CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, October 23, 2006

CrimProf David H. Kaye Speaks About the Science of the Jury Box

Kaye Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law CrimProf David H. Kaye, will speak on "Science in the Jury Box" at a Mathematics and Cognition Seminar on Tuesday, Oct. 24.

Complex scientific evidence has become ubiquitous in both civil and criminal trials, leading lawyers, litigants and policy makers to express concerns about whether juries can comprehend and properly apply such evidence.

Psychological studies have reported various types of error on the part of mock jurors confronted with explicitly probabilistic evidence - ranging from transposing conditional probabilities to disregarding the relevant statistics.

Kaye will briefly review part of the literature and describe some findings from a new study of juror comprehension of complex scientific evidence.

Mock juries of individuals who appeared for jury duty viewed a videotaped trial with both fallacious and valid arguments about mitochondrial DNA evidence and certain probabilities and statistics related to it. Some implications for the law of the findings on the comprehension of the jurors and their susceptibility to certain fallacies will be noted. [Mark Godsey]

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