Jury Diversity in the Age of Mass Incarceration: An Exploratory Mock Jury Experiment Examining Felon-Jurors' Potential Impacts on Deliberations

Psychology, Crime & Law, Forthcoming

35 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2018 Last revised: 16 Jan 2019

See all articles by James M. Binnall

James M. Binnall

California State University, Long Beach

Date Written: September 20, 2018

Abstract

Today, nineteen million American citizens bear the mark of a felony conviction, far more than in any prior era. With that mark comes a host of record-based restrictions that curtail access to various political, social, and civic institutions. One such restriction impacts convicted felons’ eligibility for jury service. Forty-nine states, the federal government, and the District of Columbia statutorily limit convicted felons’ opportunities to serve as jurors. Justifying these restrictions, lawmakers and courts suggest that convicted felons, if allowed to serve, would diminish the quality of the deliberation process. This exploratory mock jury experiment is the first to assess jury deliberations that include felon-jurors, comparing 1) homogeneous juries comprised entirely of non-felon-jurors to diverse juries comprised of both non-felon and felon-jurors and 2) non-felon-jurors to felon-jurors. Results suggest that on theoretically derived measures of deliberation structure, deliberation content, and juror perceptions, diverse juries performed as well as homogeneous juries. Data also tend to demonstrate few statistically significant differences between felon-jurors and non-felon-jurors. Notably, on measures of novel case facts covered and time spoken as a proportion of deliberation duration, felon-jurors outperformed their non-felon counterparts, perhaps calling into question the purported threat they pose and the necessity of blanket felon-juror exclusion policies.

Keywords: Juror, Jury, Felon, Exclusion, Diversity, Jury Deliberation

Suggested Citation

Binnall, James, Jury Diversity in the Age of Mass Incarceration: An Exploratory Mock Jury Experiment Examining Felon-Jurors' Potential Impacts on Deliberations (September 20, 2018). Psychology, Crime & Law, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3252791

James Binnall (Contact Author)

California State University, Long Beach ( email )

1250 Bellflower Boulevard
Long Beach, CA 90840
United States

HOME PAGE: http://web.csulb.edu/colleges/chhs/departments/criminal-justice/profiles/James_Binnall_Bio.htm

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
27
Abstract Views
219
PlumX Metrics