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MOST JURORS WOULD HAVE CONVICTED POLICE OFFICERS IN RODNEY KING TRIAL, LEXIS/NLJ SURVEY SHOWS

 /ADVANCE/ NEW YORK, Feb. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- A striking 61 percent of American jurors would have convicted the four white police officers who were acquitted in the Rodney King trial last year, according to a LEXIS/National Law Journal survey released today.
 The survey, the most comprehensive national poll of jurors ever conducted, also revealed that a majority (51 percent) of jurors do not necessarily believe the testimony of a police officer when that testimony conflicts with that of the defendant. Another 41 percent said they would believe the police officer over the defendant, and 9 percent said they were unsure.
 Findings of the LEXIS/NLJ poll, to be published in tomorrow's newspaper, come as final jury selection begins this week in Los Angeles in the federal trial of the four officers who are accused of violating King's civil rights.
 The LEXIS/NLJ poll indicates that, of those who would have convicted the Los Angeles police officers for beating Rodney King, 58 percent were white and 89 percent black.
 Black jurors also believe that the American criminal justice system is biased against minority defendants. Indeed, two-thirds of black jurors believe minority defendants in criminal cases do not receive as fair a trial as whites.
 When asked a series of questions about race and judicial fairness, an overwhelming majority -- between 60 percent and 75 percent -- of black jurors said the judicial system itself is stacked against minority defendants.
 In contrast, only one-fifth to one-third of whites surveyed agreed that minorities receive unfair treatment when asked the same series of questions.
 Despite these findings, an overwhelming majority of jurors still believe in the efficacy of being judged by one's peers. A full 75 percent of jurors would want a jury to decide their fate if they were the subject of a court case.
 While jurors have trouble believing police officers, they are generally impressed with the testimony of expert witnesses. Eighty-nine percent of the jurors surveyed said that experts were very believable or somewhat believable. In criminal cases, 95 percent said experts were believable, to some degree.
 The LEXIS/NLJ survey measured jurors' opinions on a wide range of other issues. Among the findings:
 -- About one in four jurors in criminal cases begin with the belief that defendants are guilty or probably guilty of the crime or crimes for which they are being tried.
 -- Lawyers' personalities often help decide the outcome of a case: 20 percent of jurors questioned said that the attorney who was liked the best made a difference in the outcome of the case.
 -- Overwhelmingly, 77 percent of jurors said they should be allowed to take notes during trials.
 -- Twenty percent of jurors reported that they still considered testimony that they had been told to disregard.
 -- A majority of jurors surveyed (56 percent) believe that cameras should not be permitted in the courtroom.
 -- Criminal defendants may be better off remaining silent. At trials in which defendants testified, 29 percent of jurors questioned said it helped the defendant's case; 48 percent said it hurt the case.
 -- By they time jurors begin deliberating, nearly three in four have already begun to make up their minds about the outcome of a case, and in trials resulting in not-guilty verdicts, jurors are more likely to have made up their minds during the trial process rather than the jury room.
 -- Seventy-seven percent of jurors in high-profile cases reported experiencing more pressure because of the nature of the case and the publicity it received. This meant, according to 68 percent of the sample, the jurors would take more time to carefully review the evidence during their deliberations.
 The complete findings of the survey, sponsored jointly by the LEXIS(R) service of Mead Data Central, Inc., and The National Law Journal, will appear in the newspaper's February 15 issue, which goes on sale tomorrow.
 The survey was conducted by Penn + Schoen Associates, Inc., between August and November of last year. A total of 783 interviews were conducted: 433 with jurors from routine criminal cases, 300 with jurors from civil cases, and 50 with jurors from cases considered "high profile."
 The pollster drew its sample of jurors by contacting federal and state court judges. The judges and their clerks were asked to release names of jurors who had recently served in trials. Only jurors who said they have served in a trial jury through to a verdict were included in the survey.
 The theoretical margin of error for a random sample of 783 would be +/- 3.5 percent. The random cluster sampling method used for this poll for the non-high-profile interviews, however, would have a sampling error of approximately +/- 5 percent. No sampling error can be calculated for the high-profile cases because they were not selected at random.
 LEXIS(R), provided by Mead Data Central, Inc., is the world's leading full-text computer-assisted legal research service with state, federal and international case law, statutes and specialized law libraries available online.
 The National Law Journal is the nation's largest-selling publication for attorneys.
 -0- 2/14/93/1700
 /CONTACT: Doreen Weisenhaus of the National Law Journal, 212-463-5666 (office) or 212-481-8215 (after hours); or Will Thoretz of Manning, Selvage & Lee, 212-213-7175 (office) or 516-897-7409 (after hours), for Mead Data Central, Inc./
 (MEA)


CO: Mead Data Central, Inc. ST: Ohio IN: PUB SU:

DA -- CL018 -- 6355 02/12/93 18:18 EST
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