Dateline: March, 2008, Issue 1

How often does a jury's minority sway the majority to its point of view?

In Twelve Angry Men, one strong juror sways a strong majority of 11 other jurors to change their minds.

In reality, a minority of jurors effectively influences the majority only rarely.

Zeisel and colleagues (Kalven & Zeisel, 1966; Ziesel & Diamond, 1976) found that less than 5% of the time is the minority of the jury able to sway the majority to the minority's point of view.

In an overwhelming percentage of cases, the position held by the majority prevails as the verdict.

Source Kalven, H., & Zeisel, H. (1966). The American jury. Boston: Little, Brown.

Source Zeisel, H., & Diamond, S. (1976). The jury selection in the Mitchell-Stans conspiracy trial. American Bar Foundation Research Journal, 87, pp. 151-174.