of influence in the trial as they may impact on comprehension and be measured as ‘complex’.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2008 Elsevier B.V. This is an author produced version of a paper published in International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self archiving policy.
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Law (Leeds)
Depositing User: Sherpa Assistant
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2009 11:35
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2013 17:05
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijsl.2007.07.001
Status: Published
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.ijsl.2007.07.001
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/5381

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