Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-2000

Keywords

Kumho Tire v. Carmichael, Jury competence, Jury trials, Jury verdicts, Expert testimony, Scientific evidence, Judge jury agreement, Empirical legal studies

Disciplines

Evidence | Legal Writing and Research | Litigation | Science and Technology

Abstract

This brief addresses the issue of jury performance and jury responses to expert testimony. It reviews and summaries a substantial body of research evidence about jury behavior that has been produced over the past quarter century. The great weight of that evidence challenges the view that jurors abdicate their responsibilities as fact finders when faced with expert evidence or that they are pro-plaintiff, anti-defendant, and anti-business.

The Petitioners and amici on behalf of petitioners make a number of overlapping, but empirically unsupported, assertions about jury behavior in response to expert testimony, namely that juries are frequently incapable of critically evaluation expert testimony, are easily confused, give inordinate weight to expert testimony, are awed by science, defer to the opinions of unreliable experts, and, implicitly, that in civil trials juries tilt in favor of plaintiffs and against corporations.

Publication Citation

Published in: Law and Human Behavior, vol. 24, no. 4 (August 2000).