Should juries deliberate?

Social Epistemology 31 (4):368-386 (2017)
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Abstract

Trial by jury is a fundamental feature of democratic governance. But what form should jury decision-making take? I argue against the status quo system in which juries are encouraged and even required to engage in group deliberation as a means to reaching a decision. Jury deliberation is problematic for both theoretical and empirical reasons. On the theoretical front, deliberation destroys the independence of jurors’ judgments that is needed for certain attractive theoretical results. On the empirical front, we have evidence from both legal and non-legal contexts that group deliberation often leads to group judgments that are worse in a number of respects than judgments generated by non-interactional methods of judgment aggregation. Finally, I examine some possible alternatives to free-wheeling jury deliberation, including the constrained and structured deliberation embodied in the DELPHI method, voting, and averaging of probabilistic judgments.

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Author's Profile

Brian Hedden
Australian National University

References found in this work

A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
Groupthink.Jeffrey Sanford Russell, John Hawthorne & Lara Buchak - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (5):1287-1309.

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