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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Wrongful Conviction: Using Lived Experience to Explore Errors in Juror Cognition
by Schulte Lewis, Danielle Nicole, Ph.D., Walden University, 2020, 172; 28152051
Abstract (Summary)

Wrongful conviction is a pressing legal and social justice issue that requires scholarly attention in the United States. The role of jurors in the criminal justice system has been empirically investigated and debated for many decades as researchers attempt to understand the juror decision-making process and how jurors contribute to wrongful conviction. The purpose of this study was to qualitatively explore how errors in juror cognition during decision-making led to juror reliance on narrative construction and commonsense reasoning rather than legal and judicial instruction in wrongful conviction cases. In-depth interviews were conducted with 12 jurors who served on a criminal case in which the defendant was wrongfully convicted. Thematic analysis identified several commonalities in the lived experience of jurors who served on a wrongful conviction case. Overall, jurors described the experience as negative, revealed patterns of systemic racism and oppression, expressed skepticism about the criminal justice system, frequently disassociated and deflected the responsibility and implications of the wrongful conviction, and communicated adverse impacts of group decision-making. In addition, analysis detected repeated patterns of juror reliance on narrative construction and commonsense reasoning during the decision-making processes. Results may inform future research, juror system reform, and nationwide efforts to prevent wrongful conviction. The finding of this study can be used to develop practices and policies that mandate a higher standard of education for jurors and criminal justice professionals, correct errors in juror cognition, and improve the criminal justice system in the United States, resulting in positive social change.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wallace, Wayne, Pierce, Aaron
Commitee: Bass, Christopher
School: Walden University
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-A 82/5(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Law, Social research, Criminology, Public policy, Public administration
Keywords: Commonsense reasoning, Juror cognition, Wrongful conviction, Juror errors, Juror decision-making, Criminal justice system, United States
Publication Number: 28152051
ISBN: 9798691228506
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