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NCJ Number: 52227 Find in a Library
Title: INTERACTIONS BETWEEN JURORS AS A FUNCTION OF MAJORITY VS UNANIMITY DECISION RULES
Journal: JOURNAL OF APPLIED SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY  Volume:7  Issue:1  Dated:(1977)  Pages:38-56
Author(s): C NEMETH
Corporate Author: V H Winston & Sons, Inc
Journal Editor
c/o Bellwater Publishing Ltd
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 21
Sponsoring Agency: V H Winston & Sons, Inc
Columbia, MD 21046
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE MAJORITY AND MINORITY POSITIONS IN A U.S. SUPREME COURT RULING SUPPORTING THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF NONUNANIMOUS JURY VERDICTS ARE DISCUSSED FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF RELEVANT RESEARCH FINDINGS.
Abstract: IN TWO CASES, JOHNSON VERSUS LOUISIANA AND APODACA, COOPER, AND MADDEN VERSUS OREGON, THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT RULED (5 TO 4) THAT PROVISIONS ALLOWING FOR LESS THAN UNANIMOUS JURY VERDICTS DID NOT VIOLATE EITHER DUE PROCESS OR THE EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE OF THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT. IN SO DECIDING, THE MAJORITY REASONED THAT A LESS THAN UNANIMOUS VERDICT WOULD NOT CURTAIL A FAIR AND OPEN DEBATE AMONG ALL THE JURORS ON ALL MATTERS PERTAINING TO THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED IN THE CASE, AND FURTHER, THAT THE VERDICT WAS NOT AFFECTED BY THE PROVISION FOR A MAJORITY RATHER THAN A UNANIMOUS JURY VERDICT. THE MINORITY POSITION, ON THE OTHER HAND, REASONED THAT A MAJORITY VERDICT PROVISION WOULD TEND TO LESSEN OR TERMINATE THE PERSUASIVE POWER OF A MINORITY POSITION IN JURY DEBATES ONCE THE REQUIRED MAJORITY CONSENSUS HAD BEEN REACHED. SUCH A PROVISION WAS ALSO CONSIDERED BY THE MINORITY OF JUSTICES TO REPRESENT A THREAT POWER OF MINORITY GROUPS IN THE COMMUNITY IN THEIR REPRESENTATION IN JURY DELIBERATIONS. RESULTS OF THREE EXPERIMENTS DESIGNED TO TEST THE VALIDITY OF THE REASONING OF THE MAJORITY AND MINORITY REPORTS OF THE JUSTICES IN THIS RULING ARE REPORTED. THE EXPERIMENTS ARE DESCRIBED IN DETAIL, AND THE DATA DERIVED FROM THEM ARE INCLUDED. IT IS REPORTED THAT THE STUDIES TEND TO CORROBORATE THE FEARS OF THE DISSENTING JUSTICES, IN THAT THE MAJORITY TENDS TO PRESS FOR A DECIDED VERDICT, NOT NECESSARILY AS SOON AS THE REQUISITE MAJORITY IS REACHED, BUT SOONER THAN WOULD BE THE CASE UNDER UNANIMITY REQUIREMENTS. THE GROUPS IN THE EXPERIMENTS WHICH WERE ALLOWED NONUNANIMITY TENDED TO STOP SHORT OF ACHIEVING EVEN VERBAL CONSENSUS AMONG THEIR MEMBERS; WHEREAS, THE GROUPS REQUIRED TO DELIBERATE TO UNANIMITY WERE MORE EFFECTIVE IN PERSUADING ALL THE MEMBERS THAT THE FINAL VERDICT WAS THE APPROPRIATE ONE. DEBATE BETWEEN JURORS OF OPPOSING VIEWS WAS ALSO MORE INTENSE IN GROUPS REQUIRED TO REACH A UNANIMOUS VERDICT. THE ACTUAL VERDICTS UNDER THE MAJORITY AND UNANIMOUS SYSTEMS APPARENTLY DID NOT DIFFER SIGNIFICANTLY, ALTHOUGH GROUPS REQUIRED TO BE UNANIMOUS WERE 'HUNG' MORE OFTEN. (RCB)
Index Term(s): Decisionmaking; Judicial decisions; Juries; Jury decisionmaking; Research; US Supreme Court
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=52227

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