A Conversation for Talking Point: Trial by Jury

The Way I See It....

Post 1


....Reading the threads here has me genuinly concerned. Some people want to get rid of the jury system here! They cite it as an outdated model, costs and/or complexity as a reason to get rid of it, or replace it with trained lawyers as a jury! I will deal with these in order....

1. It is ancient and not perfect, but it is well tested and most of the wrinkles ironed out. Changes in technology have put it under a bit of pressure, but it is still less likely to be corrupted (twelve people from different backgrounds, circumstances ideas and dreams being harder to corrupt than a smaller amount of people from similar backgrounds and with similar dreams). Even with the newspapers (sorry, opinionpapers) blaring out how to think I reckon that most people are good and decent.

2. Costs may be expensive but it is an important decision that will be made someones life hangs in the balance - I do not want it to made on the cheap.

3. Complexity - the law is too complex. Hmmmm, here is a tough one but if a law that governs your life is too complex for the average layman to understand after a judge explains it then it is TOO COMPLEX. Change the law. The law does not need to be this complex - no matter what the subject is it doesn't. If it is then that is a failure on the part of lawyers and politicians.

4. Lawyers as judiciary - that is not going to lower the costs and law is a small world - everyone knows each other. Lawyers are human too - and it is a lot more difficult to be impartial with people you know. Do you really want some hungover lawyer voting against you just cause his firm tells him to, or because they lost last week against your lawyer? Other than this a jury consisting entirely of people who are earning 50000+ year may have a bit of difficulty in understanding the life and problems of an immigrant single mother on a council housing estate. The justice system is already skewed against the poor and minorities,

As mentioned above Jury Trial is not perfect but it is well tested. A couple of things that could be tweaked to make it better (in my view) is to make it compulsory (except for people working in the judicial system, jobs that are a matter of life and death, if you have severe health problems or you are a politician). Also your wages should be paid as normal by your employer when you are on a jury.

Jury duty is a civic responsibilty - the extra should be paid and noone should be able to wriggle out of it. A fair justice system needs to be paid for and every member of the society needs to work at it. Well my £0.02 smiley - smiley I will leave this and read it again tomorrow and still see if I agree smiley - smiley Well, until later....
BCNU - Crescent

The Way I See It....

Post 2


Here, Here!!
Might I add, that performing this act for society reminds us of our citizenry; Something the US DESPERATELY needs!!!!
We have this thing we like to say in the US: "Of the People, For the People, and By the People". Unfortunately it is a hollow statement because "the People" are too busy making $$$ to be bothered with civic duty and then cry about government expenditures.

The Way I See It....

Post 3

Math - Playing Devil's Advocate

Yeah I agree we need to keep Jury trials, they have been happening for at least 2400 years (Have you read of the trial of Socrates, he had a jury of 500, and had he persuaded 30 more of them to aquit, he would not have been sentanced to death by drinking hemlock).

So we use juries of 488 less people than Athens did in 400BC, and now the government wants to get rid of those last twelve people in the name of efficency.

I may have almost no faith in my fellow man, but I would still trust a jury over a judge to be fair, because in my opinion everyone has their biases, and the odds of the jury's biases roughley cancelling out are far better than those of having an entirly unbiased judge.

As to understanding the issues, thats what expert witnesses are for, though as can be seen by the fact that both sides of most cases where there is a need will hire expert witnesses to present something that each side can use, we can judge that this is likely to be opinion (obviously there are exceptions).

Anyway I don't want to lose trial by jury, and consider it to be a cornerstone of justice, without which freedom means next to nothing.


The Way I See It....

Post 4


I agree: trial by jury should be for all people and all offenses - or for none. Why should there be one rule for some and not others? As for jury membership: why should it be restricted to those without a criminal record? If you have received your punishment why should you be penalised further by being barred from jury service from most jobs?

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