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The New Face Of [Jury Selection]

AngelHedgieAngelHedgie regularRegistered User regular
So, the New York Times had an interesting article on the evolution of voir dire in modern trials, accompanied by an interactive simulator developed with the help of a jury consultant.

(The quiz is worth running through now - it won't take long, and the results you get will be worth considering.)

The things that stood out for me:

One, the focus on a questionnaire over in person analysis. I think that this is because a prospective juror might feel they have to answer as they think the court wants in person, as opposed to answering how they actually feel. There's also the aspect of catching a prospective juror in a discrepancy between the questionnaire and in person statements.

Two, the focus not just on how a prospective juror leans, but also on how influential they would be in the jury. Several of the questions in the quiz served to "intensify" bias, shifting the "weight" of my assumed leaning based on how influential they thought I would be.

Third, and probably most interesting, is how imprecise the process is. According to the quiz, I would be struck by the plaintiff, for being overly biased towards the defense. Yet considering the scenario presented (a trial over fiduciary misconduct by an investment bank), I would more naturally lean towards the plaintiff. The assumptions that drive these questions might work in broad strokes, but they really don't feel granular enough.

XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum / Steam: noxaeternum

Posts

  • knitdanknitdan Oh no Too much hunnyRegistered User regular
    The only time I was ever considered for jury duty, I didn't make it past the questionnaire. The problem I had with it was there was no room for the kind of context that one would have if being questioned in person. It was all yes/no answers.

    For example, I'm pretty sure I was excluded because I answered "yes" to the question, "have you ever been the victim of a crime?"

    Now, I'd be willing to bet that everyone has at one point or another in their lives been a victim of a crime. Theft, assault, fraud, whatever. In my case, my car was broken into. But there was no room for context, so whoever was reading the questionnaire had no way of knowing if I was a victim of some horrific violent felony, or a simple misdemeanor.

    “I was quick when I came in here, I’m twice as quick now”
    -Indiana Solo, runner of blades
  • knitdanknitdan Oh no Too much hunnyRegistered User regular
    That test is heavily weighted toward socioeconomic factors from what I can tell. It's the only way I can figure that it put me heavily on the plaintiff side.

    “I was quick when I came in here, I’m twice as quick now”
    -Indiana Solo, runner of blades
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie regular Registered User regular
    knitdan wrote: »
    That test is heavily weighted toward socioeconomic factors from what I can tell. It's the only way I can figure that it put me heavily on the plaintiff side.

    If you watch the slider, it will show how much each question moves the assessment of you. The biggest leaps are not from the ideological assessment, but from the ability to influence the jury.

    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum / Steam: noxaeternum
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic regular Registered User regular
    knitdan wrote: »
    That test is heavily weighted toward socioeconomic factors from what I can tell. It's the only way I can figure that it put me heavily on the plaintiff side.

    If you watch the slider, it will show how much each question moves the assessment of you. The biggest leaps are not from the ideological assessment, but from the ability to influence the jury.

    Yea, and there are two components. The first couple questions move you towards one side or the other but the influence questions just act as a multiplier to your score mostly.

    The questions that swing me one way or the other are both ones that can't really be truthfully answered in that binary form. Depending on how I decide to interpret them I'm either somebody the prosecution grudgingly accepts or the defendant rejects outright.

  • silence1186silence1186 Character shields down! As a wingmanRegistered User regular
    When I went to jury duty, they asked each potential juror the same set of questions, in earshot of all the other potential jurors. After a dozen or so, anyone should have been able to figure out what answers would get you dismissed or placed on the jury.

    I didn't mind jury duty, so I just answered honestly and got picked, but it seemed like there was quite a lot of wiggle room in getting out of service.

    V wrote:
    Words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.

  • ElJeffeElJeffe mod Moderator, ClubPA mod
    I also found the results of that quiz counterintuitive - I suspect I would favor the plaintiff, but the quiz drove me hard towards the defendant and I was punted.

    I was surprised that they didn't ask more questions directly related to finance. Like, "do you make more than $50k per year?" seems kinda-sorta useful, but why not, "So hey, how about that Occupy Wall Street thing, eh?"

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
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