August 21, 2017

Rossner, Tait, McKimmie, and Sarre on Courtroom Design and the Presumption of Innocence @meredithrossner @blakemckimmie @UniversitySA

Meredith Rossner, London School of Economics & Political Science, David Tait, University of Western Sydney College of Arts, Blake McKimmie, University of Queensland, and Rick T. Sarre, University of South Australia School of Law, have published The Dock on Trial: Courtroom Design and the Presumption of Innocence at 44 Journal of Law and Society 317 (2017). Here is the abstract.
This article examines the place of the criminal dock in courtroom design. Challenges to the use of the dock have been based upon the inability of the defendants to hear effectively, to communicate with counsel, to maintain their dignity, and to benefit from the presumption of innocence. Increasingly courts are incorporating secure docks, where defendants are partially or completely surrounded by glass (or in some countries, metal bars). To what extent do these changes and modifications undermine the right to the presumption of innocence? We present the results of an experimental mock jury study that was designed to test whether the placement of the accused influences jurors’ perceptions. We find that jurors are more likely to convict defendants when they are located in a traditional dock or a secure dock, compared to sitting next to their counsel at the bar table. We conclude by discussing the implications for trial procedures, counsel communications, and courtroom design.
The full text is not available from SSRN.

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