Jury Voting Paradoxes

25 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2014

See all articles by Jason Iuliano

Jason Iuliano

University of Pennsylvania Law School

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

Suggested Citation

Iuliano, Jason, Jury Voting Paradoxes (October 6, 2014). Michigan Law Review, Vol. 113, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2505815

Jason Iuliano (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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