Professor Suja Thomas has a new book out entitled, the Missing American Jury. Here is a brief description of the book.
Criminal, civil, and grand juries have disappeared from the American legal system. Over time, despite their significant presence in the Constitution, juries have been robbed of their power by the federal government and the states. For example, leveraging harsher criminal penalties, executive officials have forced criminal defendants into plea bargains, eliminating juries. Capping money damages, legislatures have stripped juries of their power to fix damages. Ordering summary judgment, judges dispose of civil cases without sending them to a jury. This is not what the Founders intended. Examining the Constitution's text and historical sources, the book explores how the jury's authority has been taken and how it can be restored to its rightful co-equal position as a "branch" of government. Discussing the value of the jury beyond the Constitution's requirements, the book also discusses the significance of juries world-wide and argues jury decision-making should be preferred over determinations by other governmental bodies.
Vanoverbeke has produced an extraordinarily detailed historical and socio-legal account of the introduction and use of criminal jury trials in Japan in his Juries in the Japanese legal system. The book is a welcome addition to Routledge’s excellent ‘Law in Asia’ series.
Japan’s introduction of a new lay judge (saiban’in) system is one of the most compelling law reform narratives in 21st century Japanese legal studies. It has moved criminal law and judicial policy to centre stage in Japan, at least for the moment. Japan’s law reform effort is also reflected in debates in other Asian jurisdictions about lay participation in criminal justice. South Korea’s first trial involving lay judges under its new system occurred in 2008 (Kim, 2015). It should therefore not be surprising, that the Japanese reforms have generated extensive media and academic commentary since the legislation was passed in 2004.2 and the first case heard in 2009.3
In the first half of 2015 alone, there have been at least three books in English relating to the subject, including Vanoverbeke’s, and numerous journal articles, including two of my own (Steele, 2015a; Steele, 2015b). Wolff, Nottage and Anderson’s (2015) edited collection includes key chapters dealing with the new lay judge system, as well as other topics involving citizen participation. Wilson, Fukurai and Maruta’s (2015) multiple-author monograph has broad coverage, including arguments for further citizen participation in civil trials in Japan. Vanoverbeke’s work, however, stands out as a sole-authored, book-length analysis dedicated to Japan’s historical experiments with criminal jury trials. It also covers what he describes as the incremental, but inexorable, move towards the establishment of the new saiban’in seido (lay judge system).
This book sets forth a new approach to twenty-first-century criminal justice and punishment, an approach that fully involves the community and provides a better way to make our criminal process more transparent and inclusive. The American criminal justice system faces numerous challenges because of its ongoing failure to integrate the community’s voice. Using the lens of the Sixth Amendment jury trial right, this book offers fresh and much-needed ways for incorporating the citizenry into the procedures of criminal justice, resulting in greater investment and satisfaction in the system. Ultimately, the people’s right to participate in the criminal justice system through the criminal jury – a right that is all too often overlooked – is essential to truly legitimizing the criminal process and ensuring its democratic nature.
Andrew Ferguson, an assistant professor at the David A. Clarke School of Law at the University of District Columbia, has written a new book entitled Why Jury Duty Matters: A Citizen's Guide to Constitutional Action. Unlike many books written on the jury, this one is directed to the actual juror or prospective juror. According to the author, the book is written to help explain to jurors their role in the constitutional process. In a way this book serves as a pep talk to those selected to serve as jurors. The book examines the broader implications of jury service beyond just finding someone guilty or not guilty. To watch a video of the author discussing his book go here.
Interested in learning more about juror bias? If so, pick up a copy of Professor John Tarrant's new book Disqualification for Bias. Although Prof. Tarrant's target audience is Australia and other Commonwealth countries, many of the issues he discusses, such as juror bias, have universal application and thus would be of interest to those in the United States. Below is a brief a description of the book and the table of contents.
This book examines the disqualification principle and the test that courts apply in different contexts. The application of the principle is examined in the context of judges, jurors, administrative decision-makers, inquiries, local government, sporting clubs, political decisions, international tribunals and military tribunals.
Disqualification for Bias also examines the remedies available where a person alleges that a decision-maker should be disqualified. Many practical issues are also examined including procedural issues.
A detailed examination of relevant case law and statutes from a number of jurisdictions including Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Canada is also included.
Published by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) in conjunction with Lexis Nexis, the book explores both the conscious and subconscious influences on juror decision-making.
Anderson argues that jurors often rely on the same cognitive tools in court that they apply to their own everyday decision-making. Their decisions are often influenced by intuition, emotion, personal biases, and life experiences, which can cause jurors to form unconscious hierarchies for weighing the evidence. Readers can learn about the most common thinking errors that skew jurors’ perceptions. Learning to recognize these thinking errors can provide advocates with a powerful tool for influencing juror opinions.
Anderson is a national trial advocacy expert, and has been recognized for the work in the classroom as well. She has been recognized for her distinguished teaching by both the American Association for Justice (AAJ) and by the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers, and is the director of the Wake Forest Trial Practice and the Litigation Clinic. Anderson has authored two previous books “Anderson on Advocacy” (2003) and “North Carolina Trial Practice” (1996).
This new book is your thorough guide to the way jurors make decisions, and how you can use that knowledge to convince them that your story of a case is the correct version. The author--who holds a Ph.D in psychology, for which he researched persuasion and juror decision-making--walks you though every stage of the trial and offers comprehensive information on what jurors are thinking when, and how to influence them in the most effective ways.
Here is a brief description of the author
Gregory (Brad) Bradshaw is the president of Bradshaw Litigation Consulting, LLC. He has a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Kentucky where his research included persuasion and juror decision-making. Dr. Bradshaw is a minimalist, a cancer survivor, and a marathon runner, who has been reducing cases to their simplest terms since 2001. Nothing is more important to him than his friends and family.