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The Results of Deliberation

Maggie Wittlin

Columbia University - Law School

June 22, 2015

When evaluating whether to sue, prosecute, settle, or plead, trial lawyers must predict the future — they need to estimate how likely they are to win a given case in a given jurisdiction. Social scientists have used mock juror studies to produce a vast body of literature showing how different variables influence juror decisionmaking. But few of these studies account for jury deliberation, so they present an impoverished picture of how these effects play out in trials and are of limited usefulness.

This Article helps lawyers better predict the future by presenting a novel computer model that extrapolates findings about jurors to juries, showing how variables of interest affect the decisions not only of individuals but also of deliberative bodies. The computer model simulates jurors from a specified community, imputes initial votes to them conditional on a user-specified model, predicts the likelihood that each jury will come out for either side given those initial votes, and calculates the overall probability of the specified verdict in the community. The Article demonstrates the usefulness of the model to lawyers, social scientists, and policymakers by applying it to data from an empirical study of the factors that influence juror decisions in acquaintance rape cases.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 60

Keywords: jury deliberation, cultural cognition, social influence, Monte Carlo, rape

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Date posted: June 15, 2011 ; Last revised: June 23, 2015

Suggested Citation

Wittlin, Maggie, The Results of Deliberation (June 22, 2015). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1865031 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1865031

Contact Information

Maggie Wittlin (Contact Author)
Columbia University - Law School ( email )
435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States
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