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Juries can suffer from confirmation bias

On Behalf of | May 12, 2020 | Criminal Defense

There are many different types of bias that can influence a jury trial. The court’s goal is to weed these things out and eliminate the jurors who hold these biases. If someone is biased against women, for instance, they would not be allowed to sit on the jury for a female defendant. However, it is an imperfect system, and some biased individuals do get through.

On top of that, you can have different types of bias that get introduced by the very process itself. One is known as confirmation bias.

This is when a juror has not seen all of the evidence but still holds an opinion about what happened in the case. They already think that the defendant is guilty or innocent. They will then see the evidence through that lens as it is presented. No matter what it should tell them about the case, they will feel like it tells them that the person’s status conforms to their earlier opinion.

This is why it’s important for jurors not to get outside information during a case. If the news channels are droning on about a person’s guilt, will that influence the juror? If they are the type of person who simply accepts the opinions that are put before them, will others be able to tell them how to think? This could mean that their decision does not actually reflect the evidence at all — even when they honestly think that it does.

The justice system is certainly not flawless, and bias is merely one example. Make sure you know your rights when facing charges.