Deliberative Democracy and the American Civil Jury

21 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2014

See all articles by Valerie P. Hans

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: December 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 data set with information about jury decision rule, jury size, defendant identity, and case type and examines whether specific types of civil jury service influence postservice voting. Taking into account preservice voting records, jurors who serve on a civil jury that is required to reach unanimity or a civil jury of 12 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 nonautomotive torts cases compared to automotive torts. Limitations and implications of these findings for deliberative democracy theory and jury practice are discussed.

Suggested Citation

Hans, Valerie P. and Gastil, John and Feller, Traci, Deliberative Democracy and the American Civil Jury (December 2014). Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Vol. 11, Issue 4, pp. 697-717, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2516109 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jels.12053

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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