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Juror Reponsibility  |   Juror Confusion  |   Juror Bias

Thomas Miller-El's jury consisted of eleven white and one black juror. The prosecution struck ten of the eleven qualified black jurors during jury selection. Photo: AP/Brett Coomer

AUDIO EXCERPT
Jury Instruction with Jack McMahon
(Real Audio, 10:43 min)




(Real Audio, 16:31 min)

Juror Bias

Note: This program was produced in the summer of 2003, before the Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Thomas Miller-El. In February, 2003, the Court handed down a ruling ordering a new hearing on Miller-El's claim that his jury was racially biased. Miller-El has been appealing his death sentence since 1986.

In capital murder trials—where a defendant may be sentenced to death— lawyers will often tell you that the outcome is decided before either side makes an opening statement or presents any evidence. The critical part of the trial, these lawyers say is the selection of jurors.

In high profile murder cases, both sides may spend tens of thousands of dollars on psychologists and other consultants who try to predict the behavior of individual jurors. But selecting the "right" jury is not an exact science. And the "right" jury is not necessarily a fair jury.

Next: Haney Experiment