New data on juror utilization and satisfaction

A recent article in Third Branch has happy news about the jury system in the U.S.

Last year, 59,405 American citizens served on federal petit juries, with a national average of 39 percent of jurors not selected, serving, or challenged on the first day of service. This is down from 40 percent in 2009, and represents a savings of more than $224,000 in juror costs.

The bottom line is that courts are getting more efficient in their use of jurors. If you’re called for jury duty, in other words, the chances have just gone up that you’ll be used on a jury if you show up at court. That’s good news because it reduces the cost of summoning juries, and high costs could slowly erode courts’ ability and eagerness to assemble juries.

The article also included some new survey data on the jury experience. Here are some highlights:

  • More than two-thirds (67%) in a national survey reported that they had been summoned for jury duty.
  • Twenty percent said they had, at one time or another, served on a jury.
  • When asked to rate the experience, a majority (51%) said it was “good,” with equal numbers rating it as “excellent” or “fair” (21% each), and the remaining 7% saying it was a “poor” experience. (Those numbers match the results we report in our intensive study on this subject, The Jury & Democracy.)
  • When asked if jury duty was an important “responsibility” or “just a hassle,” only 7% gave the latter answer, with 85% viewing as one of the responsibilities of citizenship.

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 Deliberation on juries, Summoning juries, Voir dire and jury selection. Bookmark the permalink.

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