Juror comprehension and public policy: Perceived Problems and Proposed Solutions

Phoebe C. Ellsworth, Alan Reifman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Laypersons, the media, and many legal scholars tend to attribute problems in the jury system to the dispositions of individual jurors and to recommend reforms in jury selection procedures and relaxation of the unanimity rule. Social scientists view problems as a consequence of the structure of the jurors' task and recommend reforms in trial procedures. Reforms recommended by both groups are reviewed and evaluated. After years of apathy, the legal system has proposed, and in some jurisdictions implemented, a variety of reforms, most of which are based on the social science perspective that the problem is not due to bad jurors but to unnecessary procedural obstacles to high-quality decision making. These reforms are described in the final section of the article.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)788-821
Number of pages34
JournalPsychology, Public Policy, and Law
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2000


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