Let's Give Them Something to Talk About: An Empirical Evaluation of Predeliberation Discussions

30 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2011

See all articles by Jessica Bregant

Jessica Bregant

University of Houston Law Center

Date Written: July 29, 2009

Abstract

In the overwhelming majority of American courts, jurors are strictly forbidden from discussing the case before them until the time designated for deliberations, after the parties have presented all of the evidence. Since 1995, however, a few states have authorized jurors to discuss the case during recesses from trial. This innovation has sparked debate over the merits of permitting such predeliberation discussions. After explaining the traditional view of jury deliberations, and introducing the few studies on predeliberation discussions that have been conducted, the author evaluates the arguments on both sides of the debate, not only on their own merits, but also in light of social and cognitive psychology. Ultimately, the author recommends a change in the existing majority rules, so that courts can reap the vast benefits of predeliberation discussions.

Keywords: juries, psychology, decision making, deliberations, decisionmaking, civil procedure, rules

JEL Classification: K10, K41

Suggested Citation

Bregant, Jessica, Let's Give Them Something to Talk About: An Empirical Evaluation of Predeliberation Discussions (July 29, 2009). University of Illinois Law Review, Vol. 2009, No. 4, p. 1214, 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1809131

Jessica Bregant (Contact Author)

University of Houston Law Center ( email )

4604 Calhoun Road
Houston, TX 77204
United States

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