Juror note-taking and question asking during trials: A national field experiment.

Heuer, L., & Penrod, S. (1994). Juror note-taking and question asking during trials: A national field experiment. Law and Human Behavior, 18, 121-150.

Juror notetaking and question asking is examined in 160 trials. Results do not support the hypotheses that juror notes aid memory or increase satisfaction with the trial or verdict. Jurors do not overemphasize noted evidence; their notes do not produce a distorted view of the case. Notetakers can keep pace with the trial, and they do not distract other jurors nor have an undue influence over non-notetakers. Juror notetaking does not favor either party and it consumes little time. Results support the hypothesis that jury questioning promotes juror understanding of facts and issues. Questions do not clearly help get to the truth, alert trial counsel to significant issues, or increase trial or verdict satisfaction. Potential disadvantages of questions are not supported: Jurors do not ask inappropriate questions, are not embarrassed or angered by objections, do not become advocates rather than neutrals, and do not overemphasize their own questions and answers. Counsel are not reluctant to object to juror questions. The jury does not draw inappropriate inferences from unanswered questions, and questions do not have detectable prejudicial effects.

No impact of juror question-asking or note-taking on jury verdicts or judge-jury verdict agreement. 87% of jurors allowed to take notes did so. Question-asking seen as helpful for clarifying complicated testimony or complex legal issues; juror note-taking had no positive effects.