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The Sixth Amendment guarantees every American the right to trial by jury, but there can be no guarantee that a jury will deliberate wisely or decide well. Just how good are American juries, and what can be done to make them better? These are among the many questions extensively probed in this study of the way juries really work.
Inside the Jury provides a direct assessment of the quality of jury deliberation, the nature of the decision process, the biases of different types of jurors, and the level of agreement reached with different types of juries. On the basis of their observations, Reid Hastie, Steven Penrod, and Nancy Pennington show how well jurors remember crucial trial information, interpret the law and the judge’s instructions, and handle internal problems of dissension as they move toward consensus. The authors also test the possibility that the quality of jury performance changes with modifications in the jury’s size or the decision rule used (unanimous versus majority rule).
The jury system is one of the foundation stones of American democracy. Inside the Jury offers a unique evaluation of how well our system functions. This is a book not only for lawyers and social scientists, but for anyone with a stake in the courts or a fascination with human decisions of the most difficult kind.