Episode 87: How Juries Decide with Mikaela Spruill

Mikaela Spruill studies juries and the legal system’s role in sustaining social inequalities. She’s a postdoctoral fellow in criminal justice with SPARQ at Stanford University. In our conversation, Mikaela shares the benefits and drawbacks of juries in the courtroom, how scientists study jury decision-making, and how jurors apply very specific legal standards to interpreting the facts of a case.

Things that come up in this episode

  • A very brief history of juries (Alschuler & Deiss, 1994; Carey, 1994; Massachusetts Office of Jury Commissioner)
  • A summary of early research in jury decision-making (Devine et al., 2001) and the University of Chicago Jury Project (Broeder, 1959; Cornwell, 2010)
  • The quick clip in the intro (“I’m just saying a coincidence is possible”) is from the 1957 film, 12 Angry Men.
  • A summary of research on jury decision-making (Spruill & Hans, in press)
  • How jurors apply the “objectively reasonable” standard to interpreting the facts of a case (Spruill & Lewis, 2022; 2023)


Download a PDF version of this episode’s transcript.

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