SAGE Journal Articles
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Abstract: Jury trials play a centrally important role in the law, and they are also of interest to psychologists. The manner in which individual jurors perceive, interpret, and remember evidence, as well as the group processes involved in jury deliberation, can be described in terms of fundamental cognitive and social psychological concepts. Juries provide a real-world laboratory for examining theoretical issues related to reasoning, memory, judgment and decision making, attribution, stereotyping, persuasion, and group behavior. Conversely, psychological research can inform trial procedures, enabling juries to benefit from fairer procedures and reach better outcomes. Thus, jury decision making has implications for psychological theory, and psychological research has implications for legal policy.
Abstract: Paul Butler argues that due to disparate impact on African Americans in the criminal justice system, African American jurors ought to exercise their right of nullification when there are African American defendants of nonviolent crimes. That is, they should refuse to convict these defendants in part to redress the racism and discrimination experienced by Blacks, and in part because Butler argues that these defendants should be addressed in the African American community instead. In this article I summarize Butler's call to nullify and critically review Leipold's and Marder's critiques of Butler's proposal. I argue that Butler's call is a principled tool to use while also working to change disparate treatment and impact due to discrimination in the criminal justice system, while also exploring the problematic issue of returning offenders to the community.