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NCJ Number: 50940 Find in a Library
Title: AMERICAN JURY (FROM AMERICAN JURY SYSTEM - FINAL REPORT 1977, BY R S JACOBSON AND B MORRISSEY - SEE NCJ-50937)
Author(s): H ZEISEL
Corporate Author: Roscoe Pound-American Trial Lawyers Foundation
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 30
Sponsoring Agency: Roscoe Pound-American Trial Lawyers Foundation
Washington, DC 20007
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS PAPER EXAMINES THE GENERAL POSITION OF THE JURY IN THE AMERICAN JUDICIAL PROCESS, AND THE VARIOUS STAGES OF JURY SELECTION.
Abstract: THE UNITED STATES CONDUCTS SOME 90% OF ALL THE WORLD'S CRIMINAL JURY TRIALS AND 98% OF ALL CIVIL JURY TRIALS. THERE HAVE BEEN NUMEROUS ARGUMENTS FOR AND AGAINST THE JURY SYSTEM OVER THE YEARS, FOCUSING ON THE FOLLOWING THREE ISSUES: (1) THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF THE JURY AS AN INSTITUTION; (2) COMPETENCY OF THE JURY; AND (3) THE POSSIBILITY THAT THE JURY MAY NOT FOLLOW THE LAW, RESULTING IN UNEQUAL ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE. A STUDY CONDUCTED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO JURY PROJECT CONSIDERS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT THE JURY DOES AND WHAT THE JUDGE WOULD HAVE DONE IF THE CASE WERE TRIED IN A BENCH TRIAL. THE RATE OF DISAGREEMENT WAS ABOUT 20% IN BOTH CRIMINAL AND CIVIL CASES. BECAUSE PROPORTIONATE REPRESENTATION OF ALL SUBGROUPS OF THE COMMUNITY IS THE GOAL, RANDOM SELECTION FROM THE VOTER LISTS HAS BECOME THE PREDOMINANT MODE OF JUROR SELECTION. ALTERNATIVE DISPOSITIONS HAVE BEEN ENCOURAGED BY THE WEAKENING OF THE JURY BROUGHT ABOUT BY THE FOLLOWING JURY MODIFICATIONS: (1) JURY SIZE REDUCTION (TO 6); (2) EXCEPTIONS TO THE UNANIMITY RULE; AND (3) REDUCTION OF THE SCOPE OF VOIR DIRE. JURY SELECTION CONSISTS OF THREE PHASES: SELECTION FROM THE ORIGINAL SOURCE LIST; ADMINISTRATIVE SCREENING TO EXAMINE JURORS FOR DISQUALIFICATION CRITERIA; AND THE VOIR DIRE EXAMINATION. VOIR DIRE IS OF MAJOR INTEREST TO TRIAL LAWYERS AND THE COURTS. AN EXPERIMENT WAS CONDUCTED BEFORE 3 JUDGES OF THE U.S. DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS IN 12 CRIMINAL TRIALS. A SHADOW JURY WAS COMPARED WITH THE REAL JURY TO PROVE THE HYPOTHESIS THAT THE MAJORITY USUALLY DETERMINES THE EVENTUAL VERDICT ON THE FIRST BALLOT. THE DATA COLLECTED SHOWED THAT SOME 93% OF ALL JURY VERDICTS ARE DECIDED BY THE FIRST BALLOT, AND THE MINORITY POSITION RARELY DEVELOPS INTO THE FINAL VERDICT. CAUSAL CONNECTION IN CONSIDERING THE VOIR DIRE PERFORMANCE OF THE ATTORNEYS, THE REDUCTION IN THE LIKELIHOOD OF CONVICTION, THE JURIES' VERDICT, AND THE JUDGES' SUBSEQUENT DISAPPROVAL OF THESE VERDICTS WAS PROVEN. A TEST OF THE ATTORNEYS' ABILITY TO LOCATE HOSTILE JURORS REVEALED NO SIGNIFICANT DATA UPON WHICH VALID CONCLUSIONS MAY BE DRAWN. TABULAR DATA, CASE STUDIES, AND FOOTNOTES ARE PROVIDED. (JCP)
Index Term(s): Illinois; Judicial process; Juries; Juror utilization; Jury instructions; Jury selection; Trial procedures; Verdicts
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50940

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