A Jury of One: Opinion Formation, Conformity, and Dissent on Juries

40 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2008 Last revised: 27 Nov 2008

See all articles by Nicole L. Waters

Nicole L. Waters

National Center for State Courts

Valerie P. Hans

Cornell University - School of Law

Date Written: November 7, 2008

Abstract

Approximately 6% of criminal juries hang. But, how many dissenters carry the jury, hang the jury, or conform to the majority's wishes? We examine the role of the dissenter, using felony data of nearly 3,500 jurors. Jurors were asked, If it were entirely up to you as a one-person jury, what would your verdict have been in this case? Over one-third of jurors privately would have voted against their jury's decision. These data identify jurors who dissent and distinguish dissenters who hang the jury and dissenters who acquiesce. Jurors' role expectations, evidentiary views, sense of fairness, and deliberation procedures affected the likelihood for dissent.

Keywords: jury, decision making, criminal, deliberations

Suggested Citation

Waters, Nicole L. and Hans, Valerie P., A Jury of One: Opinion Formation, Conformity, and Dissent on Juries (November 7, 2008). Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-030. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1297272 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1297272

Nicole L. Waters (Contact Author)

National Center for State Courts ( email )

300 Newport Ave.
Williamsburg, VA 23185
United States

Valerie P. Hans

Cornell University - School of Law ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States
607-255-0095 (Phone)

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