Pettus, A. B. (1990). The verdict is in: A study of jury decision making factors, moment of personal decision, and jury deliberations–from the jurors’ point of view. Communication Quarterly, 38, 83-97.
he purpose of this study was to gain insight into jury decision making factors, jury decision timing, and the jury decision making process by talking to actual trial jurors. Three criminal jury trials were observed, and seventeen of the jurors were interviewed after each trial’s completion. The data indicate that jurors were influenced by the evidence, witnesses, lawyers, and defendant in the trials. In two trials, jurors made their decisions early; one trial produced later decisions. The jurors’ reports also demonstrate that jurors considered evidence and discussed the key issues during deliberation.
Jurors formed impressions early. The 2 categories most frequently cited as influencing juror verdicts pertained to the witnesses and the evidence. Defendant viewed as guilty until proven innocent. Verdict-driven style evident in all 3 deliberations; focus on building a coherent “story.”