Judge-Jury Agreement in Criminal Cases: A Partial Replication of Kalven and Zeisel's the American Jury

Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 2.1 (2005): 171

38 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2015

See all articles by Theodore Eisenberg

Theodore Eisenberg

Cornell University, Law School (Deceased)

Paula Hannaford Agor

National Center for State Courts; William & Mary Law School

Valerie P. Hans

Cornell University - School of Law

Nicole L. Waters

National Center for State Courts

G. Thomas Munsterman

National Center for State Courts (NCSC)

Stewart J. Schwab

Cornell Law School

Martin T. Wells

Cornell University - Law School

Date Written: March 1, 2005

Abstract

This study uses a new criminal case data set to partially replicate Kalven and Zeisel's classic study of judge-jury agreement. The data show essentially the same rate of judge-jury agreement as did Kalven and Zeisel for cases tried almost 50 years ago. This study also explores judge-jury agreement as a function of evidentiary strength (as reported by both judges and juries), evidentiary complexity (as reported by both judges and juries), legal complexity (as reported by judges), and locale. Regardless of which adjudicator's view of evidentiary strength is used, judges tend to convict more than juries in cases of "middle" evidentiary strength. Judges tend to acquit more than juries in cases in which judges regard the evidence favoring the prosecution as weak. Judges tend to convict more than juries in cases in which judges regard the evidence favoring the prosecution as strong. Rates of adjudicator agreement are thus partly a function of which adjudicator's view of evidentiary strength is used, a result not available to Kalven and Zeisel, who were limited to judges' views of the evidence. We find little evidence that evidentiary complexity or legal complexity help explain rates of judge-jury disagreement. Rather, the data support the view that judges have a lower conviction threshold than juries. Local variation exists among the sites studied. The influences of juror race, sex, and education are also considered.

Keywords: Criminal Cases, judge-jury agreement, juries, judges, adjucator

Suggested Citation

Eisenberg, Theodore and Agor, Paula Hannaford and Hans, Valerie P. and Waters, Nicole L. and Munsterman, G. Thomas and Schwab, Stewart Jon and Wells, Martin T., Judge-Jury Agreement in Criminal Cases: A Partial Replication of Kalven and Zeisel's the American Jury (March 1, 2005). Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 2.1 (2005): 171. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2707317

Theodore Eisenberg

Cornell University, Law School (Deceased) ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States

Paula Hannaford Agor

National Center for State Courts ( email )

300 Newport Ave.
Williamsburg, VA 23185
United States

William & Mary Law School ( email )

Williamsburg, VA
United States

Valerie P. Hans

Cornell University - School of Law ( email )

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

Nicole L. Waters

National Center for State Courts ( email )

300 Newport Ave.
Williamsburg, VA 23185
United States

G. Thomas Munsterman

National Center for State Courts (NCSC) ( email )

300 Newport Ave.
Williamsburg, VA 23185
United States
(800) 616-6160 (Phone)
(757) 564-2108 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ncsconline.org/index.html

Stewart Jon Schwab (Contact Author)

Cornell Law School ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
#108
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607.255.8584 (Phone)
607-255-7193 (Fax)

Martin T. Wells

Cornell University - Law School ( email )

Comstock Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-8801 (Phone)

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