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Anger at Angry Jurors


12 Angry Men portrayed the lone holdout juror as essential to the jury's protection of the individual against injustice. But recently a number of empirical and normative questions have been raised about the holdout juror. Some studies go so far as to suggest that most holdout jurors are motivated by unreasonable doubts or are engaged in unlawful acts of jury nullification. The result, according to such studies, is that hung juries are on the rise. After reviewing these studies, this article concludes that there is no reliable evidence establishing a national trend toward a rise in hung juries, although some jurisdictions are experiencing a noticeable spike. This article also concludes that data is also lacking to establish a rise in instances of jury nullification and that the independence of juries is threatened by treating holdout jurors as if they were engaged in misconduct.

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