Log In Sign Up

Should we get rid of trial by jury?


Forum: Heated Debates

Notices

Welcome to the JustMommies Message Boards.

We pride ourselves on having the friendliest and most welcoming forums for moms and moms to be! Please take a moment and register for free so you can be a part of our growing community of mothers. If you have any problems registering please drop an email to boards@justmommies.com.

Our community is moderated by our moderation team so you won't see spam or offensive messages posted on our forums. Each of our message boards is hosted by JustMommies hosts, whose names are listed at the top each board. We hope you find our message boards friendly, helpful, and fun to be on!

Reply Post New Topic
  Subscribe To Heated Debates LinkBack Topic Tools Search this Topic Display Modes
  #1  
June 13th, 2010, 06:14 AM
Quantum_Leap's Avatar frequent flier
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Seattle area, Washington
Posts: 9,749
In the U.S. we take it for granted that our criminal trials are done in front of both a jury and a judge. The judge is the arbiter of the law, and decides which laws are relevant to the case, while the jury, meant to serve as a sample of ordinary society, is the arbiter of the facts. We see this as a basic principle of justice. However, it is definitely not the norm internationally. In Europe, most trials are done in front of a judge only, with no jury involved.

Quote:
The U.S. is one of few countries that relies heavily on juries. It's been estimated that the United States accounts for 95% of all jury trials in the world. Even England no longer uses juries as heavily as we do.
ABA Talking Points: Trial by Jury

Many have proposed getting rid of our jury system and moving towards use of a judge only, for a variety of reasons, including:

Quote:
It is said that the jury causes a great waste of time. It has been pointed out that a trial by jury usually requires from two to three times the amount of time required when the jury trial is waived and the case is tried to a judge. It is said that this causes considerable delay and that the courts get so far behind trying ordinary cases that it becomes impossible to obtain justice in a given case within a reasonable time.

It is also said that the jury is incompetent to determine many of the issues that come before it. They are men and women taken from everyday life, unfamiliar with courtroom procedure and courtroom language. They are misled by the judgeís instruction, misunderstand the law, and give unfair or prejudiced decisions.

It is also said that the jury is likely to become intrigued by the two contesting lawyers, jurors are likely to decide the case according to what they think of the lawyers rather than what they think of the rights of the parties involved.

Another charge made against the jury is that they canít understand the complicated transactions involved in many cases they are asked to decide. They donít understand what a bill of lading is. They donít know what is meant by goods being sold on consignment. They canít understand some of the embezzlement cases.[1] In the personal injury cases, they are in no position to fix damages. They canít estimate the value of a broken leg, a destroyed brain, a mangled body, or even a damaged automobile.
Trial by Jury vs. Trial by Judge | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty


What are your thoughts?
__________________

Thank you to the SSMC makers for my beautiful siggies!

(x2)(x2)(October 2011)
Reply With Quote
  #3  
June 13th, 2010, 08:28 AM
IAmMomMomIAm
Guest
Posts: n/a
My knowledge of the justice system is almost completely limited to what I learned from Law and Order - take that as you will.

It would seem that at least some cases would be decided completely differently if there was no jury involved. The idea of an illegal search would be moot, since the judge would already know they found a murder weapon illegally. It would be difficult for the judge to just ignore the fact that they found a murder weapon with DNA and finger prints, but since it was found illegally it means nothing. The jury doesn't know about said murder weapon, and is able to try the case without that knowledge. My point with the example is that judges "know too much" about the case at hand, and may have a hard time separating what they actually know from what they legally know.

However, it works in other countries, so..
Reply With Quote
  #4  
June 13th, 2010, 02:07 PM
WineKeepsMeSane's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: May 2007
Location: where chili has beans
Posts: 13,348
I'm leaning towards ditching the jury. As cases and evidence become more complicated I think a level of expertise is needed to sift through the information. Also complicating this are shows like CSI, Law & Order, etc. because they make people think they know more about the law and forensics than they do and will use that in their decision (even though they're not supposed to). I can't cite a case on this, but I heard that from a lawyer, who was completely flabergasted about a case where a woman from the jury was interviewed on tv. They acquitted the accused because the state didn't produce particular evidence - which doesn't actually exist, it was made up for tv shows.
__________________
Ashley, mommy to Mackenzie 01/01/08

Reply With Quote
  #5  
June 13th, 2010, 02:17 PM
AMDG's Avatar Margaret
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Denver metro area
Posts: 2,988
Quote:
Originally Posted by amegra View Post
I'm leaning towards ditching the jury. As cases and evidence become more complicated I think a level of expertise is needed to sift through the information. Also complicating this are shows like CSI, Law & Order, etc. because they make people think they know more about the law and forensics than they do and will use that in their decision (even though they're not supposed to). I can't cite a case on this, but I heard that from a lawyer, who was completely flabergasted about a case where a woman from the jury was interviewed on tv. They acquitted the accused because the state didn't produce particular evidence - which doesn't actually exist, it was made up for tv shows.
Yes, those TV shows have definitely had a negative impact on the jury system. People nowadays want to see DNA evidence or other forensics or they aren't satisfied. Nobody really understands "beyond a reasonable doubt" and often it is those four words that trip up a jury. But, I still like our jury system.
Now, if you will allow me to get on my soap box for 2 seconds
I hope all of you take it seriously when you get a summons to be on a jury - the system will only work if average citizens take it seriously and step up and do their duty and take the case they are on seriously. Often working middle class do everything and anything in their power to get out of the jury pool and so we end up with a crowd of senior citizens and unemployed young adults with nothing better to do.
Thanks! I'm done now.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
June 13th, 2010, 02:51 PM
*Jillian*'s Avatar Baby #3 on the way
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Alabama
Posts: 11,298
Quote:
Originally Posted by AMDG View Post
Yes, those TV shows have definitely had a negative impact on the jury system. People nowadays want to see DNA evidence or other forensics or they aren't satisfied. Nobody really understands "beyond a reasonable doubt" and often it is those four words that trip up a jury. But, I still like our jury system.
Now, if you will allow me to get on my soap box for 2 seconds
I hope all of you take it seriously when you get a summons to be on a jury - the system will only work if average citizens take it seriously and step up and do their duty and take the case they are on seriously. Often working middle class do everything and anything in their power to get out of the jury pool and so we end up with a crowd of senior citizens and unemployed young adults with nothing better to do.
Thanks! I'm done now.
I have ALWAYS wanted to be called for jury duty and the one time they call me I had to have it excused because I have no child care plus I was nursing and I can't pump enough to feed a kitten. I was disappointed.
__________________

















Reply With Quote
  #7  
June 13th, 2010, 02:53 PM
WineKeepsMeSane's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: May 2007
Location: where chili has beans
Posts: 13,348
I just got called! But I was supposed to report the day before I was going out of town for a conference I was a co-chair of.... so it's been deferred. I'm supposed to be recalled in September.
__________________
Ashley, mommy to Mackenzie 01/01/08

Reply With Quote
  #8  
June 13th, 2010, 03:51 PM
**Badfish**'s Avatar Worth Saving
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Colorado
Posts: 7,141
Quote:
Originally Posted by AMDG View Post
Yes, those TV shows have definitely had a negative impact on the jury system. People nowadays want to see DNA evidence or other forensics or they aren't satisfied. Nobody really understands "beyond a reasonable doubt" and often it is those four words that trip up a jury. But, I still like our jury system.
Now, if you will allow me to get on my soap box for 2 seconds
I hope all of you take it seriously when you get a summons to be on a jury - the system will only work if average citizens take it seriously and step up and do their duty and take the case they are on seriously. Often working middle class do everything and anything in their power to get out of the jury pool and so we end up with a crowd of senior citizens and unemployed young adults with nothing better to do.
Thanks! I'm done now.
This.

TV law dramas affect law enforcement across the board. It's especially frustrating for police departments when victims expect their cases will be cleared in 48 minutes with the use of high-tech crime scene analysis.

If jurors pay attention during jury instructions and ask appropriate questions, then the system works. There's no need for jurors to have legal knowledge rivaling those with a JD. Pre-trial proceedings can be a little tough to follow but trials are fairly straight forward.

Anyway, a trial by jury is a Constitutional right and judges sometimes have agendas. I would never, ever advocate getting rid of the jury system.
__________________





Reply With Quote
  #9  
June 13th, 2010, 04:02 PM
WineKeepsMeSane's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: May 2007
Location: where chili has beans
Posts: 13,348
Quote:
judges sometimes have agendas
I completely agree with this, and it's the reason I'm not 100% on the side of getting rid of juries. What I really want is juries full of educated people who don't make their choices based on tv shows
__________________
Ashley, mommy to Mackenzie 01/01/08

Reply With Quote
  #10  
June 13th, 2010, 07:04 PM
IAmMomMomIAm
Guest
Posts: n/a
I've only been called for Jury duty once, and I was still in high school. However, if someone like my husband got called.. we'd be pretty screwed if he missed enough work to sit through a trial. I'm not how the average working middle class is supposed to find the time and money to do it.

Last edited by IAmMomMomIAm; June 13th, 2010 at 07:10 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
June 13th, 2010, 07:52 PM
**Badfish**'s Avatar Worth Saving
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Colorado
Posts: 7,141
Most trials only take about a day, including juror selection. It has to be pretty high-profile to last more than a couple of days. If your employer offers sick days, then I'm pretty sure law requires them to allow you to use them to cover jury duty if you want.
__________________





Reply With Quote
  #12  
June 13th, 2010, 08:09 PM
IAmMomMomIAm
Guest
Posts: n/a
Ah. I was under the impression they took longer than that. Again, Law and Order at work. Except for my husband every single one of his sick days for the last three years was used when a baby was born! But two days off work isn't a HUGE deal.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
June 13th, 2010, 08:19 PM
HappyHippy's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Pavia, Italy
Posts: 5,959
I'm not a fan of a jury and I wouldn't ever want to be one. If I was on trial I would rather have knowledgable people about the law rather than radomly selecting people. I also think a lot of times when you have a jury many of those may play on emotions depending on the case.
__________________
Mama to G, L & twins F & M
Started off 2013 homebirthing suprise twins Fia Celesta & Maddalena Isabella
Reply With Quote
  #14  
June 13th, 2010, 09:41 PM
SamuelsMommy's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Indiana
Posts: 16,541
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jess is Write View Post
Anyway, a trial by jury is a Constitutional right and judges sometimes have agendas. I would never, ever advocate getting rid of the jury system.
I agree. That being said, I served jury duty at 19 and it was the biggest bunch of unintelligent people I have ever met. There was only one other guy who even understood the judge's instructions to us. If I had heard one more time something along the lines of, "But I don't want to be the person who decides if she goes to jail or not," I could have screamed. What part of "don't consider the possible sentence" didn't they understand? Rational discussion, I could handle, such as why the prosecution didn't put the second officer witness on the stand but by and large these people dwelled on insignificant details or brought up issues that had no bearing on the case. So I can see some of the point about why juries waste time etc. The hady was so obviously guilty it was unreal, but we still deliberated for almost two days. But no system is perfect, so I think we've got the best that can be done.
__________________

Reply With Quote
  #15  
June 13th, 2010, 09:54 PM
mayandsofiasmommy's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: CA
Posts: 12,545
While I do realize that the people selected for juries could be less than intelligent, I still think having a jury is important. I do not think the majority of people who are convicted of crimes could get a FAIR trial if there was only a judge. Face it, who are most of the judges? White men. Having a jury of your "peers" is important. Sure, it's going to be slower and probably cost more money, but I do think it is the fairer way.

I get called for jury duty a lot. They say they don't "pick" but I get called almost every year or every other year. I also always see a LOT of other teachers there. Also, if you have an employer, they must give you time off. You can usually use sick days or even other days. If you work hourly and your employer would just say well then you don't get paid, you can put that down as an excuse and be excused. I did this when I was a waitress, and DH just did that since he is the child care provider.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JennTheMomma View Post
I'm not a fan of a jury and I wouldn't ever want to be one. If I was on trial I would rather have knowledgable people about the law rather than radomly selecting people. I also think a lot of times when you have a jury many of those may play on emotions depending on the case.
But it's actually not randomly selecting people. The lawyers ultimately choose, and they try to get a jury that represents you as best they can.
Yeah, plenty of ignorant people, but that is the general population. Yes, lawyers play on emotions. I would be a lot more scared of getting an incorrect verdict if it was JUST a judge. One person making a huge decision is not going to fair.
__________________

Reply With Quote
  #16  
June 13th, 2010, 10:45 PM
MrsSarah1's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: California
Posts: 2,617
I like the jury trial. I think it's as fair as fair can be. Everyone can have agendas.. the judge, the jurors.. everyone.

However, I hate being called in. Thankfully when I have, the judge has accepted my excuse. I don't get paid through work to be a juror. I would get no paycheck, aside from the what.. $7 a day? So when the 2-5 week trial comes to a close, who is going to pay my $1,385 mortgage? Again, thankfully the judge has always accepted my excuse as to why I can't serve, but it's frustrating.
__________________
A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the
present, and the hope and promise of the future.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
June 14th, 2010, 07:17 AM
*SamF*'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 16,621
Send a message via Yahoo to *SamF*
From my experience you don't always get the most intelligent people on a jury. I served on a jury last year for the first time (and of course get a murder case), and there were a few people that just couldn't grasp basic concepts. There were also gloves involved in this one and they kept going to OJ's case, and the wearing of the gloves in our case was completely different. Many times you just wanted to bang your head into a wall. (in mine the question wasn't if he did it, but if it was intentional and premeditated)

But, not sure what would have to be changed constitutionally or legally since it's a right in this country to be tried by a jury of your peers. I also like the fact that a jury is less likely to be truly jaded.
__________________


Reply With Quote
  #18  
June 14th, 2010, 08:58 AM
HappyHippy's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Pavia, Italy
Posts: 5,959
Quote:
Originally Posted by mayandsofiasmommy View Post
But it's actually not randomly selecting people. The lawyers ultimately choose, and they try to get a jury that represents you as best they can.
Yeah, plenty of ignorant people, but that is the general population. Yes, lawyers play on emotions. I would be a lot more scared of getting an incorrect verdict if it was JUST a judge. One person making a huge decision is not going to fair.
I know, and I have a problem with that. What I ment by random is that the people may or may not have any law background. They play on your emotions. I have a friend who is a lawyer and said that if they have a case that has to do with a child, like child molestation for instance, they want to get moms and dads on the jury, mostly moms though. So they can convict the man/woman of the crime because the moms a lot of times will decide he is guilty before hearing anything. Playing on emotions. Especially if these moms/dads have kids the same age as the victim. I'm not a fan of having a jury, I know I don't want to ever be one, and hopefully I won't have to.
__________________
Mama to G, L & twins F & M
Started off 2013 homebirthing suprise twins Fia Celesta & Maddalena Isabella
Reply With Quote
  #19  
June 14th, 2010, 09:28 AM
Beneath_The_Rose's Avatar WTTC #1
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 331
I will not claim to be an expert having never even been in a jury myself but for what my 2 cents is worth I have sometimes wondered if juries are ever really fair. There are many things that certain people will just be prejudiced on regardless of the evidence. Juries will almost always favor women who claim to be raped, a jury will always listen to a child who claims to have been abused by someone even if there is no evidence against the person at all.

Every day men and women are easily swayed by emotions when knowing nothing about legal jargon and it just sets up an unfair position.
__________________


still waters run deep


How easily the mind can be turned to hate from a place of fear - an instinctive, natural, protective response.
Instead of focusing on the things that unite us, we focus on what divides us
-Thrall


*FaceBook*
*Myspace*

Last edited by Beneath_The_Rose; June 14th, 2010 at 09:30 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
June 14th, 2010, 10:00 AM
HappyHippy's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Pavia, Italy
Posts: 5,959
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beneath_The_Rose View Post
Every day men and women are easily swayed by emotions when knowing nothing about legal jargon and it just sets up an unfair position.
Completely agree.
__________________
Mama to G, L & twins F & M
Started off 2013 homebirthing suprise twins Fia Celesta & Maddalena Isabella
Reply With Quote
Reply

Topic Tools Search this Topic
Search this Topic:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:10 AM.



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0