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Deliberative democracy, Civic engagement, Civil juries


Public Affairs


Civil jury service should be a potent form of deliberative democracy, creating greater civic engagement. However, a 2010 seven-state study of jury service and voting records found no overall boost in civic engagement following service on civil juries, whereas jurors who served on criminal cases did show increased civic engagement following their jury service. This article reports a project that augments the civil jury data set with information about jury decision rule, jury size, defendant identity, and case type and examines whether specific types of civil jury service influence postservice voting. Taking into account preservice voting records, jurors who serve on a civil jury that is required to reach unanimity or a civil jury of 12 are significantly more likely to vote after their service. Jurors who decide cases with organizational, as opposed to individual, defendants likewise show a boost in voting behavior, as do jurors deciding contract or nonautomotive torts cases compared to automotive torts. Limitations and implications of these findings for deliberative democracy theory and jury practice are discussed.

Publication Citation

Valerie P. Hans et al., "Deliberative Democracy and the American Civil Jury", 11 Journal of Empirical Legal Studies (2014)