Skip to content

Structuring an Intersection of Culture, Bias, and Judgment in the American Jury

    A trial jury of qualified citizens is an instrument of the courts and guaranteed available by the sixth amendment to our constitution.

    The objective is to gather a citizen microcosm of our continually evolving society to determine responsibility, if any, on the part of the trial’s defendant in compliance with the laws of the land. Under some circumstances, decisions on punishment are also determined by a jury’s verdict.

    In a population of diverse individuals, attaining genuine decisions is a challenge. Diversity signals a cultural difference of perception and opinions.

    The design of a good decision process is vital to the resulting authenticity translated into Fair Justice.

    Culture, in my simplest terms, is “the ways things are done in society.” That includes language and slang variations; values individually assigned to gender, race, origin, etc.; perception of wealth, power, and status among each other, etc.

    Bias is prejudicial thinking often drawn from an unconscious learning that may not be based on facts or the most accurate interpretation. Cognizant dissonance, or an inherent filter in bias, shields the bias holder from factual, established information that can change the holder’s position. More often, our biases affect our ability to interpret facts: WE DON’T LISTEN TO UNDERSTAND—WE LISTEN TO RESPOND!

    Judgment is asked for in the form of a verdict and in conjunction with adopted law. As stated, verdicts determine responsibility and should represent the current norms of society as laws are expected to do.

    The Fair and Just Deliberation process understands that the above three vital influences exist — it has been designed to address these influences without introducing distraction and adversarial emotion into the deliberation. The process guides the decision makers through a systematic, objective-driven schematic enabling optimum comprehension of evidence.

    Research and proof-of-concept trials have established this process is easy to learn, assures continuing focus on the trial objective, reduces stress, eliminates argument, and improves everyone’s decision-making capability.