Category Archives: Jury structure and reform

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

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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

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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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