Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Jury 'Lottery' Goes On Trial

Date:
June 18, 2009
Source:
British Science Association
Summary:
The current legal system relies on the moral compass of each individual jury to decide the outcome of a trial. This method could be viewed more as a lottery than an infallible system of justice. To investigate this claim, top criminal lawyers have created the Honesty Lab -- an online study devised to try and establish if the standard test for dishonesty used to convict criminals in England and Wales, based on the attitudes of each individual jury, is in fact flawed.

MP’s in the U.K. are being dragged over the coals in the wake of the expenses scandal and the court of public opinion is united in this verdict. However, for issues that are less black and white, the current legal system relies on the moral compass of each individual jury. This method could be viewed more as a lottery than an infallible system of justice.

To investigate this claim, top criminal lawyers from Brunel University, Dr. Stefan Fafinski and Dr. Emily Finch, have created the Honesty Lab – an online study devised to try and establish if the standard test for dishonesty used to convict criminals in England and Wales, based on the attitudes of each individual jury, is in fact flawed.

The results of this study hope to establish how much perceptions of dishonesty vary from person to person and jury to jury and could help to end the current ‘lottery’ of trial by jury for some criminal defendants. As the law offers no definition of dishonesty, it relies on the moral compass of the members of the jury to decipher wrong-doing.

The project was launched in partnership with the British Science Association and sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). To enter, visit http://www.honestylab.com. Your morality will be tested to the limit as you view a selection of video clips and rate whether or not they are dishonest. And if listening to everyone else’s misdemeanours leaves you feeling penitent, get it off your chest in our rogue’s gallery confessional.

Dr. Stefan Fafinski comments: ‘There were around two million recorded crimes involving dishonesty in 2008, so the findings from Honesty Lab in evaluating the fairness of the current test in criminal law will be of major public importance and could alter the way judicial trials are conducted.’

Dr. Emily Finch comments: “We believe that the Honesty Lab project will prove that public attitudes to dishonesty are shaped by the varying personal traits of defendants, jurors and magistrates, suggesting that whether or not a person is convicted of an offence involving dishonesty, such as theft, could be somewhat of a lottery under current criminal law. For example, in April 2002, a man was convicted of theft after collecting over a thousand lost golf balls from a lake on a golf course using scuba diving equipment. It is entirely possible that another jury on another day would have decided that this was not dishonest and he would have been acquitted.”

The findings from Honesty Lab will be presented at the British Science Festival, taking place in Guildford on September 8, 2009.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by British Science Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

British Science Association. "Jury 'Lottery' Goes On Trial." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090617080412.htm>.
British Science Association. (2009, June 18). Jury 'Lottery' Goes On Trial. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090617080412.htm
British Science Association. "Jury 'Lottery' Goes On Trial." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090617080412.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The New York Times has officially endorsed the legalization of marijuana, but why now, and to what end? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Congress OKs Unlocking Phones From Carriers

Congress OKs Unlocking Phones From Carriers

Newsy (July 26, 2014) A bill legalizing "unlocking," or untethering a phone from its default wireless carrier, has passed Congress and is expected to be signed into law. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Wikipedia Puts Congress in Time Out, Blocks Editing

Wikipedia Puts Congress in Time Out, Blocks Editing

Newsy (July 26, 2014) An IP address within the House of Representatives was banned from editing Wikipedia articles for 10 days after it made some questionable changes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins