Give Juries Access to Proven Decision-Making Method to:
• Improve Efficiency
• Reduce Stress
• Eliminate Argument
Focus. Tools. Time.
Currently Jury-Trials receive direction from the Judge, and at times the attorneys pertaining to the laws and evidence that apply to a particular case. Allowances may or may not include individual juror note-taking during the trial for reference during deliberation. While the courtroom evidentiary part of a trial is based on argument overseen by a sitting ‘referee’, The Judge, the ultimate decision makers, the Jury, are subject to this scenario and all its influential power.
Potential jurors are selected from the roles of registered voters or holders of valid Driver licenses in the state in which the trial is held. Selection is random therefore increasing the chances that the potential jurors are strangers, with little or no experience in a group decision process.
Challenged with the complexity of the case: burdened with minimal, if any group decision experience, jurors receive little guidance to enable better protocol, collaboration, reduced disagreement and improve overall efficiency. The Courts are neither capable of group decision assistance nor, by law are they encouraged in doing so.
Research has shown that in the natural absence of structure, individually biased influences happen under the guise of “common sense” summations extolled by the opposing attorneys and do negatively influence a jury’s stability introducing conflict and stress. More often than not, this leads to a ‘spiral of conflict among the personalities or belief sets. Historically true, now commonly forbidden, verdicts have been determined by the flip of a coin.
In 2000, a list of jury’ innovations ‘was presented before the American Bar Association’s national convention. One of those listed innovations, Fair and Just Deliberations TM, was offered as an alternative and structured method to Juries. Judges have successfully, in the face of counsel – resistance incorporated the process into multiple trials and hearings. State legislation is the optimum path.
In 2005, a national jury summit further established principles, one of which encouraged the courts to give more support to the jury’s objective. However, it is broadly clear that jury efficiency is neither understood by the bench, nor a priority by local jurisdictions. However, the redeeming fact is that jurors are presently free to collectively determine their own means of deliberation, short of the coin-toss. Without structure and unbiased guidance this appears impossible.
No seated jurors are selected on the basis of decision-making competence, but rather their perceived leanings interpreted by either the prosecution or defense. The process, albeit limited is called VOIR DIRE and very often influenced by “Jury Consultants” hired by the defense to interpret predilection for decision of individual jurors.
We, the citizens ‘own’ the justice system, but rarely have anything to say about process. The Courts are a unique opportunity for us to instill a learning transfer mode that improves one institution and empowers the civic-minded citizenry to take on much greater decisions based on reasonable and collaborative logic.