Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

3-2008

Abstract

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’.

Discipline

Criminal Law | Evidence

Research Areas

Law, Society and Governance

Publication

International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice

Volume

36

Issue

1

First Page

15

Last Page

53

ISSN

1756-0616

Identifier

10.1016/j.ijsl.2007.07.001

Publisher

Elsevier

Copyright Owner and License

Author

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

http://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijsl.2007.07.001

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