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NCJ Number: 184130 Find in a Library
Title: Judicial Attitudes Towards Jury Reform
Journal: Judicature  Volume:83  Issue:6  Dated:May-June 2000  Pages:298-303
Author(s): David C. Brody; John Neiswender
Date Published: May 2000
Page Count: 6
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A 1998 survey of superior court judges in Washington State regarding possible reforms to the jury system revealed general support for jury reform, even when the proposed reforms were not necessarily in the judges’ self-interest.
Abstract: The survey received responses from 113 of the 167 superior court judges in 27 of the 30 judicial districts. Bivariate and multivariate analyses focused on relationships between demographic characteristics (age, race, and gender) and location (urban or rural) of a judge’s district and the attitudes of the judges toward jury reform. Results revealed no such relationships. Thus, the findings provide statistics for the entire group of 167 judges. More than 90 percent of the judges believed that the jury system works well in its current form or that only limited improvement is needed. However, 57.3 percent believe that the system requires some improvement. A clear majority supported allowing jurors to take notes, to ask questions of witnesses through the judge, to have written copies of jury instructions to use during deliberations, and to receive instructions on the law several times during the trial. However, the judges overwhelmingly rejected the elimination of peremptory challenges and allowing non-unanimous verdicts in criminal trials. Judges also expressed their opinions on issues related to improving the pay and services to jurors, increasing the appearance rate of jurors. Findings revealed a consensus that some reform of the jury system is necessary. Tables, photograph, and footnotes
Main Term(s): Court procedures
Index Term(s): Court reform; Judicial attitudes; Juries; Juror compensation; Jury decisionmaking; Jury instructions; Jury selection; Jury selection challenges; Jury unanimity; Washington
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