Deliberative Democracy and the American Civil Jury

Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Forthcoming

38 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2014  

Valerie P. Hans

Cornell University - School of Law

John Gastil

Pennsylvania State University

Traci Feller

University of Washington

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 15, 2014

Abstract

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 article 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 records, 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 behavior, as do jurors deciding contract or non-automotive torts cases compared to automotive torts. Limitations and implications for deliberative democracy theory and jury practice are discussed with these findings.

Keywords: civil jury, deliberative democracy, jury service, political participation

Suggested Citation

Hans, Valerie P. and Gastil, John and Feller, Traci, Deliberative Democracy and the American Civil Jury (July 15, 2014). Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2466411

Valerie P. Hans (Contact Author)

Cornell University - School of Law ( email )

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

John Gastil

Pennsylvania State University ( email )

University Park, PA 16802
United States

Traci Feller

University of Washington ( email )

1410 NE Campus Parkway
Seattle, WA 98195
United States

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