The American Jury Theory

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areas in sociology and if this work is pushed to the forefront in legal sociology, it will be less for the sound knowledge it can offer than for the opportunity it presents to apply sophisticated research technique. [ Selznick, 1959. 119-120]. Close examination even of the products of the jury studies reveals that far less was achieved than had been anticipated and planned. The Kalven-Zeisel study of the American Jury is, of course, the centerpiece of the effort, and it exemplifies the division of labor between social scientists and legal scholars that Selznick described for the second stage[ Kalven Harry, H. Z. The American Jury. Boston: Little Brown Co., 1966.]. Hans Zeisel, a widely respected methodologist (author of Say It with Figures)…show more content…
Articles published by Strodtbeck and his social science colleagues focused primarily on social process in jury deliberations, jurors' status characteristics and levels of participation, and coalition formation in the jury. For better or worse, as Selznick noted, the theoretical context into which the experimental jury studies were cast was "small groups." The insights and theoretical perspectives of that sociological subfield became the major paradigm for analyzing the American jury. Strodtbeck did not find a legal writing partner, the consequences of which were that most of the substantive data about how jurors evaluate testimony, respond to expert witnesses, understand and follow legal instructions, and place more or less emphasis on various aspects of the trial have never been reported for civil juries. In The Jury and the Defense of Insanity, Simon adapted the Strodtbeck design, which involved having real jurors serve as subjects, listen to audiotaped trials, and deliberate until they reached a verdict, and reported juries' responses to criminal trials in which defendants introduced a plea of insanity [ R.J. Simon, The Jury and The Defense Insanity. Washington and Lee Law Review, 1967, 24(1/18). ]. A third major piece of the jury project that appeared in print in bits and pieces was the work of Dale Broeder, at that time a recent graduate of the law school. He, with the help of Zeisel and Strodtbeck, designed a study whereby he sat in the same courtroom for two years and observed every jury trial that occurred before the same judge. Trained in law, he made his own assessments about the weight of evidence, the quality of the attorneys, and the clarity of the instructions. Then, after the jury returned its verdict, he discussed the case with the trial judge and with each member of the jury. In essence,
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