Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1992

Abstract

Trial by Jury or Judge: Transcending Empiricism,1 by Kevin Clermont and Theodore Eisenberg, is not only an important article, it is unique. To most Americans, trial means trial by jury. In fact, over half of all federal trials are conducted without juries2 (including 31% of trials in cases in which the parties have the right to choose a jury3), and the proportion of bench trials in state courts is even higher.4 And yet, while there is a large literature on the outcomes of jury trials and the factors that affect them,5 nobody else has systematically compared trials by jury to trials by judge. Apart from Clermont and Eisenberg's work, the only published data in the area are in Kalven and Zeisel's classic survey of trial judges in the 1950s, and that study compares the judges' views tojurys' verdicts injury trials over which the respondents presided; it includes no information on bench trials.6


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