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Is There a Bias Against Education in the Jury Selection Process?

26 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2005 Last revised: 20 Oct 2015

Hillel Y. Levin

University of Georgia School of Law

Jay Emerson

Yale University - Department of Statistics

Date Written: 2006

Abstract

We analyze thirty jury selections in the District of Connecticut for evidence that juries are relatively undereducated compared to the venires from which they are chosen. Contrary to popular lay and scholarly belief, neither judges nor attorneys appear to systematically excuse or exclude relatively well-educated potential jurors.

We conclude that juries are not relatively undereducated compared to venires. Further, the mean education level of juries in our sample is actually higher than the mean of members of society (as represented by U.S. Census data for the State of Connecticut).

Finally, we conclude that (1) further studies should be performed in jurisdictions with different selection procedures; and (2) it is unnecessary for courts to adopt radical proposals designed to ensure that juries are not undereducated relative to venires (or to society as a whole). This study reinforces our belief that any policy analysis should include empirical study and attention to practical literature, both of which have been missing in the scholarly debate over education levels of juries.

Keywords: Juries, jurors, education, empirics, empirical

Suggested Citation

Levin, Hillel Y. and Emerson, Jay, Is There a Bias Against Education in the Jury Selection Process? (2006). Connecticut Law Review, Vol. 38, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=704562

Hillel Y. Levin (Contact Author)

University of Georgia School of Law ( email )

225 Herty Drive
Athens, GA 30602
United States

John Emerson

Yale University - Department of Statistics ( email )

P.O. Box 208290
New Haven, CT 06520-8301
United States

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