Forthcoming in The University of Illinois Law Review:
High-profile jury trials have catapulted concerns about jury fairness to the center of public consciousness. The public demands—and deserves—fairness from its juries. Despite the jury’s sound performance in most cases, we can do better. The groundwork for the jury’s capacity for fairness is laid long before prospective jurors enter the courtroom. It is further shaped by processes that occur during jury selection, throughout the trial, and in the course of jury deliberations. Most of these influences are not immediately visible to the public. In this article, we provide a comprehensive examination of the phases of the jury trial that are critical to achieving fair juries. We describe how problems at each stage of the jury trial can undermine performance and propose a set of important empirically- grounded reforms that will strengthen jury selection and trial procedures, optimizing fair juries now and into the future.