Scott W. Howe


Criminal juries have an uncertain task. While we tout their constitutional role' in our justice system as the central fact finder, we are unsure about their fact-finding function. The uncertainty focuses on the level of factual specificity at which jurors must concur to convict a defendant. On one hand, we do not expect juries to reach a collective vision of past events in perfect detail. Jurors legitimately may find guilt though they disagree on the precise nature of the defendant's acts On the other hand, we do expect convicting juries to agree with some specificity on the conduct warranting liability. A convicting jury must agree at least that the defendant has committed a particular crime. However, between these vague parameters lies a largely unsettled area of constitutional inquiry.'

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