Jury Size and Voting Requirements for Criminal Convictions: Assessing the Tradeoffs

Supreme Court Economic Review 2020 28:, 221-236

Posted: 8 Aug 2019 Last revised: 6 Aug 2021

See all articles by Alice Guerra

Alice Guerra

University of Bologna - Department of Economics

Barbara Luppi

University of St. Thomas School of Law; Università degli studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia (UNIMORE) - Faculty of Business and Economics

Francesco Parisi

University of Minnesota - Law School; University of Bologna

Date Written: July 23, 2019

Abstract

Juries are a fundamental element of the criminal justice system. In this article, we model jury decision making as a function of two institutional variables: jury size and voting requirement. We expose the critical interdependence of these two elements in minimizing the probabilities of wrongful convictions, of wrongful acquittals, and of hung juries. We find that the use of either large nonunanimous juries or small unanimous juries offers alternative ways to maximize the accuracy of verdicts while preserving the functionality of juries. Our framework, which lends support to the elimination of the unanimity requirement in the presence of large juries, helps appraise US Supreme Court decisions and state legal reforms that have transformed the structure of American
juries.

Keywords: jury size, voting requirement, criminal trial

JEL Classification: K0, K4

Suggested Citation

Guerra, Alice and Luppi, Barbara and Parisi, Francesco, Jury Size and Voting Requirements for Criminal Convictions: Assessing the Tradeoffs (July 23, 2019). Supreme Court Economic Review 2020 28:, 221-236 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3432392 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3432392

Alice Guerra (Contact Author)

University of Bologna - Department of Economics ( email )

Bologna
Italy

Barbara Luppi

University of St. Thomas School of Law

2115 Summit Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55105
United States

Università degli studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia (UNIMORE) - Faculty of Business and Economics ( email )

Viale Berengario 51
41100 Modena, Modena 41100
Italy

Francesco Parisi

University of Minnesota - Law School ( email )

229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

University of Bologna ( email )

Piazza Scaravilli 1
40126 Bologna, fc 47100
Italy

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