Author Archives: jgastil

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.

Listen to jurors excuse themselves during voir dire in the Martin Shkreli case

The voir dire stage of the trial can help the court find a jury willing to hear a case without prejudice. Much discussion of this phase focuses on how and attorneys remove jurors to craft what each side thinks is … Continue reading

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Jurors Protest Against Judge by Refusing to Serve in His Courtroom

If one ever doubted that jurors speak with a voice that is not only legal but political, consider those jurors who refused to be seated in the courtroom of Judge Aaron Persky in Santa Clara County, California. Judge Pensky gave … Continue reading

Posted in Public/media views of juries, Social/political impact of juries, Summoning juries, Voir dire and jury selection | 2 Comments

Florida Supreme Court affirms the power of the jury

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court helped secure the power of the jury in the U.S. by requiring Florida courts to give juries, and juries alone, the power to judge the key facts in death penalty cases. Previously, juries’ findings … Continue reading

Posted in Jury structure and reform, Public/media views of juries, Social/political impact of juries, Verdicts juries reach | Leave a comment

Donald Trump at Jury Duty

There’s no real point to this post, other than including this wonderful photo of a Presidential candidate reporting for jury duty, thanks to a Tweet of him in Manhattan’s courthouse: There’s more than one article about the event, such as … Continue reading

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Jury Duty as a Patriotic Act

On the eve of America’s Independence Day (July 4), legal scholar Andrew Ferguson has a new op-ed about jury duty, which plays up its potential role as “the most American thing you can do.” At, Ferguson explains that “serving … Continue reading

Posted in Deliberation on juries, Juries around the world, Public/media views of juries | Leave a comment

First jury trial in Argentina wastes no time in setting precedent with “not guilty” verdict

New jury systems are emerging in different parts of the world, and while some have been reluctant to hand out “not guilty” verdicts (I’m looking at you, Japan), the new jury process in Buenos Aires reached such a decision at … Continue reading

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Why the Supreme Court reaffirmed the sanctity of jury deliberations

Open meeting norms and “sunshine” laws help ensure that the public can know what’s happening when government officials meet. But what about when lay citizens are the government? When a jury deliberates together, it does so in private. Why the … Continue reading

Posted in Conducting trials, Deliberation on juries | 2 Comments