Cover image for Legal blame : how jurors think and talk about accidents
Legal blame : how jurors think and talk about accidents
Feigenson, Neal.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : American Psychological Association, [2000]

Physical Description:
x, 301 pages ; 25 cm.
Legal rules and expert rationales : accident law and philosophy -- The social psychology of juror judgements I : cognitive frameworks and heuristics -- The social psychology of juror judgements II : emotions and legal judgment -- How jurors think about accidents -- The rhetoric of accidents : how advocates help jurors think about liability and damages -- Accidents as melodrama : lawyers' arguments and jurors' responses -- Prior beliefs and common-sense judgment : mock jurors deliberate a medical malpractice case -- Some implications of legal blaming -- Appendix : note on emotions and social judgment -- Table of authority -- References.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
KF8972 .F45 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Legal Blame sheds new light on how jurors try to do justice in the wake of accidents and reveals much about the overall psychology of jury decision making. Neal Feigenson, a professor of law, offers an illuminating framework for how jurors use their common sense, together with the law and the facts, to produce what the author refers to as "total justice." This book will appeal to lawyers, expert witnesses, practicing students, and academics, as well as anyone who is interested in learning about the psychology of legal persuasion.

Author Notes

Neal Feigenson, JD is Professor of Law at Quinnipiac College School of Law in Hamden, CT.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Most jury research focuses on how juries decide. In this work of social psychology Feigenson, Professor of Law at Quinnipiac College, extends this discourse to include what juries decide. He focuses on how jurors talk about liability, drawing on survey and experimental research and presenting case studies of his own. Juries usually agree with judges on the outcomes of specific cases. But jurors tend to construe cases as melodramas, focus on personalities, apply commonsense notions of fault rather than complex legal definitions, and allow emotions to influence their decisions. They do "total justice," trying to square all accounts between the parties rather than apply narrow legal rules. Knowing this, lawyers shape their appeals to reflect the social psychology of total justice. Jurors "explain" seemingly random accidents by attributing official blame, thus re-creating moral order. Feigenson sees this as a positive contribution to society and argues that there is little evidence for the popular view that juries are incompetent or negligent. Readers need no technical background and will learn a great deal about juror behavior. Recommended at all levels. P. Lermack; Bradley University

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Introductionp. 3
Chapter 1. Legal Rules and Expert Rationales: Accident Law and Philosophyp. 23
Chapter 2. The Social Psychology of Juror Judgments I: Cognitive Frameworks and Heuristicsp. 41
Chapter 3. The Social Psychology of Juror Judgments II: Emotions and Legal Judgmentp. 69
Chapter 4. How Jurors Think About Accidentsp. 87
Chapter 5. The Rhetoric of Accidents: How Advocates Help Jurors Think About Liability and Damagesp. 113
Chapter 6. Accidents as Melodrama: Lawyers' Arguments and Jurors' Responsesp. 151
Chapter 7. Prior Beliefs and Common-Sense Judgment: Mock Jurors Deliberate a Medical Malpractice Casep. 171
Chapter 8. Some Implications of Legal Blamingp. 211
Appendix Note on Emotions and Social Judgmentp. 235
Table of Authorityp. 243
Referencesp. 245
Author Indexp. 281
Subject Indexp. 291
About the Authorp. 301