“Hundreds of books have been written on juries...but the strength of this book is its topic-by-topic presentation of research studies. Well-suited to ambitious undergraduates and scholars, it is essential for law libraries and academic libraries with strong law, criminal justice, public policy, and social sciences collections.” - Library Journal
"Neil Vidmar and Valerie Hans, the foremost American experts on the jury, have combined their talents to produce a rich, comprehensive, and insightful book about the American jury - what we know about this institution, and how we know it. This is social science at its best. Beyond this, they provide a thoughtful and persuasive assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the jury. This will be an essential text for students of jury behavior, and, more generally, for all those who are interested in the role of law in American society."
Prof. Lawrence M. Friedman
Marion Rice Kirkwood Professor of Law, Stanford University
"Trial by jury...Is it a good thing? Vidmar and Hans first trace the history of the American jury system, and then provide keen insights into its current health....Their verdict? Lawyers, researchers, the public, and all who care about justice will want to read American Juries to find out."
Elizabeth Loftus, Past President, Association for
Psychological Science and Distinguished Professor
University of California at Irvine
Although the right to trial by jury is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, in recent years both criminal and civil juries have been criticized as incompetent, biased, and irresponsible. For example, the O.J. Simpson criminal jury’s verdict produced a racial divide in opinions about that trial. And many Americans still hold strong views about the jury that awarded millions of dollars to a woman who spilled a cup of McDonald's coffee on herself. It’s said that there are “judicial hellholes” where local juries provide “jackpot justice” in medical malpractice and product liability cases with corporate defendants. Are these claims valid?
This monumental and comprehensive volume reviews over fifty years of empirical research on civil and criminal juries and returns a verdict that strongly supports the jury system. Rather than relying on anecdotes, Vidmar and Hans—renowned scholars of the jury system—place the jury system in its historical and contemporary context, giving the stories behind important trials while providing fact-based answers to critical questions. How do juries make decisions and how do their verdicts compare to those of trial judges and technical experts? What roles do jury consultants play in influencing trial outcomes? Can juries understand complex expert testimony? Under which circumstances do capital juries decide to sentence a defendant to die? Are juries biased against doctors and big business? Should juries be allowed to give punitive damages? How do juries respond to the insanity defense? Do jurors ignore the law?
Finally, the authors consider various suggestions for improving the way that juries are asked to carry out their duties. After briefly comparing the American jury to its counterparts in other nations, they conclude that our jury system, despite occasional problems, is, on balance, fair and democratic, and should remain an indispensable component of the judicial process for the foreseeable future.
FURTHER PRAISE FOR AMERICAN JURIES:
“Two of the nation’s leading jury scholars, Neil Vidmar and Valerie Hans, have written a highly readable, information-packed account of that venerable institution, its history and its modern operation. This insightful book rescues the jury from the misconceptions that pass for modern political debate and proves beyond doubt that the jury is one of the glories of the American system of justice.”
Robert S. Peck, President
Center for Constitutional Litigation, PC, Washington, D.C.
"Vidmar and Hans, among America's leading jury researchers, have produced a highly readable account of the history of this fascinating, unique, and controversial institution - and more important, a sophisticated distillation of the many empirical studies that reveal its true nature and behavior. Anyone who wants to engage seriously in the debates over the jury's social functions, legitimacy, and actual performance must read this book."
Peter H. Schuck
Simeon E. Baldwin Professor, Yale Law School
"Valerie and Neil's book is truly the most comprehensive and best researched treatise on the American jury ever written!"
Dr. Jo-Ellan Dimitrius, Trial Consultant
whose high-profile trials include O. J. Simpson,
the McMartin preschool, Francis Ford Coppola,
and Rodney King
Book Binding: Hardcover
Shipping Weight: 2lbs
Neil Vidmar, PhD, (Durham, NC), is both the Russell M. Robinson II Professor of Law at Duke University School of Law and a professor of psychology at Duke University. He has published over 100 research articles and is the author, coauthor, or editor of four books including Hans and Vidmar’s widely acclaimed Judging the Jury (1986), Medical Malpractice and the American Jury, and World Jury Systems (2000).
Valerie P. Hans, PhD (Ithaca, NY), is Professor of Law at Cornell University. She has published more than ninety research papers and articles and is the author, coauthor or editor of five books including Business on Trial (2000); Judging the Jury (1986) and The Jury System (2006). She also serves on the editorial boards of major professional journals in the field of law and social science.