THE REALITY OF THE JURY IN THE UNITED STATES
G. Thomas Munsterman
Center for Jury Studies. Virginia
It is estimated that each year 70,000 100,000 criminal trials and civil jury trials in state and federal courts of the United States are performed. This requires that convened approximately 15 million people each year to act as jurors. In most countries, including England, from which the concept of trial by jury picks, and not the jury for civil cases is used. The proportion of criminal jury trials in England is about one third of the United States. In the United States, attempts to reduce the use of juries in civil cases have provoked resistance, although local efforts have Political Psychology 86, No. 20, achieved in May 2000 in some cities civil jury trials are reduced. Much of civil or criminal cases are resolved without a jury trial. Only about 3% of all they get to jury (NCSC, 1997). The Jury trials, involving a small number of total registered cases occur in those who can not otherwise be resolved or are of such importance, as may result in a death penalty sentence, which necessitates a decision community.
In a survey of Americans conducted in 1999, respondents were completely safe from American justice system (M / A / R / C Research, 1999). Eighty percent of respondents agreed with the statement that "despite its problems, the American justice system is still the best in the world." The report goes on to indicate that the roots of this support seems to be in the jury system.
Thus, more than three quarters, 78% say it is the fairest way to determine guilt or innocence and more than two thirds, 69%, believe that juries are the most important part of the justice system. The report notes that, contrary to previous research, knowledge and experience in the justice system seems to influence public confidence. A positive experience of the jury increases a person's confidence in the jury system. Of those who have been judges, 40% said their experience was very good or excellent. Only 7% said not to be very satisfied with your experience as a juror. Due to the efforts of the courts to distribute participation among the largest possible part of the population, the experience of the jury is an important public confidence in the judicial system factor. According to the previously cited study and a 1999 survey, approximately 24% of all respondents had ever been sworn (NCSC, 1999). In fact, the latest study shows that participation in the jury system has increased over the last 16 years from 16% to 24%. The share is much higher in jurisdictions that use a system of trial by jury day. Jurors who act first are less than tercio1 / 3 of all registered. What have the courts to broaden participation in the jury? In the last decades of the last century is when major improvements are made in the jury system in the United States. In fact remained virtually unchanged until about 1960 Although trials were increasingly complex and lasted longer, the rest of the jury system was relatively intact. With the civil rights movement important changes.
The main objective Reality Jury in the United Kingdom has been to improve the representation of all racial and ethnic groups in the jury and the initial panels from which juries are selected. We used various forms.
First, the list of names used for jury selection has been changed since to allow courts to elect persons hand, require random selection down to the use of ready-base.
Second, it began using the lists of registered voters and later lists driver's licenses, or added new lists. More than half of the states used combined lists of voters and drivers. States are now incorporating lists tax rate, social security and unemployment reach to include all sectors of the community. What we want to achieve is not only a cross-selection of citizens, but also to have a list or lists that include the largest possible number of people. Thus the educational value of the Jury, previously mentioned, and the same obligation of jury duty is distributed among a larger population. Although he promoted many of the changes in the jury system was the desire to be more democratic, however, we must recognize that the availability of technology made it possible. Large lists of potential jurors required computers handled these files. When many lists are basically used computers to identify and cancel duplicate names that appear in more than one list is required. This ensures that people have the same probability of being selected as a juror. Similarly computerization allows the registration of persons seeking to be postponed his service as jurors.
To soften the duty of every person, many courts in the United States use a service called judgment day. This is now applied in approximately 40% of the population. In this system, a person is asked to report to the court to act as jury for only a day, unless it is selected and has committed as a juror in a particular trial. If selected juror serves until the verdict of the jury or the trial ends otherwise delivered. At this time, he has fulfilled his jury duty again until it is selected randomly, probably many years later. Because the jury selection process, you need to call about three times as many people as are necessary for the jury; this means that two thirds of people who report for jury concluded its obligation in a day and a third does during the duration of a trial in the United States usually average two or three days.
To facilitate all people act as jurors, court rescheduled the date of the report of the people for the most convenient for jurors and your company time. In fact, most companies continue to pay the salaries of people working in the Jury.
In some states it is required by law. The amount received by the jurors who serve in the courts of the United States varies from 5 to 50 $ per day. Most courts pay a small amount, less than the minimum wage set federally, which potentially covers the cost of food, accommodation and transport. In some states, the costs for the care of children with some courts that have resources for child care in the courthouse are also paid.
But what happens when you call for a person? Receive a citation that sets them a date for jury report. Usually a questionnaire to be completed and submitted to the court is attached. You are asked about their ability to be sworn; if they are American citizens, if they are resident in the neighborhood of the court, ability to understand English, who meet the minimum age, usually 18 years, and if you have been convicted of a crime, if you already have restored their civil rights . Also can be asked in the questionnaire if there is any reason that they can not serve as jurors because of physical or economic difficulties. You may be asked if another date is best for you. Early in the history of the United States, juries were usually formed by good men hand-picked. These honorees have time available to act as jurors. They were making efforts to expand participation to all persons with legal exemptions for certain professions that eased the difficulties of the community. For example, if the medical community have to travel far to go to the courthouse and stay there a long period of time, the community would be left without the necessary medical attention. However, at present the list of exemptions has become a political issue. Legislators pass laws exemption for a particular profession as a response to the political support received.
Long lists of exemptions suggest that jury service was not for everyone and it was not a serious duty. Now a majority of states have eliminated all exemptions from jury service and all citizens can be called. In the state of New York after the suppression of such lists both the judge of the superior courts of appeal and the Governor was required to act as jurors. Reality Advertising Jury in the United States ... 89 this generated, helped convince the reluctant citizens that jury duty is a responsibility of all people.
From all citations approximately 25% to 40% of those inform as prompted. For the sake of description, I will use an example of a typical urban court in which 25% answered the summons. In a court of its kind, is typically 25% of citations are returned unresolved by the postal service. Despite efforts to use updated lists, voter lists and drivers are updated according to a person who votes or every 4 years, or a person who renews his license within the required 5 years. In areas of high mobility, lists quickly become dated.
Another 35% is disabled rather well for the reasons given above, or are exonerated. The last 15% did not answer. In some cases, acts intentionally thinking that nothing will happen, other people simply forget, some are due to delivery difficulties such as when a family member is away, perhaps a student in college and the mail is not forwarded as the court requires. The courts monitors nonrespondents, about half are easily recovered with a simple reminder.
In a study of people who did not respond to the jury summons interesting questions (Boatright, 1998) were discovered. Those who did not respond were more reluctant to court. Not differ from those who had responded if his feelings for jury duty, the need for citizens to serve on a jury, and juries reflect the population. However, they were less knowledgeable about how to get an excuse or deferral of duty to a more convenient date. The main factors that distinguish each other, was the belief that nothing would happen if you simply ignore the summons and was likely
that their companies did not pay them.
The method of selection of the jury panel of potential jurors is almost as varied as the thousands of judges who direct the jury trials. The selection or "voir dire" begins with the oath that make potential jurors to tell the truth in the questions put to him. These questions can make the lawyers and the judge or the judge only. If the judge directs the selection, the parties through their attorneys may suggest to the judge any questions. The questions can be formulated in a survey or orally can ask all the jurors. The questions are usually privately answer sensitive the court or away from the other jurors.
This issue of the privacy of the jury is a matter of concern in the United States enough. Some courts are restricting Political Psychology 90, personal information available to the parties. Normally this information refers to data about the address of the person, or your workplace. In some trials where the possibility of harm to the jurors, the courts will not reveal the names of the jurors. Although these cases are usually very rare, highly value this judges protecting your privacy. This desire for privacy is balanced with the need for a public and open trial.
In jury selection, potential jurors may ask to be excused for personal reasons or the parties may request to be excluded for cause. A challenge for cause is based on the belief of the parties that the member of the prospective juror can not be fair and impartial because of experience or due to a stated belief.
The judge after hearing the reason for the challenge, can ask other questions
the juror and determine whether the jury excludes the person. In most cases, tend to be few challenges for cause and most attorneys do not spend much time on this.
Each party also has a limited number of peremptory challenges for which can excuse a juror (see table). These do not require any reason for use. However, in 1986 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that a peremptory challenge may not be used by the state to exclude an individual, if the reason is based on race (Batson v. Kentucky, 1986). Subsequent court decisions have extended this and sex is also included, and restrictions apply to all parties and civil and criminal cases.
Table. Innovations. Number of challenges in state court permitted peremptory Rejections Ma Lo Fashion Felony (not capital) 2036..; Misdemeanor 1023; 823 civil
Note: The mode is the most widely used value. Many believe that the Batson decision meant the end of the peremptory challenge and many lawyers, judges and study groups have advocated the reduction or elimination of the challenges (CEC, 1998). However, this change will be slow, because there is strong resistance to this change.
Two publications widely read by judges and court staff are completely dedicated to the issues of reform and improvement of the Jury (Judges Journal, Judicature 1997 and 1996). The reforms in the courts of the United States in the last 30 years have been classified into three groups (ABA, 1997). The first group consists of administrative reforms. These include the aforementioned efforts to get a ready source or more representative of the population, to reduce the duration of jury service and eliminate exemptions depending on the profession. The second type are structural reforms. An example is the legislative requirement that companies pay their employees for the time exercising as jurors. In 1979 Massachusetts restructured its jury system. He adopted the system of trial by day. Exemptions were abolished, companies that pay their employees while acting as jurors were required, allowed the jury the right to a continuance and change fees at all in the first three days at $ 50.00 per day thereafter. Also, people without jobs while performing jury are paid, which may include child care, meals and transportation. This change was significant for two reasons. First, it is intended to make it feasible for all persons engaged as jurors. Second, suppresses the fees paid to jurors, and gives a fixed amount to each person quotas distributed among people with major difficulties, the unemployed and those who must act in lengthy trials. This structure has been adopted by Connectica Colorado and in other states have adopted some specific aspects.
To reduce costs, many states have reduced the size of juries used in misdemeanor and civil cases; some are rethinking soften the requirement for unanimity jury verdicts. The size of the jury varies from 6 to 12 members and 34 states do not require unanimous verdicts in civil cases. However, most states allow non-unanimous verdicts in criminal cases. These changes were based on the defense of the Supreme Court of the United States that jurors need not be 12 people and must be unanimous (Williams v Florida, 1970;. Colgrove v Battin., 1973).
The last set of reforms is of a procedural nature. These are mostly court reforms that change the procedures used. The state of Arizona has pioneered this type of change. The reforms made are based largely or report prepared by Judge B. Michael Dann (1993).
In that report, Judge Dann proposed that an educational model jury process were applied instead of the traditional judicial model. This means making a more active and less passive jury. He suggested, for example, the jury must be instructed when the judgment as widely as possible, that jurors be allowed to take notes, the parties allow jurors to ask questions of a witness with the review of the judge, and enable them to discuss the evidence prior to deliberation. These and other suggestions have aroused great interest in the United States. Arizona (1995), California (1996) and New York (1998) have produced reports on the integrity of the jury system serving in those states. Recommendations for improvements ranging from changes in initial lists are made, establish the fee and penalties for not meeting until the reforms within the tribunal already mentioned before. Since then, 28 other states have done some similar type of reform. According to this activity is obvious that the momentum of the late twentieth century will continue in the 21st century is expected further reforms to strengthen this institution that is as important for the citizens of the United States.
Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986) Boatright, R.G. (1998): Improving Citizen Response to Jury Summonses. A.J.S. Colgrove v. Battin, 413 US 149, 1973 Council for Court Excellence (1998): Juries for the Year 2000 and Beyond. Washington. Dann, BM (1993): Learning Lessons' and 'Speaking Rights': Creating Educated and Democratic Juries, 68 Ind LJ1229.. Judges Journal (1997): Reshaping the Bedrock of Democracy. A.B.A. Vol. No.4 36. Judicature (1996), March-April, Vol. No. 5 79 American Judicature Society. M / A / R / C Research (1999): Perceptions of the US Justice System. Feb. A.B.A. National Center for State Courts (1998): Examining the Work of the State Courts, NCSC 1997. National Center for State Courts (1999): How the Public Views the State Courts, A 1999 Survey. Williams v NCSC. Florida, U.S. 78 399, 1970
G. Thomas Munsterman Director of Center for Jury Studies, National Center for State Courts in Williamsburg, over twenty years ago. Expert in the management and administration systems jurors, and counsel in many states and federal courts. Currently he is developing, among other projects, a major research on the reform of the jury in Arizona. National Center for State Courts, Williamsburg, Virginia, USA.