Jury Reform: An Analysis of Juror Perceptions of the Criminal Court System

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Little empirical evidence exists to suggest that jurors may develop negative perceptions of the court system which may affect an objective finding of guilt or innocence. This present study examined a number of attributes of jurors, including juror demographic characteristics, time expended in jury selection and deliberation, and juror perceptions of the defense attorney and the prosecuting attorney. A questionnaire was mailed to 462 randomly selected individuals who had served as criminal court jurors during 1983 and 1984. The questionnaire elicited demographic information (e.g., age, sex, race, etc.); general details about the court case the juror had served; and attitudinal responses about the court system; the defense attorney, and the prosecuting attorney. These attributes were then examined with respect to the extent they affected jury decision outcomes.