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NCJ Number: 64061 Find in a Library
Title: AND THEN THERE WERE SIX - THE DECLINE OF THE AMERICAN JURY
Journal: JUDICATURE  Volume:63  Issue:6  Dated:(DECEMBER/JANUARY 1980)  Pages:262-279
Author(s): P W SPERLICH
Corporate Author: American Judicature Soc
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 18
Sponsoring Agency: American Judicature Soc
Chicago, IL 60601-7401
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE SERIES OF U.S. SUPREME COURT DECISIONS PERMITTING THE REDUCTION OF JURY SIZE TO SIX AND MAJORITY VERDICTS IS CRITIQUED AND ARGUMENTS FOR THE TRADITIONAL 12-PERSON UNANIMOUS VERDICT PRESENTED.
Abstract: THE WILLIAMS-JOHNSON-APODACA-COLGROVE SEQUENCE OF SUPREME COURT OPINIONS PERMITTING THE REDUCTION OF JURY SIZE TO SIX IN FEDERAL CIVIL TRIALS AND STATE CRIMINAL TRIALS AND ALLOWING MAJORITY VERDICTS IN STATE CRIMINAL TRIALS HAS BEEN UNCRITICAL AND INCOMPETENT IN TREATING EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE AND UNFAITHFUL TO COMMON LAW IN REDUCING THE PROTECTIVE FUNCTION OF TRIAL BY JURY. THE BEST EVIDENCE ON JURY DECISIONMAKING SHOWS THAT THE PURPOSE AND FUNCTIONING OF THE JURY IN A CRIMINAL TRIAL IS SERIOUSLY IMPAIRED TO A CONSTITUTIONAL DEGREE BY A SIZE REDUCTION TO SIX. THIS IMPAIRMENT AFFECTS GROUP DELIBERATION; THE ACCURACY, CONSISTENCY, AND RELIABILITY OF DELIBERATION RESULTS; SUPPORT FOR THE MINORITY JUROR; THE QUALITY OF COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION AND REPRESENTATIVENESS; AND THE SUBSTANTIAL EFFECTS OF SMALL PERCENTAGE DIFFERENCES IN THE OUTCOMES OF DELIBERATIONS BETWEEN THE 12- AND 6-PERSON JURIES. THE HIDDEN REASONS FOR THE COURT'S DECISIONS CONCERNING JURY SIZE MAY LIE IN THE DESIRES TO LIMIT JURY COSTS, DECREASE COURT DELAY TIME, INCREASE JUDICIAL POWER, AND INCREASE THE NUMBER OF CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS. SUCH REASONS DO NOT QUALIFY AS A RATIONALE FOR REDUCING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE DECISIONMAKING POWER OF CITIZENS IN THE JUDICIAL PROCESS. FOOTNOTES ARE PROVIDED. (RCB)
Index Term(s): Common law; Critiques; Judicial decisions; Jury size changes; Laws and Statutes; US Supreme Court
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=64061

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