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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 90361 Find in a Library
Title: Jury Toughness - Impact of Conservatism on Criminal Court Verdicts
Journal: Crime and Delinquency  Volume:29  Issue:1  Dated:(January 1983)  Pages:71-87
Author(s): J P Levine
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 17
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: An analysis of criminal court verdicts after trials with and without juries shows that, contrary to popular belief, juries are acting tougher than judges in deliberating the fate of defendants.
Abstract: Study of 58,336 trials of persons charged with felonies in six states and the District of Columbia shows that juries convict substantially more often than judges trying cases alone. The slightly contrary results in two other jurisdictions are explained by special circumstances. The phenomenon of jury toughness is seen to be the result of changes in the dominant political ideology, as trend data on federal court verdicts show an increasing rate of jury convictions since the 1950s as a response to the growth of popular conservatism on criminal justice issues. Jurors, as representing the body politic, have used their discretion over fact finding as their means of expressing indignation about crime and dealing harshly with criminals. (Author abstract)
Index Term(s): Convictions; Jury decisionmaking
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