The Supreme Court Against the Criminal Jury

The Supreme Court Against the Criminal Jury : Social Science and the Palladium of Liberty

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Description

The Supreme Court against the Criminal Jury critiques the Supreme Court's decisions to allow reduced jury sizes and less than unanimous jury verdicts to determine guilt. John A. Murley and Sean D. Sutton challenges the Court's decisions by examining its incomplete understanding of the purpose of trial by jury and evaluating its use of inaccurate and unreliable studies as support for its decisions.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 140 pages
  • 152.4 x 231.14 x 15.24mm | 362.87g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0739136216
  • 9780739136218

About John A. Murley

John A. Murley is emeritus professor and former chair of the Department of Political Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Sean D. Sutton is chair of the Department of Political Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology.show more

Review quote

In four much-criticized 1970s cases, the Supreme Court abandoned tradition and held that states may use criminal juries with fewer than 12 members or juries that decide by less than unanimity, though not both simultaneously. Does it matter? Are smaller or nonunanimous juries not good at protecting citizens from corrupt, biased, or overzealous officials? Researchers conducted numerous studies using a variety of social-science methods. Their findings were equivocal. But by the 1990s, it was clear that the new juries did not save as much public money as expected; few states made much use of them, so scholarly attention waned. Murley and Sutton take the conservative position that before abandoning tradition, the court should have proved that the new juries were not inferior, and the authors argue correctly that the court did not. They assert that the new rule 'tilts the jury trial in favor of the government' by discouraging jury nullification... Indeed, nullification may be increasing. The jury is still out on the impact of using smaller or nonunanimous juries. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate, and research collections. CHOICE The right in criminal cases to a trial by jury of twelve members who must agree on a unanimous verdict is deeply rooted in the common law tradition and the American Constitution. In criticizing the Supreme Court decisions that have rejected this tradition, Murley and Sutton have written a lively and rigorous defense of trial by jury-including jury nullification-as a school for American democratic citizenship. -- Larry Arnhart, Northern Illinois University This book is a deeply informed and rigorous defense of the American legal tradition of trial by jury as indispensable for the civic deliberation that moderates the tyrannical tendency of democracy with a responsible concern for the rights of the individual. The jury functions as one of those democratic institutions that protects the rule of law from the whims of men (and women). We can only hope that our Court will pay attention and reform ill-considered majoritarian reform for which it has been responsible. -- Peter A. Lawler, Berry Collegeshow more

Table of contents

Chapter 1: The Emergence of the Criminal Jury as a Contemporary Political Problem Chapter 2: Six v. Twelve: The Court's Use of History Chapter 3: "No Discernible Difference": On the Court's Use of Social Science Chapter 4: Auxiliary Precautions: Unanimous Jury Verdicts v. Majority Jury Verdicts Chapter 5: Majority Verdict and Jury Nullificationshow more