Judges and Juries: The Defense Case and Differences in Acquittal Rates

23 Pages Posted: 19 May 2008 Last revised: 30 Sep 2008

See all articles by Daniel Givelber

Daniel Givelber

Northeastern University - School of Law

Amy S. Farrell

Northeastern University

Date Written: May 16, 2008

Abstract

Kalven and Zeisel's (1966) classic study, The American Jury, concluded that juries were "in revolt" from the law when they acquitted when judges would have convicted. Using data collected by the National Center for State Courts to examine jury decision making in four different communities, this article reexamines the question of the judge and jury's respective fidelity to the law and evidence by examining the influence on judge and jury of the defendant's evidence, his criminal record, and his reason for refusing to plead. No data can tell us definitively whether the judge is correct and the jury in error when they disagree, but the data analyzed in the present study can tell us whether the factors that move the jury and fail to move the judge are or are not consistent with the innocence of the accused.

Suggested Citation

Givelber, Daniel James and Farrell, Amy S., Judges and Juries: The Defense Case and Differences in Acquittal Rates (May 16, 2008). Law & Social Inquiry, Vol. 33, No. 1, pp. 31-52, Winter 2008, Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 22-2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1133957

Daniel James Givelber (Contact Author)

Northeastern University - School of Law ( email )

416 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States
617-373-4298 (Phone)
617-373-5056 (Fax)

Amy S. Farrell

Northeastern University ( email )

220 B RP
Boston, MA 02115
United States

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