US juries get verdict wrong in one of six cases: study

US juries get verdict wrong in one of six cases: study

“We know there are errors because someone confesses after the fact or there’s DNA evidence,” he said.”What’s the optimal tradeoff given that juries ultimately will make mistakes? … Are those balances something society is okay with?”

Spencer’s study does not examine why the mistakes were made or which cases ought to be overturned.

Instead, he determined the probability that a mistake was made by looking at how often judges disagreed with the jury’s verdict.

“If they disagree they can’t both be right,” he explained.

Spencer found an agreement rate of just 77 percent, which means a lot of mistakes were being made.

I’m not really going to spend a lot of time on this, but my initial reaction was that this seems like an irresponsible headline. The article that describes the study is very short and doesn’t go into great detail about the methodology, the types of cases, the severity of the crimes alleged, or the credibility of the witnesses that it apparently uses to determine whether error was made. The quoted section above seems to indicate how the study determined that a jury verdict or judge’s decision was “wrong.” Nevertheless it gets published and goes out on the news wires and Drudge picks it up and its out there.

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3 Responses

  1. This study is a good first step. I was falsely arrested and convicted and there are a lot of innocent people in jail. There are no research and stuff into things like this. The police and DA’s office are incompentent evil people that lies and falsify reports to cover up their mistakes. They do everything in their power to put innocent people behind jail. Otherwise, god forbid, they would have made mistakes, they might even have been wrong. Better that someone go to jail than anyone of them of the “system” gets the blame.

    Police and people from the DA’s office have personally told me that they ARE the LAW and they can do whatever the hell they want. The police even tell me that are writing that they personally witnessed me committing a crime I didn’t do. I said I wanted a lawyer and then they wrote that I resisted arrest and assaulted a police officer. They are evil evil people. Police and judges lie all the time.

    And this was in San Francisco. It gets worse else where.

  2. Everyone in Shawshank is innocent.

  3. If you bother to read the study, you will see that the methodology is pretty sound. One of the things the author looked at is when the jury and judge disagreed – something that did not matter what the actual facts of the case were.

    If a jury decides one way, and the judge the other, one of them is wrong, by definition.

    http://www.northwestern.edu/ipr/publications/papers/2006/wp0605.pdf

    Just remember – you have *no* defense against the corrupt cop that decides to “find” 5 grams of crack on you. None. Nada. Zippo.

    And the cop will continue to get away with it until they get caught on tape, or go over the top. Look at Rampart and Tulia.

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