A Conversation for Talking Point: Trial by Jury

Old age judges

Post 1

Mr Inertia - Now new, improved and mostly human!

When some of our judges are past the age of retirement, I don't think they have a grasp on what is currently "in vogue". If they enforced the age of retirement for judges and not allow them to sit at age 80 and more, then I think we would have better sentencing, and probably a better judiciary in general.
I still think the need for a jury trial is necessary basically because, if the judge is having a bad day he might find the defendant guilty even though there is insufficient evidence, or find a defendant innocent because they look like a businessman and meet some idealised conception of a criminal.
Besides that, I have yet to see a system that works as well as a jury trial (for better or worse). The burden of evidence is, as it should be, on the prosecution (innocent until proven guilty and all that), and they have to convince 12 people drawn (supposedly) at random that whoever is in the dock is guilty of the crime in question. If they removed the right of a trial by jury, what would it be replaced with? Is one judge able to apply impartiality when presiding over complex cases? I know there is only one judge is magistrates court, but they tend to be simpler cases (a generalisation, I know).
If you take a conviction to the appeal court, there are usually three judges to convince, but that would be expensive for day-to-day cases so I don't think that would be financially feasible.
All-in-all, I thiknk we should leave the present system as it is, but it might be worth having another look at the payments made to jurors for loss of earnings, and maybe having some sort of lower IQ limit (although how that would be tested would have to be clarified).

Old age judges

Post 2


It sounds like you are saying that judges (or people in general), have a tendency to become biased with age. Impartiality is supposed to be one of the things that make a judge qualified to begin with. Why would age have a bearing? If the judge is impartial, it makes no difference what is perceived to be "in vogue".
And by the way, judge or plumber, no one is perfect. If you must present yourself in a court of law you should make the assumption that everyone is out to get you and everyone is extremely biased; Dress appropriately, don't blaspheme, and for God's sake, don't chew gum. This would not be the time to be "cool" or "shiek" or whatever "in vogue" means today.

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