Charlotte Talks: Is The Jury System In Crisis?

Jun 3, 2019

Monday, June 3, 2019

Less than 1.5 percent of criminal cases in North Carolina were decided by juries in the 2017-2018 fiscal year.
Credit Flickr / Patrick Feller

Fewer cases are going to juries, and a veteran of jury trials says that's not good for democracy. Is the jury system as we know it nearing extinction? Guest host Sarah Delia examines the concerns about the future of this constitutional right.

Decades of TV court dramas and films, from "12 Angry Men" to "Law and Order," have illustrated the Constitution's right to a jury trial.

But as commonplace as they might be on the screen, they're a rarity in real-life courtrooms across the country.

Fewer cases - both criminal and civil - are being put in the hands of juries. In North Carolina during the 2017-2018 fiscal year, less than 1.5 percent of criminal cases were decided by juries out of more than 150,000 cases that were disposed in superior courts.

Drury Sherrod, a longtime jury behavior researcher and trial strategist, lays out what he sees as the consequences of this decline in his book, "The Jury Crisis."


Sarah Delia, reporter, WFAE; host of WFAE's "She Says" podcast (@SarahWFAE)


Drury Sherrod, author, "The Jury Crisis: What's Wrong With Jury Trials and How Can We Save Them"

Darlene Harris, criminal defense attorney, Ken Harris and Associates