How Jury Service Influences Attitudes toward the Court System

Written by Jimin Pyo, a doctoral student in the Department of Criminal Justice at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY.

[Today’s post comes from a guest scholar, who has a new publication. We encourage anyone with research relevant to this blog to write short summaries for our readership.]

Despite the declining frequency of jury trials in the United States, juries continue to play vital roles in American society and culture. The jury trial experience is deeply related to many Americans’ feelings toward their democracy and its cultural traditions. Few studies, however, have examined the influence jury service has on jurors’ perceptions of the legal system. Those influences are important because they can lead to broader social and political changes.

To address this gap in the literature, I conducted a study of 759 jurors to test the hypothesis that deliberating on a criminal jury would lead to more favorable perceptions of the criminal prosecution system. This expectation was in line with deliberative democratic theory, which argues that citizens often develop more favorable attitudes toward democratic institutions when they take part in collective decision making focused on common good.

My statistical analysis showed that citizens who deliberated on a criminal jury tended to have more favorable impression of–and more knowledge about–the prosecution system, as compared to those without jury experience. This study informs ongoing effort to examine the influence of jury service. Further studies on this topic would be useful not only for policy makers in the US but also for other countries, such as Argentina and South Korea, that are developing criminal jury trial systems.

The full article citation is: Pyo, Jimin. 2017. “The impact of jury experience on perception of the criminal prosecution system.” International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice. Early access online at ScienceDirect.



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, Public/media views of juries, Social/political impact of juries. Bookmark the permalink.

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