The Propriety of Peremptory Challenges for Perceived Personality Traits
34 Pages Posted: 3 May 2013
Date Written: May 2, 2013
There is substantial controversy over the extent to which social science should be used in jury selection. Underlying the debate are two competing interests in the make-up of a jury: a privilege to strike prospective jurors on subjective grounds, which supports scientific jury selection, and a collective interest of citizens to be free from exclusion from jury service, which does not. While the incommensurability of the interests precludes resolution of the controversy in the abstract, specific solutions are possible. Using the example of selection of jurors based upon their respective levels of extraversion, we describe how the competing interests frequently do not apply to concrete cases. In the subsequent analysis, we show that, rhetoric notwithstanding, a normative preference for adhering to tradition and institutional inertia are the primary instrumental considerations for determining whether peremptory challenges based upon personality traits like extraversion ought to be allowed. Consistent with this analysis, we conclude that the practice of striking jurors based upon estimates of such personality traits is appropriate.
Keywords: law and psychology, jury selection, expert testimony, scientific jury selection, jury service, empirical legal studies, jury decision-making
JEL Classification: K14, K40, K41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation