Jury leniency in drinking and driving cases. Has it changed? 1958 versus 1993.

Bromley, R. S. (1996). Jury leniency in drinking and driving cases. Has it changed? 1958 versus 1993. Law and Psychology Review, 20, 27-55.

Data were collected by means of post-trial questionnaires for jurors and pre-trial and post-trial questionnaires for judges. The data were compared to the findings in a 1996 issue of The American Jury regarding similar trials held in 1954, 1955, and 1958. Results revealed that overall jury leniency dropped substantially between 1958 and 1993, because judges convicted less. However, the rates of juror convictions and acquittals remained constant. In addition, rates of agreement between judges and juries have declined, but jurors continue to be more lenient than judges. Moreover, the data did not support the common opinions that people who drink more are more lenient and that people who think penalties are not severe enough are less lenient. Instead, judges and jurors assess the evidence differently, particularly with respect to the defendant’s driving, sobriety, roadside test performance and credibility, in cases where their verdicts disagree. Judge-jury verdict agreement similar in 1958 and 1993 data, but judges became more lenient. Defense argument related to jury leniency.

https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=167910