Georgia Law Review, Vol. 27, No. 1 (Fall 1992), pp. 59-120


This is the second part of a two-part inquiry into the quality of jury performance in Georgia negligence cases. Evaluation begins from within. That is an especially prominent truth in respect to the trial of negligence cases. The lay-professional partnership composing the civil trial system is unique. the professional's continuity provides a point of perfect perspective on the transient lay component--both its capacity and its performance. If the professional will share that perspective, it can structure a benchmark for foundational appraisal. To their great credit, the state and federal trial judges of Georgia are unstinting in assisting to construct that benchmark. As this undertaking hopefully demonstrates, their care, sensitivity, and sincerity of purpose are remarkable. Those qualities say as much about the judges, of course, as about the jury. For the Georgia negligence jury, the benchmark is now in place. Hopefully, it serves dual values. As a composite of the viewpoints of both state and federal judges, it reveals the jury in its fullest contour. Carried out in separate and independent surveys, however, the undertaking also reflects the distinctive qualities of each system.