Jury Voting Paradoxes
25 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2014
Date Written: October 6, 2014
The special verdict is plagued by two philosophical paradoxes: the discursive dilemma and the lottery paradox. Although widely discussed in the philosophical literature, these paradoxes have never been applied to jury decision making. In this Essay, I use the paradoxes to show that the special verdict’s vote-reporting procedures can lead judges to render verdicts that the jurors themselves would reject. This outcome constitutes a systemic breakdown that should not be tolerated in a legal system that prides itself on the fairness of its jury decision making process. Ultimately, I argue that, because the general verdict with answers to written questions does not suffer from these paradoxes, it should be adopted in place of the special verdict.
Keywords: jury verdicts, vote aggregation, special verdict
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