Do we need IQ tests for juries? “…the jurors had presented [the chief justice] with a list of ten questions which revealed that they simply did not have a clue about what they had heard as evidence, what they had been told by himself or indeed what they were supposed to be doing there at all.” From the UK but undoubtedly not peculiar to them. Someone once quipped a defendant in a jury trial will be judged by 12 people who weren’t clever enough to get out of jury duty.

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9 Comments on "Do we need IQ tests for juries?"

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February 23, 2013 8:52 am

Had a neighbor who was made foreman because she was the only one who understood the forms they had to complete. With forensic testimony being so technical, one could argue the need for a professional jury pool, where “peers” are vetted and then selected at random. I could see that coming in the future.

February 23, 2013 10:06 am

Last time I went I answered a simple”no” to a question. The attorney re-asked it in a different way, wanting me to elaborate. I replied “what part of no don’t you understand?” I was immediately excused by the judge himself. I’ve never had a jury duty notice since. I must be on a blacklist.

February 23, 2013 10:50 pm

I got out of jury duty on a drug trial by telling them I have a friend that works for the DEA. The judge asked if that might sway my opinion and I said yes.
The defense attorney couldn’t get me out of there fast enough.
Never got another jury summons since.

February 23, 2013 10:05 am

Interesting. Looked up a couple of other stories about this, not familiar with it. There’s a strong consensus that (like democracy or the free market), trial by jury is far from perfect, but is still preferable to the alternatives. And, like such things, it is built to be self-correcting: what is not mentioned in the brief squib above is that the judge declared a mistrial, with the observation that it was the biggest cluster* he’d seen in 30 years.

So bottom line — neither a death knell for trial by jury nor a comment on modern society.

February 23, 2013 10:07 am

You know every guilty party wants the OJ jury. Sounds like the one in this article was even dumber than they were. Something I thought impossible until now.

February 23, 2013 11:18 am

Or the Casey Anthony jury.

February 23, 2013 11:02 am

After the juries, how about an IQ test to vote?

Not so silent
February 23, 2013 12:23 pm

For juries, before you can vote, drive a car, have children, be a lawyer or run for office you have to have a three digit I.O. and the first digit can’t be a zero.

February 23, 2013 10:57 pm

Here is the problem with IQ tests for juries, defense lawyers want the dumbest people possible on a jury. Smart people are more likely to convict their guilty clients.