The American Jury, by Harry Kalven, Jr.and Hans Zeisel
The “Chicago Jury Project” is the most elaborate of the recent adventures into law and behavioral science. Lavishly financed by the Ford Foundation some fifteen years ago, housed at the University of Chicago Law School, and directed by a distinguished lawyer and sociologist, it offered at long last to fulfill the promise of realist jurisprudence. The legal realists, who came of age in the 20′s and 30′s, had called academic lawyers away from the abstract doctrines announced by appellate courts and had urged them instead to study legal institutions and processes as they functioned in the real world—the behavioral assumptions underlying them, the interactions among them and the relation they bore to other social phenomena. The call had gone largely unheeded, in considerable part because a depression, a New Deal, and a war had intervened. Since World War II, however, a period of consolidation and appraisal has begun, of the sort calculated to put the realist ideology to the test. The jury project was widely regarded as the effort most likely to succeed. Unlike some of the other ventures—e.g., the American Bar Foundation’s study of the administration of criminal justice—this one was to be organized around a single complex institution which had long been the gathering point of controversy and folklore as well as of doctrine. The objective was to dig so deep that we might finally discover how many of our assumptions about the jury were well-founded and whether it served its legal and social functions at all well.
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