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Harris Poll: 3 of 5 Americans Believe Juries Fair

Harris Interactive has conducted a poll that reveals some interesting things about jury duty and jury trials in America.

Here are some of the key findings:

  1. A majority (65%) of Americans have been called to jury duty, but only a quarter actually served on a jury.
  2. 3 out of 5 Americans believe juries can be fair and impartial all or most of the time; 2 out of 5 think juries are only occasionally, rarely or never fair and impartial.
  3. Blacks were less likely to trust a jury than Whites and Hispanics.
  4. More Americans trust a jury (50%) than a judge (23%) to give a fair verdict.
  5. In the West, 89% of those who served on juries reported reaching a verdict (higher than any other region of the U.S.), while only 9% said the case settled.
  6. The more education one has, the more likely one can avoid serving on a jury.

Using the Harris Poll data, I’ve created some pie charts for your viewing pleasure:

American Jury Attitudes

Personally, I’m surprised a third of those called to jury duty dodged their civic duty and failed to attend. Although I guess I shouldn’t be given how much most people seem to hate jury duty. As for me, I can hardly wait to be called (I was almost called once, but I had just moved to a new town so I was disqualified . . . drat!). I think it will be a fascinating experience.

I also found it surprising that the percentage (70%) of those who had served on juries and had a positive view of jury fairness was only slightly higher than those who had not served on a jury and had a positive view of jury fairness (65%). I would have thought that the experience of sitting through and deliberating in a jury trial would have given these people substantially more faith in the fairness of juries. It really makes you wonder what goes on in those jury rooms.

Have you served on a jury duty? I’d love to hear about your experiences. Leave a comment below.

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