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As to prosecutorial behavior, perhaps jurors attach no probatory significance to prior crimes but priors are associated with the strength of the government's evidence, because of prosecutorial or police decisions and resource investments.
This hypothesis finds support in Sally Lloyd-Bostock's study of more than 200 mock trials, in which the acquittal rates for those defendants with known "similar" and "recent" priors--attributes to which jurors are thought to give special probatory weight--were virtually indistinguishable from those whose priors were wholly unknown (77.
As specified in the Siete Partidas, the plenario was necessary only if the sumaria or probatory phase did not conclusively demonstrate the culpability of the accused or, in complex cases, fully document the nature of the criminal offense.
The result is loss of faith in the probatory process itself; the mind unstapled is "let loose" in an indeterminate field.