Status and competence of jurors.

James, R. (1959). Status and competence of jurors. The American Journal of Sociology, 64, 563-570.

Variations in the performance of real jurors of differing socioeconomic status who were deliberating on a mock trial were assessed. Male jurors participate more actively than female, and participation varies in direct ratio to length of education. Jurors spend 50 per cent of the time exchanging personal experiences, 25 per cent on procedural questions, 15 per cent on reviewing facts of the case, and 8 per cent on the court’s instructions. The more educated give relatively more emphasis to procedure and instructions; the less educated to testimony, personal experiences, and opinions. Jurors appreciate participation in their fellows, apart from education. No significant differences were observed between the more-and the less-educated jurors in their ability either to influence other members of the jury or to be persuaded by them.

Forepersons accounted for 31% of speaking acts and more likely than chance to be clerical or proprietor. Participation rate higher for men and more educated jurors; 50% of deliberation time concerned personal experiences, 25% related to procedural issues, and 15% pertained to reviewing the facts of the case.