Compare two recent trials in your community. What were the similarities and differences in terms of jury selection, the prosecutor’s casein-chief, the defense strategy, and the verdict? If possible, compare a murder trial with one involving another major felony.
In what ways is a murder trial different from, say, a trial for armed robbery or rape?
1. In the wake of the O. J. Simpson verdict of not guilty, many commentators spoke about the collapse of the jury system. Were these sentiments driven by the one verdict, or were there other reasons?
2. Why are some jury verdicts popular and others not? To what extent do differences of opinion over the fairness of a jury verdict reinforce notions that equate justice with winning?
1. What impact does the jury system have on the rest of the criminal justice system? How would criminal justice function differently if defendants had no right to a trial by a jury of their peers, which is the situation in virtually all of the non-common-law nations of the world?
2. If you are in a federal courthouse and observe a six-member jury, what type of case is being tried? How do you know this?