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About jury deliberation

 
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jane



Joined: 22 Sep 2002
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:37 pm    Post subject: About jury deliberation Reply with quote

http://w3.uchastings.edu/plri/spr96tex/juryuna.html
excerpt:
    ....Most researchers agree that the incidence of hung juries is higher in juries that require unanimity of verdict. A 1967 study estimated that the rate of hung juries decreased from 5/6% with unanimous verdicts to only 2.5% with nonunanimous verdicts.

    Researchers have also studied whether the "lone hold-out juror" causes unanimous juries to hang in inappropriate cases. The majority of researchers have concluded that the "lone hold-out juror" is not a significant problem with hung juries. Juries that hang almost always have a sizable minority voice, not just one hold-out. In addition, most juries seem to hang because the case is difficult and ambiguous. In the cases where a single juror did hold-out, most of the other jurors relinquish their positions because of self-doubt and not based on an irrational, hold-out juror.

    Another result of using a majority verdict rule is that the jury would spend less time deliberating. This, in turn, would lead to greater efficiency because trials would take less time and more could be heard. However, some researchers have noted the shorter deliberation time is the result of incomplete deliberations. Without a unanimity requirement, many fear that deliberation will end as soon as the requisite majority is reached to decide the case. As a result, the concerns of the dissenters on the jury may not be fully addressed during deliberations. Thus, unanimous verdicts are more likely to be representative of the community because the opinions of minority members on a unanimous jury can not be ignored or disregarded....

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Rainbow



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great informative article, Jane!
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rd



Joined: 13 Sep 2002
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the part about a small minority getting heard if they can block a decision versus majority being able to vote and be done without it is very important to our jury system.

There also needs to be a way to resolve hung juries with one person holding out but that often is sending them back in to come to an agreement.

rd
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jane



Joined: 22 Sep 2002
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just looking at interesting cases of jury deliberations.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/06-5247.ZX.html
    ....Both the history of this litigation and the nature of the constitutional error involved provide powerful support for the conclusion that if the jurors had heard the testimony of Pamela Maples, they would at least have had a reasonable doubt concerning petitioner’s guilt. Petitioner was not found guilty until after he had been tried three times. The first trial ended in a mistrial with the jury deadlocked 6 to 6. App. 121. The second trial also resulted in a mistrial due to a deadlocked jury, this time 7 to 5 in favor of conviction. Ibid. In the third trial, after the jurors had been deliberating for 11 days, the foreperson advised the judge that they were split 7 to 5 and “ ‘hopelessly deadlocked.’ ” Id., at 74–75. When the judge instructed the jury to continue its deliberations, the foreperson requested clarification on the definition of “reasonable doubt.” Id., at 75. The jury deliberated for an additional 23 days after that exchange—a total of five weeks—before finally returning a guilty verdict.2

    It is not surprising that some jurors harbored a reasonable doubt as to petitioner’s guilt weeks into their deliberations. The only person to offer eyewitness testimony, a disinterested truckdriver, described the killer as a man who was 5’7” to 5’8” tall, weighed about 140 pounds, and had a full head of hair. Tr. 4574 (Apr. 26, 1995). Petitioner is 6’2” tall, weighed 300 pounds at the time of the murder, and is bald. Record, Doc. No. 13, Exh. L (arrest report); Ibid., Exh. M (petitioner’s driver’s license). Seven different witnesses linked the killings to a man named Anthony Hurtz, some testifying that Hurtz had admitted to them that he was in fact the killer. App. 60–64, 179. Each of those witnesses, unlike the truckdriver, was impeached by evidence of bias, either against Hurtz or for petitioner. Id., at 61–64, 73, 179–180.
    However, Pamela Maples, a cousin of Hurtz’s who was in all other respects a disinterested witness, did not testify at either of petitioner’s first two trials. During the third trial, she testified out of the presence of the jury that she had overheard statements by Hurtz that he had committed a double murder strikingly similar to that witnessed by the truckdriver. As the Magistrate Judge found, the exclusion of Maples’ testimony for lack of foundation was clear constitutional error under Chambers v. Mississippi, 410 U. S. 284 (1973) , and the State does not argue otherwise.3 Cf. Skipper v. South Carolina, 476 U. S. 1, 8 (1986) (“The testimony of more disinterested witnesses … would quite naturally be given much greater weight by the jury”)....

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jane



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is what I was actually looking for, which I found on the page above:
    According to data compiled by the National Center for State Courts, the average length of jury deliberations for a capital murder trial in California is 12 hours.

(But I thought the case was interesting so I posted it as well).

So our jurors are already around the average deliberation time.
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jane



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The case I posted about above is kind of confusing, so I'm doing a little synopsis here. Petitioner (I'll call him Baldy) was accused of murder and the juries in trial 1 and trial 2 were hung. Baldy did not match description of eye witness to crime. Witnesses who implicated another man, Hurtz, had something against Hurtz, so jurors hesitated to give much weight to their testimony. Hurtz' cousin, who also implicated Hurtz, was heard by the juries in trials 1 and 2. Hurtz' cousin was not heard by the jury in trial 3 and they convicted Baldy after many weeks of deliberation.
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Rainbow



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 3:26 pm    Post subject: Rules of Turning Over of Exonerating Evidence Reply with quote

So, I think I get what you are driving at, in bringing up this case.

Does anybody know how much evidence, including testimony of witnesses throughout an investigation, has to be turned over to the defense in a trial like Guandique's?
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