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Juries continued, from today’s NY Times

- March 18, 2009

A brief link to a NYTimes article on the acquisition of extra-trial knowledge by jurors. The “situated” nature of jurors with respect to prior knowledge is something I’ve been thinking about lately. As Jeffrey Abramson and, more recently, Sharon Krause have argued, ignorance does not entail impartiality — so what sort of knowledge do we want to forbid jurors to possess? Following up on yesterday’s post, it’s worth noting that medieval jurors were assumed to have access to public and personal or private knowledge about the circumstances of the trial — and even the vicinage requirement in the United States suggests that there’s something attractive about people having local knowledge in the sense of the nature of a particular community, either in terms of its geography or perhaps even its norms. The capacity to exclude particular “prejudicial” information may be attractive, but the use of Google maps to get an accurate sense of the length of a car ride might be utterly benign and even helpful. Anyway, have a look.

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