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Your Jurors Have Changed. Your Trial Strategy Should, Too.

Your Jurors Have Changed. Your Trial Strategy Should, Too.

Jury Research - COVID-19

Between July 6–27, 2020, IMS | The Focal Point conducted two surveys examining how likely it would be for respondents to report for jury service during the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 494 respondents, who we selected to match the characteristics of Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and New York City participated in the research. 

The survey included collecting demographic data as to jurors’ gender, age, education, financial status, marital status, home ownership, religion, and political affiliation. Importantly, we also examined several attitudinal items pertaining to cognitive ability, authoritarianism, and legalistic reasoning. We also asked several in-depth questions about previous jury service and respondents’ attitudes about the American jury system.

We asked respondents about their willingness to serve on a jury in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. We also explored their reasoning behind whether they would report, and we asked about which COVID-19 preventative measures would be necessary for them to do so. Finally, we asked for their opinions on what jury service during the pandemic would look like in terms of duration and attentiveness. 

As demonstrated below, the overall recruit was successful and we believe predictive. The actual results based on this sampling can be found on our COVID-19 Resources Hub.

Research Sample — Chicago

The Chicago sample (n = 132) was recruited to match a typical Cook County jury panel. The sample provided a close match in all but one aspect: education. The research participants were notably more educated than the venire, although this disparity is less prominent when the sample is divided on the basis of having a bachelor’s degree. However, it should be noted that this is consistent with typical jury eligible populations, as better educated citizens are more likely to vote.

Jury Research - COVID-19 - Chicago

Research Sample — Houston

The Houston sample (n = 113) was recruited to match a typical Harris County jury panel. The sample provided a close match in terms of race, age, and income, but there were notably fewer Hispanics in the sample than in the population. The reduced proportion of Hispanics can likely be attributed to less internet use among this ethnic group*. Hispanics are also less likely to serve as jurors due to language fluency. Additionally, the panel was better educated than the Harris County population, again consistent with typical jury eligible populations. 

Jury Research - COVID-19 - Houston*Pew Research found in a national sample that only 61% of Hispanics in the U.S. have home broadband. https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2019/06/13/mobile-technology-and-home-broadband-2019/

Research Sample — Los Angeles

The Los Angeles sample (n = 123) was recruited to match a typical Los Angeles County jury panel. The sample provided a close match, although it also included fewer Hispanics than would be expected in the population which can be attributed to the aforementioned internet and language limitations common among Hispanic populations in the United States. The research participants were also notably more educated than the venire, again consistent with typical jury eligible populations, as better educated citizens are more likely to vote. 

Jury Research - COVID-19 - Los Angeles

Research Sample — New York City

The New York sample (n = 126) was recruited to match a Southern District of New York, Manhattan Division, jury panel. The sample was a close match in terms of race (albeit with a great proportion of black and smaller portion of Hispanic respondents) and age. There were fewer non-college educated participants than would be expected in the venire, again consistent with typical jury eligible populations.

Jury Research - COVID-19 - New York


Jury Research - COVID-19Jury Research - COVID-19

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Your Jurors Have Changed. Your Trial Strategy Should, Too.

Appeared in IMS | TFP COVID-19 Research Insights

August 03, 2020

Authors

Carolyn Spencer-Mork

As a socio-cultural anthropologist, Carolyn Spencer-Mork understands methods of communication, jury psychology, and group dynamics. She offers expertise in the areas of mock trial and focus group jury research, theme development, trial strategy, witness preparation, and voir dire and jury selection methodology.

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Clint Townson, Ph.D.

Clint Townson’s background in the fields of communication and trial consulting prepared him well for his position as Jury Consultant at IMS | The Focal Point. As an expert in the field of communication, he knows how to deliver crisp, effective courtroom messages.

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