Time to Deliberate: Factors Influencing the Duration of Jury Deliberation
28 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2007
Date Written: June 24, 2007
The sixth amendment to the U.S. Constitution stipulates that individuals accused of violating the law by the state must be allowed a speedy and impartial trial by a set of jurors drawn from the community in which the alleged violation of the law took place. Most empirical research on the determinants of the time it takes a jury to render a verdict relies on data from the activities of mock juries. In this paper we analyze a unique and informative dataset on actual juries that mitigates the causal inference issues arising from the study of time to decision of mock juries. The empirical results indicate that 6 person juries are no quicker than 12 person juries; as cases become more complex and/or more severe, juries deliberate longer; non-unanimous decisions take longer to reach than unanimous ones; panels that saw many potential jurors excused during voir dire end up deliberating longer than panels with fewer challenges.
Keywords: Juries, decision making, length of deliberation, hazard models
JEL Classification: K00, D71, D73, D78
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