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The Jury Wants to Take the Podium -- But Even With the Authority to Do So, Can It? An Interdisciplinary Examination of Jurors' Questioning of Witnesses at Trial

66 Pages Posted: 6 May 2015  

Mitch Frank

Barry University - Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

This article analyzes the current state of jury questioning, including the extent to which it is required or discretionary; how it has -- or has not -- been used, and of significant importance, why or why not; the degree of correlation between concerns, advantages and disadvantages as predicted on the one hand, and as actually found in statistical research on the other; the body of appellate case law relevant to the particulars of jury questioning and the issues they have raised; and, a new survey on how it is both used and working in criminal and civil cases. Following this introduction, Part I discusses the extent to which jury questioning is now authorized. Part II focuses on major surveys and pilot projects which evidence jury questioning's benefits and problems. Part III presents a 2013 survey, performed by the author, of judges, prosecutors and public defenders of the Ninth Judicial Circuit in Florida with the goal of discovering how those with the best vantage point believe jury questioning is (or is not) working, and why. Part IV discusses the case law of jury questioning, focusing on problems stemming from its use at trial in varying jurisdictions. After the article’s conclusion, Appendix I provides a compendium of how the separate states, as well as the United States Supreme Court and the Circuit Courts, treat jury questioning. Appendices II, III, and IV detail the results of the Ninth Judicial Circuit survey.

Keywords: jury, juror, advantages, disadvantages, Ninth Judicial Circuit, Florida, jurisdictions, discretionary, mandatory practice, judge, discretion, trial procedure, 1825, South Africa, assessors, revolutionary, witness, proactive, questioning

Suggested Citation

Frank, Mitch, The Jury Wants to Take the Podium -- But Even With the Authority to Do So, Can It? An Interdisciplinary Examination of Jurors' Questioning of Witnesses at Trial (2014). American Journal of Trial Advocacy, Vol. 38, No. 1, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2602910

Mitch Frank (Contact Author)

Barry University - Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law ( email )

6441 East Colonial Drive
Orlando, FL 32807
United States

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