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.

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

Posted in Public/media views of juries, Summoning juries | Leave a comment

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 CNN.com, 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

But who will guard the guardians? On county prosecutors, grand juries, and indicting police officers

With the passage of another week, there’s another case of a grand jury failing to indict a police officer who killed another African-American citizen, Eric Gardner. In the New York case, the coroner ruled the death a homicide and the … Continue reading

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

On juries, grand juries, and Ferguson, Missouri

As outrage builds about the failure to indict the officer who shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the work of the grand jury itself. This blog focuses on criminal and civil … Continue reading

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

What happens if a juror is (later) caught lying during jury selection?

This question has come before the U.S. Supreme Court. Previous rulings have made clear that one can’t (generally) use post-trial claims about what happened during deliberation to overturn verdicts, lest it chill the deliberations themselves. After all, the point of … Continue reading

Posted in Deliberation on juries, Voir dire and jury selection | Leave a comment