by Bethel G.A. Erastus-Obilo

10/30/2008

Lay participation in the criminal justice process in the form of a jury is a celebrated phenomenon throughout the common law jurisdictions. While not claiming credit for its origin, England, as the latent cradle of the modern jury, disseminated this mode of trial to a great part of the world through colonization. Yet, trial by jury does not enjoy constitutional protection under English law. The system has been under severe criticism, curtailment and considerable pressure in recent times, perhaps far more than in other countries. Critics have demanded reform or outright abolition and supporters have opposed the demands just as vehemently and any reform achieved has been piecemeal and reluctant. The furore has helped to galvanise robust and extensive intellectual debate on the subject. It ha...

by Michael Kakaire Kirunda

06/05/2008

Departing from John Herbert Michael Agar's contention that "the truth that makes people free is for the most part the truth which people prefer not to hear," I focus this article on two all too often implied, although not explicitly formulated, major triggers of Africa's predicaments -- including environmental degradation. I argue that while the ruling elites (Africans and non-Africans alike) have been, and still are, the major players in the development and exacerbation of the myriad of problems facing Africa and its people, this elemental dimension has not received sufficient academic attention. I also ascertain how the challenges facing Africa and its people -- ranging from environmental degradation to cultural putrefy, and from political paralysis to economic stagnation, are, while i...

Factors Influencing Juror Sentencing Decisions:

Race, Social Economic Status, Attorney Credibility and the Relevance of Stereotype Attribution Theory

by Nichole Force

06/15/2008

148 undergraduate students acted as mock jurors in a study that manipulated the following variables to assess their influence on Subjects’ determination of guilt and sentencing severity of a criminal defendant: race of defendant, social economic status (SES) of defendant, race of victim, and credibility of defense attorney. A chi square analysis of the relationship between the four independent variables and verdict found defendant SES and attorney quality/credibility to be significant. A 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 anova for sentence length found a main effect of attorney quality and a significant interaction between defendant race and SES. A factorial anova on the projected likelihood of the defendant to commit a criminal act in the future found main effects for defendant SES and attorney quality. F...