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  1. Abstract: Jury notetaking can be controversial despite evidence suggesting benefits for recall and understanding. Research on note taking has historically focused on the deliberation process. Yet, little research explores the notes themselves. We developed a 10-item coding guide to explore what jurors take notes on (e.g., simple vs. complex evidence) and how they take notes (e.g., gist vs. specific representation). In general, jurors made gist representations of simple and complex information in their notes. This finding is consistent with Fuzzy Trace Theory (Reyna & Brainerd, 1995) and suggests notes may serve as a general memory aid, rather than verbatim representation.more »Summary: The practice of jury notetaking in the courtroom is often contested. Some states allow it (e.g., Nebraska: State v. Kipf, 1990), while others forbid it (e.g., Louisiana: La. Code of Crim. Proc., Art. 793). Some argue notes may serve as a memory aid, increase juror confidence during deliberation, and help jurors engage in the trial (Hannaford & Munsterman, 2001; Heuer & Penrod, 1988, 1994). Others argue notetaking may distract jurors from listening to evidence, that juror notes may be given undue weight, and that those who took notes may dictate the deliberation process (Dann, Hans, & Kaye, 2005). While research has evaluated the efficacy of juror notes on evidence comprehension, little work has explored the specific content of juror notes. In a similar project on which we build, Dann, Hans, and Kaye (2005) found jurors took on average 270 words of notes each with 85% including references to jury instructions in their notes. In the present study we use a content analysis approach to examine how jurors take notes about simple and complex evidence. We were particularly interested in how jurors captured gist and specific (verbatim) information in their notes as they have different implications for information recall during deliberation. According to Fuzzy Trace Theory (Reyna & Brainerd, 1995), people extract “gist” or qualitative meaning from information, and also exact, verbatim representations. Although both are important for helping people make well-informed judgments, gist-based understandings are purported to be even more important than verbatim understanding (Reyna, 2008; Reyna & Brainer, 2007). As such, it could be useful to examine how laypeople represent information in their notes during deliberation of evidence. Methods Prior to watching a 45-minute mock bank robbery trial, jurors were given a pen and notepad and instructed they were permitted to take notes. The evidence included testimony from the defendant, witnesses, and expert witnesses from prosecution and defense. Expert testimony described complex mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) evidence. The present analysis consists of pilot data representing 2,733 lines of notes from 52 randomly-selected jurors across 41 mock juries. Our final sample for presentation at AP-LS will consist of all 391 juror notes in our dataset. Based on previous research exploring jury note taking as well as our specific interest in gist vs. specific encoding of information, we developed a coding guide to quantify juror note-taking behaviors. Four researchers independently coded a subset of notes. Coders achieved acceptable interrater reliability [(Cronbach’s Alpha = .80-.92) on all variables across 20% of cases]. Prior to AP-LS, we will link juror notes with how they discuss scientific and non-scientific evidence during jury deliberation. Coding Note length. Before coding for content, coders counted lines of text. Each notepad line with at minimum one complete word was coded as a line of text. Gist information vs. Specific information. Any line referencing evidence was coded as gist or specific. We coded gist information as information that did not contain any specific details but summarized the meaning of the evidence (e.g., “bad, not many people excluded”). Specific information was coded as such if it contained a verbatim descriptive (e.g.,“<1 of people could be excluded”). We further coded whether this information was related to non-scientific evidence or related to the scientific DNA evidence. Mentions of DNA Evidence vs. Other Evidence. We were specifically interested in whether jurors mentioned the DNA evidence and how they captured complex evidence. When DNA evidence was mention we coded the content of the DNA reference. Mentions of the characteristics of mtDNA vs nDNA, the DNA match process or who could be excluded, heteroplasmy, references to database size, and other references were coded. Reliability. When referencing DNA evidence, we were interested in whether jurors mentioned the evidence reliability. Any specific mention of reliability of DNA evidence was noted (e.g., “MT DNA is not as powerful, more prone to error”). Expert Qualification. Finally, we were interested in whether jurors noted an expert’s qualifications. All references were coded (e.g., “Forensic analyst”). Results On average, jurors took 53 lines of notes (range: 3-137 lines). Most (83%) mentioned jury instructions before moving on to case specific information. The majority of references to evidence were gist references (54%) focusing on non-scientific evidence and scientific expert testimony equally (50%). When jurors encoded information using specific references (46%), they referenced non-scientific evidence and expert testimony equally as well (50%). Thirty-three percent of lines were devoted to expert testimony with every juror including at least one line. References to the DNA evidence were usually focused on who could be excluded from the FBIs database (43%), followed by references to differences between mtDNA vs nDNA (30%), and mentions of the size of the database (11%). Less frequently, references to DNA evidence focused on heteroplasmy (5%). Of those references that did not fit into a coding category (11%), most focused on the DNA extraction process, general information about DNA, and the uniqueness of DNA. We further coded references to DNA reliability (15%) as well as references to specific statistical information (14%). Finally, 40% of jurors made reference to an expert’s qualifications. Conclusion Jury note content analysis can reveal important information about how jurors capture trial information (e.g., gist vs verbatim), what evidence they consider important, and what they consider relevant and irrelevant. In our case, it appeared jurors largely created gist representations of information that focused equally on non-scientific evidence and scientific expert testimony. This finding suggests note taking may serve not only to represent information verbatim, but also and perhaps mostly as a general memory aid summarizing the meaning of evidence. Further, jurors’ references to evidence tended to be equally focused on the non-scientific evidence and the scientifically complex DNA evidence. This observation suggests jurors may attend just as much to non-scientific evidence as they to do complex scientific evidence in cases involving complicated evidence – an observation that might inform future work on understanding how jurors interpret evidence in cases with complex information. Learning objective: Participants will be able to describe emerging evidence about how jurors take notes during trial.« less