Stories from the Jury Room: How Jurors Use Narrative to Process Evidence

Studies in Law, Politics, & Society, Vol. 49, p. 25, 2009

UNC Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1510290

47 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2009 Last revised: 23 Nov 2009

John M. Conley

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - School of Law

Robin H. Conley

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Anthropology

Abstract

This paper analyzes the ways in which jurors use everyday storytelling techniques in their deliberations. It begins by reviewing the literature on how jurors receive and process evidence, emphasizing narrative and storytelling. It then presents some new, qualitative linguistic data drawn from actual jury deliberations, which shed light on jurors' standards of evidence and proof, as well as on the persuasive tactics they use in dealing with each other. Although these data are limited, they provide an interesting basis for assessing existing ideas about jury evidence-processing and thinking more broadly about the strengths and weaknesses of the jury system.

Keywords: jury, jury deliberations, narrative, storytelling

Suggested Citation

Conley, John M. and Conley, Robin H., Stories from the Jury Room: How Jurors Use Narrative to Process Evidence. Studies in Law, Politics, & Society, Vol. 49, p. 25, 2009; UNC Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1510290. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1510290

John M. Conley (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - School of Law ( email )

Van Hecke-Wettach Hall, 160 Ridge Road
CB #3380
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380
United States
919-962-8502 (Phone)

Robin H. Conley

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Anthropology ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90095-1553
United States
310-206-7833 (Fax)

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