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The Professional Jury

Posted Jun 17, '13 at 7:10am

Moegreche

Moegreche

2,855 posts

Moderator

Most of us, I imagine, are familiar with the jury system in the Western world. Citizens (usually registered voters) are summoned to jury duty where they are either assigned to a trial or released.
My question is: Would it be beneficial to have people whose job it is to be a juror?
There are 2 reasons right off the bat that I think motivate this move. First, being on a jury can sometimes be a genuine hardship for your average citizen. Missing work, getting to the courthouse (and having to pay for parking or transportation), and basically putting their lives on hold for a few days to several weeks can by trying.
The second reason is that jurors are often asked to do things that are quite difficult for many of us. Suppose a piece of evidence gets introduced but is then thrown out. The jury is instructed to disregard this piece of evidence. It's very hard for most of us to actually do this. If the police find a bloody knife in the defendant's house but the search is illegal, we have a hard time ignoring this 'smoking gun' evidence. But a professional juror who has been trained on how to reason through evidence properly might not have the same difficulties.

So I'm wondering what you guys think. Would this actually solve any problems? Would it just create a different set of problems? And is it even practical to try to implement?

 

Posted Jun 17, '13 at 7:16am

partydevil

partydevil

5,109 posts

Most of us, I imagine, are familiar with the jury system in the Western world. Citizens (usually registered voters) are summoned to jury

correction:

this is the usa jury system. by far most of the western world is not using this system. because the jury members are more easy to be blackmailed or bribed. or the jury can feel threaten by the public resulting in failing of giving a adequate punishment.

 

Posted Jun 17, '13 at 7:47am

StDrake

StDrake

191 posts

In fact, much of the "western world" outside the U.S. does have professional jurors - that's the task of the judges, sometimes even appearing in more than a single person.

 

Posted Jun 17, '13 at 8:07am

Moegreche

Moegreche

2,855 posts

Moderator

I had no idea this system was already in place! Thanks so much for the clarification. I feel especially embarrassed since I've been living in the UK for nearly 3 years now.
Would it be fair to say, then, that the US system has fallen behind in this respect? I'm also wondering if the additional verdict of 'Not Proven' which isn't present in the US system would make a big difference.
That being said, I've read about a number of cases that didn't even make it to trial here in the UK due to insufficient evidence. These were borderline cases here in the UK but would have easily gone to trial (and probably would have gotten a conviction) in the US.
I'm having to rethink my entire appraisal of the justice system now. But is it clear that one system is 'better' than the other?

 

Posted Jun 17, '13 at 8:37am

partydevil

partydevil

5,109 posts

Would it be fair to say, then, that the US system has fallen behind in this respect?

absolutely. but they do not want to change it because they say it is more democratic....

cases that didn't even make it to trial here in the UK due to insufficient evidence. These were borderline cases here in the UK but would have easily gone to trial (and probably would have gotten a conviction) in the US.

if there is insufficient evidence. then you are unable to fully proof the guilt of a person. and a person is not guilty until he is proven guilty.
so if they know they dont have the evidence needed. then it is only a waste of time and money to take this person to a judge.
(you havn't said the cases. so to assume they would be convicted in the usa is bare speculation.)

I'm having to rethink my entire appraisal of the justice system now.

here is some help.

But is it clear that one system is 'better' than the other?

depends who you ask. if you ask me. yes, the usa system has many flaws. the other system has flaws aswell. but not that many.

 

Posted Jun 17, '13 at 9:25am

Moegreche

Moegreche

2,855 posts

Moderator

Thanks for the link, partydevil. I'll definitely take some time and look through that.
As for specific cases, it's hard to recall them. One that sticks out is a guy who (allegedly) stole a car, ended up hitting a pedestrian and fled the scene. They had the guy's fingerprints on the steering wheel, and eye witness who saw him get in the car a few hours prior to the hit and run, and CCTV footage. But the footage was blurry and you could only make out one occupant in the car, but it was just too blurry to get a positive identification on the driver.
The procurator's office declined to prosecute because they couldn't place the guy in the car at the time of the hit and run. I agree with your point about not wanting to waste time on a trial with insufficient evidence. I guess I just feel like something is owed to the victim to try and get a conviction. With the timeline clearly in place and no other fingerprints in the car, I have a hard time seeing room for reasonable doubt. But I have an even harder time accepting that the evidence was insufficient to even attempt to get a conviction.

On a side note, I was thinking about the jury thing and I have to assume that some sort of jury selection similar to that in the US takes place here in the UK. I just read in the paper the other day about a juror getting dismissed for a comment he made that the defendant was "guilty as *******". I guess I just need to do more research!

 

Posted Jun 17, '13 at 12:09pm

partydevil

partydevil

5,109 posts

But I have an even harder time accepting that the evidence was insufficient to even attempt to get a conviction.

i believe the people that are on that case are professional enough to call the evidence enough or not.

The procurator's office declined to prosecute because they couldn't place the guy in the car at the time of the hit and run.

if he really couldn't have been there...

I guess I just need to do more research!

linky link ^^

 

Posted Jun 17, '13 at 1:27pm

thepunisher93

thepunisher93

1,859 posts

I think this "jury system" sucks.
Law is just like any other profession and you have to devout your life to it to learn it, and be called an expert, but unlike other proffessions, failing to do your job adequately can mean that some one's life be destroyed or a potential threat to society be let go.
Here in saudi arabia, there is no jury duty , just judges who have studied law & Faqah for most part of their lives.

 

Posted Jun 17, '13 at 2:27pm

pangtongshu

pangtongshu

8,704 posts

There are problems with both systems.

With the U.S., you basically have it pointed out. So no need to talk about it myself.

For the other way..we of course would want to have juror's that are fluent in logic and reason and are able to always keep them in check. Also, I feel like constantly being a part of many trials would eventually begin to take a toll on the jurors...either causing them to become immune, per se, to the horrors of such deeds or cause them to become so disgusted with seeing such constant actions that assumptions become created quickly.

 

Posted Jun 17, '13 at 3:43pm

Salvidian

Salvidian

3,950 posts

Also, I feel like constantly being a part of many trials would eventually begin to take a toll on the jurors...either causing them to become immune, per se, to the horrors of such deeds or cause them to become so disgusted with seeing such constant actions that assumptions become created quickly.

Oh absolutely. If a professional jury is ever instilled on the USA, I can definitely imagine this will eventually happen. A large problem with courts, both professional and "conventional" (according to the US' traditions anyway), seems to be desensitization. The media desensitizes, video games desensitize, prolonged exposure to horrors desensitizes, and just about anything else that can be considered "bad" will desensitize you as well. I don't think desensitization can/will ever be cured, but I know it won't be soon, if ever.

Anyway, my point is: what does it matter? Surely, in "conventional" US courts, there are some certain individuals that have been exposed to some sort of violence, or sexual content, or theft that leaves them emotionless when emotion matters. Might certain average citizens be more desensitized than veteran professional jurors?

 
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