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Risk Management in Assembling Juries

NCJ Number
B Lind
Date Published
6 pages
After describing the current method for assembling juries in the New South Wales (Australia) District Criminal Court, one which often fails to assemble a jury for appointed hearing dates, this bulletin describes a method designed to determine the number of persons who should be summoned for jury duty.
The problem that must be addressed is how to determine the number of persons to be summoned for jury duty in order to ensure that there are at least a sufficient number of persons available on the trial date. To solve this problem, court managers must be able to specify an acceptable level of risk (probability) of there being insufficient numbers of people to form a jury. The method presented in this bulletin for solving this problem is based on statistical probability theory. The method uses the fact that the distribution of p (the number of persons available for jury duty divided by the number of persons summoned for jury duty) can be assumed to be normal. Using estimates of the mean and variance of p derived from relevant sample data, the probability of p being greater or smaller than any specified value can then be determined. The effectiveness of the method depends on accurate estimates of the mean and variance of the p values. It is important to use estimates of the mean and variance of the p values derived from data collected for trials of the same type as the one for which a jury is to be assembled. The method is illustrated by using data from the Sydney and Newcastle District Criminal Courts. Although the examples provided are applied to the forming of juries for criminal trials, the method is equally applicable to the assembling of juries for civil court hearings. 1 figure and 3 tables


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