NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Jurors With Hidden Agendas

July 31, 2001

Ever since the much-publicized O.J. Simpson trial, legal observers have noted a growing phenomenon: jurors with their own hidden agendas.

  • Motivated by a desire for fame or money or by strong views about a case, stealth jurors present themselves as impartial so they will be chosen to sit on a jury and then try to sway other jurors during deliberations.
  • Stealth jurors inaccurately present themselves as fair or hide some other conflict of interest -- like a book-writing plan, for example.
  • Trial consultant Rick Fuentes of DecisionQuest, Inc., estimates that for every case where some degree of deception is evident, there are probably three or more other cases where it is not apparent.
  • In a DecisionQuest survey, 14 percent of respondents said they would be willing to hide information about themselves to get on a jury in a high-profile case.

Jurors rarely face prosecution for lying or failing to disclose bias during questioning. That's because deception is hard to prove and court officials don't want to discourage others from reporting for jury duty.

Source: Jerry Markon, "Jurors with Hidden Agendas," Wall Street Journal, July 31, 2001.

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