Juror experience and jury verdicts.

Dillehay, R. C., & Nietzel, M. T. (1985). Juror experience and jury verdicts. Law and Human Behavior, 9, 179-191.

Most trial attorneys believe that repeated jury service produces several effects in jurors, one of the most important of which is an increased disposition toward conviction of criminal defendants. However, case law reveals a reluctance to accept the proposition that prior service per se would disqualify a juror from sitting on an instant case because of actual or implied bias. The need for direct empirical investigation of the effects of prior jury service prompted the present study, which examined a complete docket of 175 consecutive criminal trials across one calendar year in a state circuit court which required a 30-day term of its venire. The results indicated that as the number of jurors with prior jury experience increased there was a modest, but significant, increase in the probability of a conviction. Analysis of the relationship between initial verdicts and subsequent service disconfirmed the alternative hypothesis that attorneys deselected jurors on the basis of their first verdicts. Several parameters of experience were also related to foreperson selection. Implications for legal practice and for additional research are discussed. Conviction positively related to number of experienced jurors and total juror experience in jury. Forepersons tended to be male and have previous experience as juror or foreperson. Characteristics of prior experience as foreperson not related to verdicts.

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