The Right to a Well-Rested Jury

Caroline Howe*

The vast amount of control that state trial judges exercise over the dynamics of their courtrooms is well established. The length of trial days and jury deliberations, however, has received little scholarly attention. Longstanding research has conclusively established the disruptive effects of sleep deprivation on many of the mental facilities necessary for juries to competently fulfill their duties. By depriving juries of sleep, trial judges may be compromising the fair rights of criminal defendants for the sake of efficiency. This Note argues that trial judges must use their discretion to ensure juries are well-rested, keeping jurors’ needs in mind. Further, state legislatures have a responsibility to properly fund state courts and to pass legislation that ensures overlong tri-al days do not impact verdicts handed down.

*J.D., May 2019, University of Michigan Law School. Thank you to my wonderful parents for all of their support. Thank you to the members of the Michigan Law Review, especially Kristin Froehle, the Notes Office, and my two amazing Notes editors, Sarah Mezera and Samantha Jaffe.

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