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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 66838 Find in a Library
Title: CONVINCING EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE ON THE SIX-MEMBER JURY (FROM CRIMINAL JUSTICE RESEARCH, 1980, BY SUSETTE M TALARICO - SEE NCJ-66830)
Author(s): H ZEISEL; S S DIAMOND
Corporate Author: Anderson Publishing Co
Publicity Director
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: Anderson Publishing Co
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: AN ANALYSIS OF WEAKNESSES IN FOUR STUDIES CITED IN COLGROVE V. BATTIN (WHICH SUPPORTED THE USE OF THE SIX-MEMBER JURY IN FEDERAL CIVIL LITIGATION) IS PRESENTED TOGETHER WITH SUGGESTED RESEARCH DESIGNS.
Abstract: ON THE SURFACE, ALL 4 STUDIES APPEAR TO DO WHAT THEIR SUMMARIES CLAIM: THEY COMPARE THE PERFORMANCE OF 12-MEMBER AND 6-MEMBER JURIES. TWO OF THE STUDIES, THOSE DONE IN WASHINGTON AND NEW JERSEY, COMPARE JURY TRIALS WITHIN A SYSTEM THAT ALLOWS LITIGANTS TO CHOOSE BETWEEN THE TWO JURY SIZES. A THIRD STUDY, CONDUCTED IN MICHIGAN, ALSO USED ACTUAL TRIAL RESULTS IN A BEFORE-AND-AFTER STUDY. THE FOURTH EXPERIMENT WAS A LABORATORY STUDY IN WHICH TEST JURIES VIEWED THE SAME VIDEOTAPED TRIAL AND JURY SIZE WAS RANDOMLY VARIED BY THE EXPERIMENTER. UNFORTUNATELY, EACH OF THESE APPROACHES HAS SHORTCOMINGS WITH WHICH THE STUDIES FAILED TO DEAL; AS A RESULT, ALL FAIL TO PROVIDE RELIABLE CONCLUSIONS. THESE SHORTCOMINGS RANGE FROM CALLING SELECTIVE SAMPLES RANDOM, TO DRAWING GENERAL CONCLUSION FROM A BIASED EXPERIMENT, TO FAILURE TO CONTROL FOR INFLUENCE OF EXTERNAL EVENTS. THE DISCONCERTING RESULT IN THE SUPREME COURT'S DECISION IN COLGROVE V. BATTIN WAS THAT THERE IS NO DISCERNIBLE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 12- AND 6-MEMBER JURIES IN EITHER CRIMINAL OR CIVIL CASES. SUGGESTED STRATEGIES FOR STUDYING THE IMPACT OF 6-MEMBER JURIES ARE TO (1) TEST THE EFFECTS OF JURY SIZE IN A JURISDICTION IN WHICH 6-MEMBER JURIES ARE OPTIONAL (A SERIES OF CASES COULD BE TRIED SIMULTANEOUSLY BEFORE TWO JURIES, ONE WITH 6 MEMBERS AND ONE WITH 12 MEMBERS); (2) TRY COMPARABLE SETS OF CASES BEFORE 6- AND 12-MEMBER JURIES; (3) VERIFY NO CONCOMITANT CHANGES IN A BEFORE-AND-AFTER EXPERIMENT; AND (4) USE A LABORATORY EXPERIMENT WITH A LARGE SAMPLE, BETTER PILOT TESTING, AND MORE THAN ONE CASE ON VIDEO TAPE. ALTHOUGH SOME FINANCIAL SAVINGS (ABOUT $4 MILLION ANNUALLY) WOULD RESULT FROM HAVING 6-MEMBER JURIES, THE DISADVANTAGES FAR OUTWEIGH THE ADVANTAGES. THE U.S. CONGRESS CAN SAVE THE 12-MEMBER JURY SIMPLY BY RE-ESTABLISHING THE 12-MEMBER JURY FOR ALL FEDERAL TRIALS. TABLES AND CASE NOTES ARE INCLUDED. (PRG)
Index Term(s): Evaluation; Evaluation techniques; Jury size changes; Michigan; New Jersey; Studies; Washington
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=66838

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