Why Diverse Juries Matter in Theory and in Practice
Nina Chernoff is a Professor at the CUNY School of Law. Professor Chernoff’s research focuses on the jury, primarily the right to a jury selected from a fair cross-section of the community.
Her article Black to the Future: The State Action Doctrine & The White Jury is a tribute to the scholarship of Charles Black and a critique of courts’ use of state action doctrine to analyze fair cross-section cases.
Professor Chernoff also works with courts committed to assembling diverse jury pools. For example, she gave the keynote presentation at the Washington State Supreme Court’s symposium on Jury Diversity in Washington: A Hollow Promise or Hopeful Future?, and is currently a consultant to the New Jersey Judiciary. Professor Chernoff also works with attorneys and communities seeking to diversify their jury pools through advocacy or litigation. For example, she recently helped draft a letter recommending improvements to the jury plan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California.
Prior to joining CUNY’s faculty, Professor Chernoff was an Acting Assistant Professor of Lawyering at New York University Law School. Before entering academia, she was a staff attorney in the Special Litigation Division of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS). In that capacity she litigated systemic criminal justice issues, including prosecutorial misconduct, jury representation, and the reliability of forensic evidence. Prior to PDS, she was a staff attorney and Zubrow Fellow at Juvenile Law Center and served as a law clerk for the Honorable Thomas L. Ambro, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Professor Chernoff graduated from Georgetown University Law Center, magna cum laude, in 2003; she received her M.S. with distinction in Justice, Law & Society from the School of Public Affairs at American University in 2000, and her B.A. in Sociology from Bryn Mawr College in 1997.
Paula Hannaford-Agor, the Director of the Center for Jury Studies, joined the Research Division of the National Center in May 1993. In this capacity, she regularly conducts research and provides technical assistance and education to courts and court personnel on the topics of jury system management and trial procedure; civil litigation; and complex and mass tort litigation.
She has authored or contributed to numerous books and articles on the American jury including Jury Trial Innovations (2d ed. 2006), The Promise and Challenges of Jury System Technology (NCSC 2003) and Managing Notorious Trials (1998). She received her law degree and a Master of Public Policy degree from the College of William & Mary in 1995 and her Bachelor of Arts in Government & Politics from George Mason University in 1991.
Valerie P. Hans, Charles F. Rechlin Professor of Law, conducts empirical studies of law and the courts, and is one of the nation's leading authorities on the jury system. Trained as a social scientist, she has carried out extensive research and lectured around the globe on juries and jury reforms as well as the uses of social science in law.
She is the author or editor of 9 books and over 150 research articles. Current projects on the American jury include developing a new theory of damage awards, analyzing how jury service promotes civic engagement, and examining the impact of race in tort decisions. Professor Hans is also studying the diverse forms of citizen participation in legal decision making in other countries. Her research and that of others are summarized in a coedited book, Juries, Lay Judges, and Mixed Courts: A Global Perspective (2021). Other books include: The Psychology of Tort Law (2016); American Juries: The Verdict (2007); The Jury System: Contemporary Scholarship (2006); Business on Trial: The Civil Jury and Corporate Responsibility (2000); and Judging the Jury (1986).
Professor Hans is coeditor of the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Editor of the Annual Review of Law and Social Science, and past president of the Law and Society Association.
In June 2019, Professor Hans joined other law professors and social scientists in submitting an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court on the subject of jury unanimity (Ramos v. Louisana). The Supreme Court’s 2020 Ramos decision cited her work.