Philosophical Issues 31 (1):227-239 (2021)

Clayton Littlejohn
King's College London
While many of us would not want to abandon the requirement that a defendant can only be found guilty of a serious criminal offence by a unanimous jury, we should not expect epistemology to give us the resources we need for justifying this requirement. The doubts that might prevent jurors from reaching unanimity do not show that, say, the BARD standard has not been met. Even if it were true, as some have suggested, that rationality requires that a jury composed of epistemic peers should coalesce around one view about the defendant’s guilt, the failure to reach unanimity might be a good reason to worry about the epistemic failings of some small number of jurors but no reason to worry that we’ve failed to protect the defendant from an unjustified imposition of, say, the risk against wrongful conviction. The arguments for the unanimity requirement will need to come from outside of epistemology.
Keywords Jury Unanimity  Reasonable Doubt
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DOI 10.1111/phis.12197
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Accuracy and the Laws of Credence.Richard Pettigrew - 2016 - Oxford University Press UK.
Probabilistic Knowledge.Sarah Moss - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
Knowledge in a Social World.Alvin Ira Goldman - 1999 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

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