Category Archives: Jury structure and reform

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

Who’s afraid of older jurors?

Turns out it’s the Brits. Well, they’re not as spooked by them as they used to be. Currently, there is a limit that jurors cannot be over 70 years old, but that limit is rising to 75. As reported in … Continue reading

Posted in Juries around the world, Jury structure and reform, Social/political impact of juries, Summoning juries | Leave a comment

Mixed juries: The case of Italy

We’ve all seen the headlines about the acquittal of former University of Washington student Amanda Knox, who was in her second year of a 26-year sentence for a murder in Perugia, Italy. What may have escaped notice was that the … Continue reading

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The active juror – A plea for permitting juror questions

A new editorial in the Chicago Sun-Times makes a good case for letting jurors ask questions in civil trials. The piece points out that the practice often has no law forbidding it, it’s just not conventional practice. One of the … Continue reading

Posted in Conducting trials, Jury structure and reform | Leave a comment

Who’s to say whether a juror has bias? (part 2)

In the previous post, I ruminated on the fact that each juror gets scrutinized for bias, even after pledging their neutrality. Again, there are reasons for doing so, but the near-presumption of bias goes unquestioned. To see how far this … Continue reading

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Who’s to say whether a juror has bias? (Part 1)

The voir dire process that juries go through in the U.S. helps attorneys detect juror bias against their case. Attorneys often use “peremptory strikes” to remove jurors without having to state a reason (or “cause”), but sometimes the jurors don’t … Continue reading

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More happy news on the jury’s decline

A recent note about a June 2011 jury summit offered this thought: Numerous studies…have demonstrated that there is overwhelming support for the jury trial among Americans. And yet, there is an alarming downward trend occurring in the nation’s civil courts. … Continue reading

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