The Jury Crisis: What’s Wrong with Jury Trials and How We Can Save Them addresses the near collapse of the jury trial in America – its causes, consequences, and cures. As a social psychologist who became a jury consultant, Drury Sherrod applies intriguing psychological research to colorful real world trials and explains why juries have become dysfunctional and how to restore them. For anyone who has served on a jury, judged a jury, tried a case before a jury, or  wondered how a jury works, this book will be a fascinating eye-opener.

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers • 978-1-5381-0953-3 • Hardback • February 2019

About the Author

Drury Sherrod, earned a PhD from Stanford University and was a professor of psychology at the Claremont Colleges.  He is the co-founder of Mattson & Sherrod, Inc., a jury research firm specializing in trial strategy and jury selection for high-damage civil defense trials.

Sherrod is a member of the American Society of Trial Consultants, the American Psychological Association, and the Society for Experimental Social Psychology. He is the author of a textbook and more than thirty articles on the psychology of human behavior.  He has also written hundreds of narrative-style opening statements for jury trials, which were adopted by attorneys and presented to actual trial jurors.

Dr. Sherrod has given many talks on jury trials and juries in America to a variety of audiences, including college classes, law firms, bar associations, legal conferences, professional associations and groups interested in law and the social sciences.

Photo by Vicki Laszlo

Praise for The Jury Crisis

Author Interviews

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Book Reviews

Can we fix our jury system?

The Jury Crisis by Drury R. Sherrod, a trial consultant, who writes from a perspective of cognitive social psychology,…”explain[s] the evolution of juries, how jurors hear the evidence, and the process of deliberations. The fundamental point to be gathered as each topic is explored is that jurors form a story of the incident and evidence is used to build up the story. Mr. Sherrod writes, “Jurors’ relevant attitudes and life experiences provide the lenses through which they evaluate the evidence.”


Kirkus Book review

“Jury trials are so disparaged for their cost, length, and seeming reckless verdicts that trial by jury is on the road to extinction,”. . . Sherrod, a partner in a jury research firm, observes in his thought-provoking analysis of America’s legal system. The author makes effective use of everything from real-life case vignettes and his own firm’s mock trials to evolutionary psychology to explore questions like “Can a jury be impartial in today’s United States?” and “Should the whole process of dispensing justice be handed over to ‘experts’?”


Is The Death Of Trial By Jury Bad For Democracy?

Jurors find their work inside of a courtroom ennobling, said Drury Sherrod, a psychologist and co-founder of jury research firm Mattson & Sherrod.

That’s because these trials foster moral experiences. They expose jurors to people they wouldn’t have otherwise conversed with. They’re agents of democracy.

And they’re dying.


Judging A Book: Conrad Reviews ‘The Jury Crisis’

Every call to arms to save the “vanishing jury trial” is important. For it is an institution worthy, and in dire need, of saving. Drury R. Sherrod’s “The Jury Crisis: What’s Wrong With Jury Trials and How We Can Save Them,” is a recent and fascinating canary-in-the-coal-mine warning of the erosion of the jury trial in America.


Temple University Beasley School of Law

THE JURY CRISIS is subtitled “What’s Wrong With Jury Trials and How Can We Save Them.” Yet the value of this book is not in its assessment of anything “wrong” with jury trials but instead in its deep and rich understanding of how jurors [and judges] make decisions and what advocates can do with that knowledge. In that regard, this may be the most important book any trial lawyer can read.


Society of Experimental Social Psychology – Announcements

The book provides a social psychological analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of trial by jury. The advance reviews are quite positive, from both psychologists and attorneys.

Why I Wrote the Book

Trial by jury is enshrined in the Sixth and Seventh Amendments to the US Constitution.  It is a foundation of American democracy, when average citizens reason together to find criminal defendants innocent or guilty and individuals and corporations liable for damages or not. It is quite literally when the people speak truth to power. But jurors often misunderstand evidence, become confused about their jobs, and reach verdicts that seem unfathomable.  When this happens we are tempted to throw up our hands and dismiss juries altogether.  Instead, we should work harder to understand how juries reach their verdicts and how we can improve the process of justice, of the people, by the people, for the people.

More recently, Dr. Sherrod has published an article on the legal website, Trials Law360, that compares jurors to federal judges (September 30, 2020). Entitled “What We Know About How Judicial Bias Can Influence Rulings,” the article argues that judges are just like jurors. Judges hear evidence and make up stories about the evidence that reflect their backgrounds, beliefs, demographics, philosophies, world views, and biases. Consequently, federal judges are seldom appointed because they represent a “cross-section of the community,” as the courts mandate in jury selection, but because of the very biases that federal judges carry with them which influence their verdicts.



    For talks, interviews, tours or review copies, please contact Johanna Ramos-Boyer. Email: