S-Space College of Law/Law School (법과대학/대학원) The Law Research Institute (법학연구소) Journal of Korean Law Journal of Korean Law Volume 13 Number 1/2 (2013/2014)
What’s Happening in the Jury Room? : Analyzing Shadow Jury Deliberations in Korea
- Lee, Jae-Hyup; Woo, Jisuk; Rhee, June Woong; Choi, Jeong Min; Shin, Hyunki
- Issue Date
- BK 21 law
- Journal of Korean Law, Vol.13 No.1, pp. 41-68
- This paper looked into the jury deliberation process by examining shadow jury deliberations in 18 actual cases between November 2010 and July 2011 in Korea. Based on the direct observation and the content analysis of the videotaped deliberation, we examined four key areas in jury deliberation in order to gain insights and implications for the institutional design of the jury system: (1) the binding effect of the jury verdict, (2) the number of jurors, (3) the jurors’ deliberations regarding both conviction and sentencing, and (4) the judge’s intervention in jury deliberation.
The results demonstrate that the shadow jurors in general actively participated in the deliberation process by speaking in turn, and were respectful toward other jurors in debate. The jury forepersons positively played their role by giving jurors equal chance to talk and managed the discussion well. Misunderstanding of law and the intermingling of facts relevant to conviction or sentencing were not as frequent as many people expected: when such problems occurred, they were most often corrected through the intervention of other jurors or judges. Most judges were helpful in jurors’ reaching a verdict in the jury room. Also there was no definitive relationship between the size of the jury and the quality of deliberation. On the other hand, the shadow jurors tended to state their initial positions early in the deliberation process without fully discussing the issues first. They oftentimes made arguments not based on evidence. In addition, jurors’ emotions affected decision-making in some instances.
Although encouraging aspects as well as areas for improvement coexist, the overall quality of jury deliberation in Korea, as evidenced by this study, is positive. Over time, the Korean jury system is expected to be firmly established as a robust institution to increase democratic participation of the lay people and to enhance the credibility of the judiciary.