Do juries need training?

Juries face a daunting and complex task, and the balance of evidence is that they generally handle them quite well. But could they do better? And would they benefit from some kind of training, even a brief 15 minute orientation?

Here at the Jury & Dem Project, we’ve wondered about that, and we know we’re not alone. One recent inquiry into this comes from the UW Public Participation & Engagement Learning Community. As they recently noted on their blog:

The Public Participation Learning Community has engaged in a series of fascinating discussions regarding consensus, dissent, and how to facilitative collaborative process. This included a viewing of the classic film, “12 Angry Men” at our May meeting, which led to the question, “Would there be value in offering brief training to juries around collaborative group process before they began deliberation?”

We look forward to tracking this issue and learning what variations in juror training are out there or are being proposed. Again, the issue here isn’t fixing a broken system, but rather seeing if it can’t be made better.

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About jgastil

John Gastil is Head and Professor in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University, where he specializes in political deliberation and group decision making.
This entry was posted in Conducting trials, Deliberation on juries. Bookmark the permalink.

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