Individual and Group Decision Making: Current Issues

By N. John Castellan Jr. | Go to book overview

the testimony is offered to show the truth of some assertion in the out-of- court statement. For example, Joe tells me that the blue car ran a red light and crashed into a school bus. If I am a witness in court and say that Joe told me that the blue car ran the red light and crashed into the school bus, I am offering hearsay testimony. Please give your opinion in the statements below.

2&3. Some legal experts believe that hearsay is unreliable evidence and should not be presented to juries. Other legal experts believe that the jury should be allowed to decide whether the hearsay is unreliable or not. As a potential juror (anyone over the age of 18 can be called to serve on a jury), what is your opinion of the two options given below?

Hearsay should not be presented to the jury as evidence. [1 = strongly agree, 7 = strongly disagree].

Hearsay should be presented and the jury can then decide how to use it when making their decision. [1 = strongly agree, 7 = strongly disagree].

4. Making hearsay evidence admissible would encourage some lawyers or litigants to lie or create evidence by getting witnesses to testify to statements that were never made.

5. Hearsay testimony is not useful because the credibility of the person who originally makes the statement out of court is not known (this person is not a witness, so she or he cannot be cross-examined).

6. Hearsay testimony is not useful because the witness in court may not remember or may mis-state what the original speaker actually said out of court.


REFERENCES

Cox M., & Tanford S. ( 1989). "Effects of evidence and instructions in civil trials: An experimental investigation of rules of admissibility". Social Behavior, 4, 31-55.

Cutler B. L., Penrod S. D., & Dexter H. R. ( 1989). "The eyewitness, the expert psychologist, and the jury". Law and Human Behavior, 13, 311-332.

Cutler B. L., Penrod S. D., & Stuve T. E. ( 1988). "Juror decision making in eyewitness identification cases". Law and Human Behavior, 12, 41-55.

Elwork A., Sales B. D., & Alfini J. J. ( 1982). Making jury instructions understandable. Charlottesville, VA: Michie.

Fiske S. T., & Taylor S. ( 1991). Social cognition. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Imwinkelried E. J. ( 1989). "The importance of the memory factor in analyzing the reliability of hearsay testimony: A lesson slowly learnt--and quickly forgotten". Florida Law Review, 41, 215-252.

Kassin S. M., Ellsworth P. C., & Smith V. L. ( 1989). "The General Acceptance of psychological research on eyewitness testimony". American Psychologist, 44, 1089-1098.

Kovera M. B., Penrod S. D., & Park R. C. ( 1992). "Jurors' perceptions of hearsay evidence". Minnesota Law Review, 76, 703-721.

Landsman S. A., & Rakos R. F. ( 1990). The impact of hearsay evidence on mock jurors. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Boston.

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