Many jury trial procedures and practices are left to "the sound discretion of the trial court." This discretion provides judges with flexibility to meet the individual needs of each trial. Using information from the State-of-the-States Survey of Jury Improvement Efforts, this article documents the extent to which trial judges exercise that discretion with respect to trial procedures and practices designed to improve jury comprehension, performance, and satisfaction. It describes legal, cultural, and case-specific factors that contribute to jurisdictional variation in the use of these procedures and practices, including judicial non-compliance with prohibited and mandatory practices. Finally, it discusses whether judicial non-compliance with procedural prohibitions and mandates amounts to a form of judicial nullification and, if so, whether it serves the same purpose as jury nullification (e.g., as a check on judicial, executive, and legislative excesses).
Northern Illinois University Law Review
Hannaford-Agor, Paula L.
"Judicial Nullification? Judicial Compliance and Non-Compliance with Jury Improvement Efforts,"
Northern Illinois University Law Review: Vol. 28:
3, Article 2.
Paula L. Hannaford-Agor, Judicial Nullification? Judicial Compliance and Non-Compliance with Jury Improvement Efforts, 28 N. Ill. U. L. Rev. 407 (2008).