Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 1995


This article explores questions related to the emergence of the jury's new representative function. Section II examines traditional notions of jury representativeness by demonstrating how the jury came to be viewed as a means of providing community input into the criminal justice process. Section II also describes how a broadly representative jury can aid in fact-finding and provide legitimacy for the verdict. Finally, section II explains how a jury system, closed to public exploitation, was traditionally seen as a way to protect the jury's ability to reach independent judgments.

Section III reviews selected cases which reveal judicial recognition of the jury's new representative function and determines that efforts to facilitate greater communication between the public and jurors should be favored by the courts. Section IV evaluates how the jury's ability to perform its traditional fact-finding and legitimating functions is affected by the practice of encouraging jurors to explain their verdicts to the broader community. This article concludes that while the jury's new representative function may serve valuable educational ends and enhance the legitimacy of jury verdicts, it does so at the expense of the jury's fact-finding ability.