The American Institute for the Advancement of Forensic Studies - Webinar

Wrongful Conviction: Using Lived Experience to Explore Error in Juror Cognition   (MEMBERS ONLY)

Presented by Danielle Schulte Lewis, Ph.D.

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Webinar Objectives:

  • Describe general patterns in juror bias
  • Provide a history of scholarly examination of the jury decision making process and fallabilities
  • Illuminate themes in juror experience, juror reliance on narrative construction, and juror reliance on commonsense reasoning during the deliberation process
  • Discuss implications of findings for evidence-based jury system reform
  • Inform criminal justice professionals how to combat juror bias and ultimately prevent wrongful conviction


In this webinar, Dr. Schulte Lewis’s research findings, entailing interviews with 12 wrongful conviction jurors, will be discussed. Her research revealed juror tendency to view the experience as negative, revealed patterns of systemic racism and oppression, identified juror skepticism about the criminal justice system, found that jurors frequently disassociated and deflected the responsibility and implications of the wrongful conviction, and illuminated the adverse impacts of group decision-making on jurors. In addition, analysis detected repeated patterns of juror reliance on narrative construction and commonsense reasoning during the decision-making processes. The finding of this study can be used to develop practices and policies that mandate a higher standard of education for jurors and criminal justice professionals, correct errors in juror cognition, and improve the criminal justice system in the United States, resulting in positive social change.  Criminal justice professional awareness of this issue is limited, and attorneys must address potential juror bias head-on to prevent faulty determinations of guilt.

Presenter Biography:

Danielle Schulte Lewis, Ph.D., has been making a difference in the criminal justice system and for indigent defendants for over 14 years. Danielle is zealous and unwavering in her advocacy for vulnerable populations. She has served as a criminal defense investigator with the Los Angeles County Alternate Public Defender’s office since 2008 and has been recognized repeatedly for her outstanding investigation skills and dedication to the criminal court system and social justice.

Danielle obtained a Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology in November of 2020. Her dissertation, titled Wrongful Conviction: Exploring Errors in Juror Cognition, was published in ProQuest in October 2020. Her doctoral research tackled juror bias and wrongful conviction and she was able to uniquely capture the experience of actual jurors who served on wrongful conviction cases. The results of her research ignited further interest in educating attorneys and criminal justice system employees on the intricacies of juror decision-making and the ways in which juror bias manifests in court cases. In addition, Danielle is working hard to spread awareness pertaining to her research findings via presentations, scholarly publications, and expert consultation so they may be used to target evidence-based reform in the criminal justice and jury system. 

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