Praise for The Jury Crisis
Sherrod has written a fascinating book about the US jury system which will be understandable to a broad audience. It ultimately asks an important and timely question: Are juries relevant and useful in today’s world? Its lively anecdotes and accounts of real trials will keep readers turning every last page.
Monica Miller, PH.D., J.D.
Professor, Criminal Justice and Psychology | University of Nevada, Reno
This is essential reading for practitioners who argue before judges and juries and want to know how to maximize the effects of their arguments; for researchers who will delight in a view of the jury from a fellow scientist who is also “insider” in the often-cloaked world of litigation consulting; and for policymakers who will be especially interested in Sherrod’s many suggestions for how the jury system can be improved.
Steven Penrod, PH.D., J.D.
Distinguished Professor, Psychology | John Jay College of Criminal Justice-CUNY
This book is a gift to the serious trial lawyer. It is easy to read this clear-eyed prose that imparts important, documented information about how juries decide. I am recommending it as required reading for my colleagues, whether they be experienced or novice trial lawyers.
Chilton Davis Varner, J.D.
Senior Counsel, King and Spalding | Former President, American College of Trial Lawyers
Dr. Sherrod uses his training and experience as a psychologist and jury researcher to show how and why juries and judges decide cases as they actually do, rather than how they are commonly thought to decide them. Most importantly, he presents powerful arguments for preserving jury trials by making much-needed improvements in the way trials are conducted.
Malcolm E. Wheeler, J.D.
Founding Partner/Counsel Emeritus, Wheeler Trigg O’Donnnell LLP
Sherrod has advised hundreds of lawyers how best to shape and present their case arguments. In this book, he educates the reader about the challenges jury trials face today and offers concrete recommendations about saving this critical institution.
Michael L. O’Donnell, J.D.
Chairman, Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell | Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
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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.”
“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’?”
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.
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.
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.