1955 October 7

ACLU Condemns Secret Recording of Juries


As part of a research project on juries by faculty at the University of Chicago Law School, actual jury deliberations were secretly tape recorded. Exposure of the recording aroused much criticism. On this day, ACLU Executive Director Patrick Murphy Malin said he was “shocked” at the “invasion of privacy of jury deliberations.”

The remarkable aspect of this incident is that the secret recording was not done by some rogue prosecutor, but by two highly respected scholars on the faculty of one of the top law schools in the country.

Results of the study were published by Harry Kalven and Hans Zeisel, The American Jury (1966). There are no other known recordings of jury deliberations.

Read the study: Harry Kalven and Hans Zeisel, The American Jury (1966)

Read about the history of juries: Dennis Hale, The Jury in America: Triumph and Decline (2016)

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