Do juries get it wrong?

Asked by: Patience Larkin  |  Last update: September 14, 2022
Score: 4.7/5 (57 votes)

A new Northwestern University study shows that juries in criminal cases are reaching incorrect verdicts. The study, which looked at 271 cases in four areas of Illinois, found that as many as one in eight juries is making the wrong decision – by convicting an innocent person or acquitting a guilty one.

How accurate is a jury?

From the observed agreement rates, the probability of a correct verdict by the jury is estimated at 87% for the NCSC cases and 89% for the Kalven-Zeisel cases. Those accuracy rates correspond to error rates of 1 in 8 and 1 in 9, respectively.

What happens if a jury is obviously wrong?

Nullification is not an official part of criminal procedure, but is the logical consequence of two rules governing the systems in which it exists: Jurors cannot be punished for reaching a "wrong" decision (such as acquitting a defendant despite their guilt being proven beyond a reasonable doubt).

Are juries more accurate than judges?

Jurors tend to be less concerned with technical details and more so with listening to a compelling story and making a decision based on who they believe should win under the circumstances. Meanwhile, judges analyze all the facts, evidence, and details of the case.

Can juries be trusted?

To the contrary, there is much evidence for trusting juries to be fair and even restrained. Most of the verdict is predictable based on the extent of the injury, medical costs and lost income, indicating rational decision making.

“Beyond a Reasonable Doubt”: How Juries Get It Wrong | Richard Dawkins | Big Think

31 related questions found

Do juries achieve justice?

The jury system achieves justice for individuals and society as it ensures that individuals are protected from the abuses of state power.

Are trials fair?

Note: Among the factors used to determine whether a defendant received a fair trial are these: the effectiveness of the assistance of counsel, the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses, the opportunity to rebut the opposition's evidence and cross-examine the opposition's witnesses, the presence of an impartial ...

What percent of juries are wrong?

The verdicts only matched in 77 percent of cases. The study assumed that judges are at least as likely as a jury to make a correct verdict, leading to the conclusion that juries are only correct 87 percent of the time or less.

Does the judge or jury decide guilt?

The judge or jury decides if you are guilty after hearing all the evidence and the submissions. In most cases, it will take some time to decide the outcome of the case. When you hear the verdict, if you are not guilty (acquitted), you can leave.

What are the disadvantages of having a jury?

A jury trial may not always ensure the best outcome for every case. There are a number of disadvantages to having a trial by jury. As the people on a jury do not generally have a legal background, it is possible that they may not entirely understand complex legal documents or argument, or in-depth forensic evidence.

How do jurors reach a verdict of guilty or not guilty?

The jurors meet in a room outside the courtroom to decide whether the prosecutor has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty. All the jurors must agree on the decision or verdict – their decision must be unanimous.

Can a judge overturn a jury verdict in the US?

If the judge feels that the jury's decision is not backed by adequate evidence, they can overturn the Jury verdict. This is where JNOV (Judgment notwithstanding the Verdict) comes into the picture. In U.S. federal civil court cases, this reversal is referred to as 'renewed judgment as a matter of law'.

Do you get paid for jury duty?

Yes. By law, employers must pay employees who are undertaking jury service. You are considered to be employed or apprenticed during any time when you are absent from your job in order to comply with a jury summons. Note: Your employer is only obliged to pay you for the time you attended at court for jury service.

What percentage of defendants are found guilty?

About 90 percent of the federal defendants and 75 percent of the defendants in the most populous counties were found guilty -- regardless of whether their attorneys were private or public defenders.

What's the point of a jury?

The jury listens to the evidence during a trial, decides what facts the evidence has established, and draws inferences from those facts to form the basis for their decision. The jury decides whether a defendant is "guilty" or "not guilty" in criminal cases, and "liable" or "not liable" in civil cases.

Why are judge only trials better?

Benefits of a judge-alone trial? A trial by judge alone can be beneficial in certain circumstances. When a judge delivers their verdict, they must give reasons for their decision. Being informed of the reasons why a judge decided on a guilty verdict makes the process more transparent.

Who makes the final decision in court?

Trials in criminal and civil cases are generally conducted the same way. After all the evidence has been presented and the judge has explained the law related to the case to a jury, the jurors decide the facts in the case and render a verdict. If there is no jury, the judge makes a decision on the case.

How often do judges get it wrong?

Disagreeing 25 to 50 percent of the time. Sixty-two judges said they disagree 25 to 50 percent of the time. Most said that sometimes a jury's lack of knowledge of legal terms or their being unaware of certain evidence that was withheld results in the jury ruling differently than the more fully informed judge would.

Do jury pressures lead to unfair verdicts?

Stress in general can impede quality decision-making and encourage jurors to give in to the social pressure of the majority.

Is it innocent until proven guilty?

Innocent until proven guilty means that any person accused of a crime or any defendant in a criminal trial is assumed to be innocent until they have been proven guilty. It shifts the burden to the government to prove the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Can a jury be impartial?

An impartial jury is a jury that will consider a case fairly, without favoring or discriminating against anyone. The jury must be willing to look at the evidence open-mindedly. An impartial jury does not immediately assume guilt or innocence. They want to see the evidence and hear the arguments first.

What is unfair trial?

that unless the trial is vitiated by an illegality or irregularity of procedure or the trial is held ... principles of natural justice resulting in an unfair trial, or unless the trial has resulted in gross miscarriage of justice.

Are juries still effective?

The use of juries in civil cases is limited, and in New South Wales usually only occurs in defamation cases. In civil cases the jury decides whether the defendant is liable on the balance of probabilities.

What is the best excuse for jury duty?

Common Effective Jury Duty Excuses
  1. Extreme Financial Hardship. ...
  2. Full-Time Student Status. ...
  3. Surgery/Medical Reasons. ...
  4. Being Elderly. ...
  5. Being Too Opinionated. ...
  6. Mental/Emotional Instability. ...
  7. Relation to the Case/Conflict of Interest. ...
  8. Line of Work.

How long is jury duty if not picked?

Generally, if you are not selected for a trial, your jury service will be completed in one day. The day that you report for jury service, you may be assigned to more than one courtroom to go through the selection process. Upon completion of your jury duty, you will be exempt from jury service for one year.