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American Juries: The View from the Little Locked Room

April 15, 2020

Having practiced law in the United States for more than twenty years, it is the American jury system that seems to be the greatest source of confusion, mystery and sometimes fear for clients. Many of them have seen the classic jury room movie Twelve Angry Men or, more recently, Runaway Jury, and fear that an unreasonable jury will bankrupt their companies or convict them of crimes they did not commit. For all of the questions about juries I have answered over the years, I now have a new experience on which to draw – two months ago I was a juror on a federal criminal jury trial. I was surprised by what I learned inside the jury box and inside the jury room and it changed some of my own assumptions about juries.