Deliberative Democracy and the American Civil Jury
33 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2014
Date Written: March 7, 2014
Civil jury service should be a potent form of deliberative democracy, creating greater civic engagement. However, a 2010 seven-state study of jury service and voting records found no overall boost in civic engagement following service on civil juries, whereas jurors who served on criminal cases did show increased civic engagement following their jury service. This paper reports a project that augments the civil jury dataset with information about jury decision rule, jury size, defendant identity, and case type and examines whether specific types of civil jury service influence post-service voting. Taking into account pre-service voting, jurors who serve on a civil jury that is required to reach unanimity or a civil jury of size twelve are significantly more likely to vote after their service. Jurors who decide cases with organizational as opposed to individual defendants likewise show a boost in voting, as do jurors deciding contract or non-automotive torts cases compared to automobile torts. Limitations and implications for deliberative democracy theory and jury practice are discussed..
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