Articles on Juries

Can a court grant a new trial based on proof that racial bias affected jury deliberations? SCOTUS says YES. By Khara Coleman Racial and Ethnic Minorities and the Law, February 2018 While there are a number of articles and published analyses concerning the Peña-Rodriguez opinion, it clearly does not come with a recipe or cure for the “pernicious” influence of racial bias in a jury pool.
Stanphill v. Ortberg: The need for clarity in the submission of a special interrogatory to the jury By Richard L. Turner, Jr. Civil Practice and Procedure, December 2017 Recently, in its decision in Stanphill v. Ortberg, the appellate court had an opportunity to reexamine the law in the circumstances where the general verdict appears to be in conflict with the answer to the special interrogatory submitted to the jury.
A jury of 12 (Not 6), as heretofore enjoyed: The Illinois Supreme Court strikes down Public Act 98-1132 By Kimberly A. Davis & Douglas S. Strohm Bench and Bar, December 2016 The Illinois statute limiting the size of a civil jury to six persons is unconstitutional.
Our evolving notion of what is an ‘impartial jury’ By Linda J. Watson Bench and Bar, October 2016 In a world where the populace is becoming increasingly skeptical of governance, more-diverse juries are perceived as being more fair and impartial than those that are not.
Juries, voir dire, and jury instructions: The fundamental parts of every civil federal jury trial By Arsenio L. Mims Federal Civil Practice, June 2016 It is imperative for attorneys to know how potential jurors are selected, how voir dire will be conducted, and how to begin drafting their proposed jury instructions for the court.
Judges should not say “expert” in front of the jury By Evan Bruno Bench and Bar, May 2016 It’s impossible to say for certain whether a judge’s oral designation of a witness as an expert has ever tipped the scales in a jury trial. But more importantly, why does the jury even need to be informed of this evidentiary ruling?
1 comment (Most recent May 16, 2016)
Six-person jury law found unconstitutional By Robert T. Park Civil Practice and Procedure, February 2016 In Kakos v. Butler on December 21, Cook County Circuit Judge William Gomolinksi handed down an Order and Opinion that found PA 98-1132 unconstitutional because it violates the directive of the Illinois Constitution, Article I, Section 13.
A constitutional question about reduced jury size By Robert T. Park Civil Practice and Procedure, January 2015 Public Act 98-1132 goes into effect June 1, 2015. Trial lawyers will be keenly interested in the Act’s change to 735 ILCS 5/2-1105(b), which provides: “All jury cases shall be tried by a jury of 6.”
1 comment (Most recent January 16, 2015)
Letter to the Editor By Hon. Eugene G. Doherty Tort Law, December 2012 A reader's response to “Authoritative texts: Expert witnesses are allowed to read to the jury the contents of inadmissible scientific and medical literature as the basis for an opinion” which was published in the November issue of this newsletter.
Exploring the relatively unknown jury of peers By Madalyn Phillips Alternative Dispute Resolution, October 2012 An examination of Peer Juries, also often referred to as Youth Courts, Youth Juries, or Teen Courts.
Beyond the verdict III: Jurors pick parts of trial By Hon. James Varga Bench and Bar, January 2012 In this third installment of the insightful series that aims to understand jurors and their thoughts, jurors in this study were asked to identify the most influential part of a jury trial. The results may come as a surprise to some. 
Beyond the verdict II: Jurors evaluate By Hon. James Varga Bench and Bar, October 2011 In part one of this article the author described the procedure and results of from 10 jury trials. In this second part, the author explains the significance of the results.
Beyond the verdict: Jurors speak out By Hon. James Varga Bench and Bar, June 2011 In the first part of this article, the procedure and results of from 10 jury trials are described. In the second part, the significance of the results is explained.
Jury trial innovations: 7th Circuit project By William J. Brinkmann Federal Civil Practice, September 2006 The Seventh Circuit Bar Association has recently completed testing throughout the Seventh Circuit District Courts of seven concepts designed to improve civil jury trials.
Jury selection: Selling your case By James A. Hansen Civil Practice and Procedure, June 2006 The work of any good trial lawyer starts with selling his or her case to a prospective jury panel.
The jury system: Evolution of revolution By Robert E. Wells, Jr. Alternative Dispute Resolution, April 2006 The jury system is under attack in Congress, in the Illinois Legislature, and in the press. Much of the criticism focuses on the perception of “run-away jury verdicts.”
The Ryan juror furor—The questions and implications are disturbing and far reaching By John T. Phipps General Practice, Solo, and Small Firm, April 2006 The corruption trial of former Governor George Ryan has raised a number of troubling points about our juries and who serves on them.
Memorandum: Proposal for six-person juries in civil cases where claimed damages are $50,000 or less By T.J. Brady Bench and Bar, October 2004 Support for the six-person jury in civil cases is found in the U.S. Constitution, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 48, as well as in the Illinois Constitution, statutes, and case law which interpret these provisions. U.S. Const. Amend. VII; Ill. Const. art I, § 13; F.R.Civ.P.48; 735 ILCS 5/21105.
What should a jury know about a defendant’s prior convictions? By Patrick J. Hitpas Criminal Justice, September 2003 An apparent inconsistency has developed in what information a trial court should allow a jury to hear regarding a defendant's prior convictions.
What do you do if the jury asks about insurance? By G. Bradley Hantla General Practice, Solo, and Small Firm, December 2002 Assume the following factual situation: You have just completed a trial, and the case has been submitted to the jury.

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