Jury Instructions: A Persistent Failure to Communicate

44 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2007  

Walter W. Steele Jr.

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law

Elizabeth G. Thornburg

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law

Abstract

This article reports on an empirical study of juror comprehension of pattern jury instructions. It demonstrated that comprehension of the original instructions was poor, but that rewriting significantly improved their ability to understand and explain the meaning of the instructions. A separate study showed that jurors report that they discuss and consider the language of the instructions provided to them.

Keywords: juries, jury instructions, empirical research, language, plain english

JEL Classification: K41

Suggested Citation

Steele, Walter W. and Thornburg, Elizabeth G., Jury Instructions: A Persistent Failure to Communicate. North Carolina Law Review, Vol. 67, p. 120, 1998-1999. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1006299

Walter W. Steele Jr.

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law

P.O. Box 750116
Dallas, TX 75275
United States

Elizabeth G. Thornburg (Contact Author)

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 0116
Dallas, TX 75275
United States
214-768-2613 (Phone)
214-768-3142 (Fax)

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