"jury System in the United States"

What is wrong and good with our jury system in the United States(The Pro's & Con's)?



2 thoughts on “"jury System in the United States"

  1. Hello.

    Bertel M. Sparks wrote a great article, "Trial by Jury vs. Trial by

    Judge," which appears on the web site libertyhaven.com:

    http://www.libertyhaven.com/politicsandcurrentevents/constitutionscourtsandlaw/trialjudge.shtml

    The following is my summary of some of the main points made by Sparks.

    Problems with the jury system:

    (1) Time. Jury trials often take two or three times longer than judge

    trials.

    (2) Incompetence. Jurors typically have little legal experience, and

    are not necessarily well-educatedy. They may have difficulty

    understanding not only the judge's instructions but even the facts of

    the case.

    (3) Personality. Jurors may be tempted to view a case as a contest

    between two lawyers and decide the case in favor of the side that they

    like best.

    Benefits of the jury system:

    (1) Community representation. The jury is a representative group from

    the community. Its decision are more likely to reflect society's view

    of justice.

    (2) Flexibility. Judges are more likely to mechanically apply laws.

    Juries are more likely to emphasize fairness rather than a narrow,

    legalistic view of the world.

    (3) Democracy. Ordinary citizens participate in our governmental

    system in two ways: voting and jury service. Abolishing jury service

    would undermine democracy.

    (4) Freedom. In criminal cases, a defendant's freedom (and in some

    cases life) is at stake. Personal freedom is too important to leave in

    the hands of just judges and lawyers. If the government wants to take

    away a person's freedom (or life) the whole society must assent. The

    jury is a microcosm for the whole society.

    Here are some other interesting articles on the subject:

    "Unlocking the Jury Box"

    By Akhil Reed Amar & Vikram David Amar

    Policy Review May-June 1996, on Policyreview.org:

    http://www.policyreview.org/may96/amar.html

    "Our Precious Jury System: It?s Passed the Test of Time"

    By James W. Gilchrist, Jr., on the web site of turnipseed.net:

    http://www.turnipseed.net/jimart2.htm

    "Jury Verdicts Essential to Democratic Justice"

    By Philip M. Damashek, on the web site of lawyer1.com:

    http://www.lawyer1.com/lawyers/library/systems_1.htm

    The following speech is from Australia, but many of the same

    principles would apply to U.S. juries:

    "Delivering Justice in a Democracy III – The Jury of the Future"

    by The Hon Justice M D Kirby, from the High Court of Australia:

    http://www.hcourt.gov.au/speeches/kirbyj/kirbyj_dublin1.htm

    search strategy: "jury system," democracy, freedom, competence

    I hope this helps.

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