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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78522 Find in a Library
Title: Summary Jury Trial
Journal: Cleveland State Law Review  Volume:29  Issue:1  Dated:(1980)  Pages:43-59
Author(s): T D Lambros; T H Shunk
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 17
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The use of the summary jury trial in the Federal courts of Ohio's Northern District is described and assessed.
Abstract: The summary jury trial is a half-day proceeding in which attorneys for opposing parties are each given 1 hour to summarize their cases before a six-member jury. Introduction of evidence is limited, and witnesses are excluded from the proceeding. After the evidence has been presented and the judge has provided a short explanation of the law, the jury retires and either presents a consensus verdict or, if no consensus can be reached, reveals anonymous individual juror views. The jury's verdict is purely advisory, unless the parties agree to be bound by the verdict. The main purpose of the procedure is to provide parties with an insight into the way a trial jury would view the case without the expenditure of time and money required for full trial. Such insight could provide an incentive for the parties to reach a settlement without going to full trial. The summary jury trial has been used thus far in Ohio's Northern District only in instances where it is clear to the court that no possibility of pretrial settlement by the usual means is present. For the first 7 months the procedure was used, 32 cases were set for summary jury trial, with 8 more docketed for the near future. Of these 32, 8 were settled before the proceeding, apparently based on the sharpened perception of counsel generated by the requirement of preparation for summary jury trial. Eighteen of the cases were settled after the summary jury verdict, and settlement negotiations are still pending in two of the more recent cases. The procedure has had an auspicious beginning and should be given the strenuous further testing needed to prove its effectiveness. Forms used in the summary trial are appended, and 40 footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Civil proceedings; Court case flow management; Ohio; Pretrial procedures; Summary jury trial
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