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An Investigation of Top-Down vs. Bottom-Up Processing in Post-Appellate Review of a Criminal Case

19 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2011 Last revised: 12 Apr 2011

Andrew M. Smith

University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT)

Brian L. Cutler

University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT)

Keith A. Findley

University of Wisconsin Law School

Date Written: January 7, 2011

Abstract

Convicted persons who claim to be factually innocent frequently seek assistance from advocacy organizations that help investigate and establish actual innocence. This experiment examined the extent to which the knowledge that a case has passed pre-screening by an innocence project influences case-reviewer judgment through top-down case processing. One hundred-fifty-nine participants role-played case reviewers, evaluated discovery for a criminal case, and evaluated the case. Prior to evaluation, half of the participants were instructed that the case was not previously adjudicated, whereas the other half was told that the case was referred by an innocence advocacy organization. Instructions significantly influenced participants evaluations, suggesting the influence of top-down processing of case discovery.

Keywords: Top-Down, Bottom-Up, Processing, Judgment, Decision-Making, Post-Appellate Review, Wrongful Conviction, Systematic Processing, Innocence, Postconviction

JEL Classification: K41

Suggested Citation

Smith, Andrew M. and Cutler, Brian L. and Findley, Keith A., An Investigation of Top-Down vs. Bottom-Up Processing in Post-Appellate Review of a Criminal Case (January 7, 2011). University of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1148. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1736667 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1736667

Andrew M. Smith (Contact Author)

University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) ( email )

Brian L. Cutler

University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) ( email )

Keith A. Findley

University of Wisconsin Law School ( email )

975 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706
United States
608-262-4763 (Phone)
608-263-3380 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.wisc.edu/facstaff/biog.php?iID=269

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