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NCJ Number: 65880 Find in a Library
Title: JURIES, FOREMEN AND VERDICTS
Journal: BRITISH JOURNAL OF CRIMINOLOGY  Volume:20  Issue:1  Dated:(JANUARY 1980)  Pages:35-44
Author(s): J BALDWIN; M MCCONVILLE
Corporate Author: Stevens and Sons
United Kingdom
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: Fred B Rothman & Co
Littleton, CO 80123
Institute for Scientific Information
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Stevens and Sons
London, England
Sale Source: Fred B Rothman & Co
Marketing Manager
10368 W Centennial Rd
Littleton, CO 80123
United States of America

Institute for Scientific Information
University City Science Ctr
3501 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: THE STUDY EXAMINED BACKGROUNDS OF 326 JURIES EMPANELED IN BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND, DURING A 21-MONTH PERIOD OF 1975 AND 1976. THE GOAL WAS TO DETERMINE EFFECTS OF REFORMS PROMOTING JURY REPRESENTATIVENESS.
Abstract: THE SOCIAL BACKGROUND OF JURORS WAS COMPARED WITH THAT OF THE BIRMINGHAM POPULATION AS A WHOLE, AND IT WAS DETERMINED THAT THE OVERALL SOCIAL CLASS COMPOSITION WAS REMARKABLY CONGRUENT TO THE GENERAL POPULATION. HOWEVER, IN OTHER RESPECTS THE JURIES LESS ADEQUATELY REFLECTED THE SOCIAL CHARACTERISITICS OF THE WIDER COMMUNITY. IN TERMS OF RACE, ONLY 28 OUT OF ALMOST 4,000 JURORS WERE OF WEST INDIAN OR ASIAN ORIGIN. YET CENSUS FIGURES INDICATE THAT A FIGURE SOME 12 OR 15 TIMES THAT NUMBER WOULD BE A MORE APPROPRIATE REFLECTION OF THE COMMUNITY AS A WHOLE. IN ADDITION, THERE WERE ALMOST THREE TIMES AS MANY MEN SITTING ON BIRMINGHAM JURIES AS WOMEN, A FACT PARTLY ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE READY GRANTING OF EXEMPTIONS TO FEMALES. IN ADDITION TO THIS, AN INFORMAL PRACTICE HAD BEEN ESTABLISHED IN BIRMINGHAM OF ACTUALLY SUMMONING TWICE AS MANY MEN AS WOMEN. CONCERNING THE INFLUENCE OF THE JURY'S SOCIAL COMPOSITION ON ITS VERDICT, THE STUDY COULD DISCERN NO RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE SEX, AGE, SOCIAL CLASS, OR RACE OF JURORS AND THEIR PROPENSITY TO ACQUIT OR CONVICT DEFENDANTS. ALSO, DATA SHOWED THAT THE FINAL COMPOSITION OF JURIES HAD NOT BEEN AFFECTED BY THE USE OF CHALLENGES. IN ONLY ONE TRIAL IN SEVEN WAS THE RIGHT EXERCISED AND WHERE THERE WAS A CHALLENGE, THERE WAS RARELY MORE THAN A SINGLE POTENTIAL JUROR WHO WAS CHALLENGED. NO FEWER THAN 90 PERCENT OF ALL CHALLENGES WERE MADE BY THE DEFENSE. THE STUDY ALSO MEASURED THE EXTENT TO WHICH THOSE CHOSEN FOREMEN OF THE JURIES DIFFERED IN TERMS OF SOCIAL BACKGROUND FROM OTHER JURORS. HERE THE SOCIAL IMBALANCE NOTED IN THE COMPOSITION OF BIRMINGHAM JURIES WAS GREATLY MAGNIFIED. ONLY 5.3 PERCENT OF THE FOREMEN WERE FEMALES, 68 PERCENT WERE AGED 40 OR OVER, AND TWICE AS MANY FOREMEN WERE IN PROFESSIONAL, MANAGERIAL, OR INTERMEDIATE OCCUPATIONS AS THE JURY AS A WHOLE. ALTHOUGH STUDY RESULTS SUGGEST THAT JURY IMBALANCES ARE UNLIKELY TO DISTORT VERDICTS, SUCH IMBALANCES ARE FUNDAMENTALLY UNDESIRABLE. TABLES, FOOTNOTES, AND REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED. (PRG)
Index Term(s): England; Juries; Juror characteristics; Jury selection; Verdicts
Note: PRICE QUOTED FOR FRED B. ROTHMAN IS SINGLE ISSUE PRICE.
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=65880

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