professional jurors vs civilian jurors

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Joeman, Jun 3, 2002.

  1. Joeman Eviiiiiiiil Clown Registered Senior Member

    Some countries have professionally trained jurors instead of civilians serving jury duty. I believe every country in Asia with exception of Hong Kong have professional jurors. Do you think that is a better idea?
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  3. *stRgrL* Kicks ass Valued Senior Member

    I think its an excellent idea.
    1 aspect, if your called for jury duty - it sucks! You dont get paid, you have to sit around ALLL day, and most of the time this is a big inconvience.
    2nd aspect, Would you want some JoeBlow off the streets who doesnt want to be there and just wants to hurry up and go home - decide your fate???
    If you get a person educated in Criminal Justice and is getting paid, there is an incentive for the person to make more acurate and more thought out choices.

    Take care

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  5. Adam §Þ@ç€ MØnk€¥ Registered Senior Member

    I have never liked the idea of juries. It's ridiculous to let someone's life be decided by emotional uneducated buffoons in what is should be a house of logic and reason. I prefer the idea of a panel of judges, who at least hopefully would have enough sense to consider only the evidence.
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  7. Brett Bellmore Registered Senior Member

    It's a terrible idea. You don't have the slightest clue WHY we have juries, do you?

    The judge is a government employee.

    The prosecutor is a government employee.

    Your defender may or may not be a government employee, depending on your means, but is certainly licensed by the government.

    The ONLY factor in the trial the government doesn't completely control is the jury.

    The jury isn't there because anybody was under the delusion that 12 nobodys picked at random were the most effective and efficient way of arriving at the truth. They are there to make it harder for the government to railroad people, by seeing to it that the final decision is made by somebody WHO DOESN'T WORK FOR THE STINKING GOVERNMENT! And who, by absolute constitutional rule, can not be punished in any way for how they vote. Can not even be required to explain why they voted the way they did.

    The government has already gone too far in rendering the jury system meaningless, by excluding anybody with half a brain, keeping the carefully selected numbskulls in the dark while feeding them BS, and threatening anybody who informs the resulting mushrooms what their real legal rights and powers are.

    Go to professional juries, and you might as well abolish the jury system altogether.
  8. Adam §Þ@ç€ MØnk€¥ Registered Senior Member

    Whether someone works for the government or not is entirely irrelevent. After all, government employees are eligible for jury duty. The jury system exists because it is supposedly fair, not to support tinfoil-hat-wearing anti-gummint crackpots. However, it is not fair, as it leaves the fate of citizens in the hands of a mob who can be swayed by emotional arguments.

    Does the system of a panel of judges work? Ask Japan and France.
  9. Brett Bellmore Registered Senior Member

  10. Brett Bellmore Registered Senior Member

    By the way, France also has a conviction rate that makes Dove soap look impure. I hear, though, that they've actually adopted a law recently which provides for the presumption of innocence in at least SOME trials, quite a step forward for the French if it's actually enforced.
  11. Adam §Þ@ç€ MØnk€¥ Registered Senior Member

    The reason the Japanese get such a high conviction rate is because they make fewer charges, and those charges only when they have enough evidence to guarantee conviction. Doing anything else is basically a waste of money for them.
  12. Brett Bellmore Registered Senior Member

    Feel free to think that that's the explaination, if it makes you feel better about proposing that we adopt their system of kangaroo courts. Right, they only make one mistake in 1250 cases because they're really careful.

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  13. *stRgrL* Kicks ass Valued Senior Member


    Chill out dude! You DONT have to be a government employee to be a professional juror. Look at bail bondsman, bouny hunters, etc. They are not government employees. The government COULD possibly contract out to a civilian agency. I work for an agency that is contracted through the state. They have standards and regulations that we must abide by, but they cant certainly tell us how to do our jobs.
    Although you do have good points!

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  14. Tyler Registered Senior Member

    How about if only lawyers not currently contracted by the government were available for jury duty?

    I realize there are initially some troubles with small towns in this.
  15. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    Look I don't know all the different systems of justice haven't any of you (execpt adam who MUST know about it) herd of the "separation of powers"?

    It is part of OUR constitution which make the legle system TOTALY (as much as possable anyway) separt from the judital system (thats the judges not the DPP) It takes an act of parliment to remove a judge who is abusing his possition and they are NOT employed by election or parliment but by the judges themselves (i am pritty sure this is right, adam can you check you data base for me on this one)

    they may be on the public payroll but they are NOT goverment employees

    Adam we DEFINITLY DON'T want to be like france or spain were teh prusumption is of guilt rather than inocence

    Jurys ARE payed here and most companys (and the gov) will actully give you your normal wage while you are doing it if you give them whatever the court gives you

    As to whats better jury or a judge, i lean towards juge trials as being fairer but i don't know, i just see judges as being more able to be impartal
  16. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    The US Constitution

    The Sixth Amendment is the start of the process; frequently we hear the phrase, "jury of one's peers". I'll offer this website for a closer examination:
    While a jury of one's peers is not expressly guaranteed by the Constitution, an "impartial jury of the state and district" shall be seated. State and district lend toward the idea of a jury of one's peers, and when combined with the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which reads (in part, 14.1)
    Here we find a guarantee of "due process", and also of "equal protection". And this is where the idea of a jury of one's peers becomes more concrete.

    Two ideas, then, necessarily reflect a jury of one's peers in this light:

    • The jury from the state and district should represent the community in which the crime was committed. It's one of the reasons the race of the jury became so important. When an inner-city minority stands accused before a middle-class, all-white jury, s/he doesn't have a prayer, even if innocent. Racial issues and juries are believed to be a contributing factor to the ethnic imbalances on death row. Philadelphia saw a death row inmate win a new trial due to jury selection problems:
    This is why it becomes crucial to represent the community properly in juries. This does, in fact, fit a broad application of the word "peers".

    • What seals the deal, though, is that the jury must be impartial. The government is allowed to pay jurors because it is not allowed to deprive them of their time without recompense; so much for civic duty. But, nonetheless, professional jurors are more directly paid than civilian jurors.

    In more subjective terms, a jury of one's peers has greater empathy and sympathy toward the accused, an essential condition in a court where the accused is innocent until proven guilty, and in a justice system that draws fine distinctions on the law. As an interesting aside, I should probably look into the shift in philosophy. It used to be that the public convicted the accused before their trial--we used the term "criminal's rights" to describe the Miranda Act. But about the same time that the public conscience began reacting to the jury situation to any effective end, the financiers were under the gun. A guy embezzling millions or ripping people off with phony investments will likely get an acquittal from a "jury of his peers"; that is, people of the community of equal standing. But they didn't get that, either, and now that the rich white folks got smacked by unsympathetic juries ....

    And it's not so much a matter of getting off when one is guilty, either. Rather, it's that in this country, a lot of stuff is only a crime depending on what neighborhood you come from.

    What works to a prosecutor's advantage with a "foreign" jury is the stupid notion that what one sees in court is all there is. We see the difference between documented and experienced reality, and a jury of one's peers might, in fact, understand something about vocal inflection, about body language, and about the formation of attitudes. A sympathetic jury suffers less communication difficulty. Take the OJ trial, for instance. Most of us can conclude that yes, he is guilty of the crime he was accused of. However, by the rules of the court, the state did not prove its case--believe me, I had the time to watch the trial. But people still griped about the jury, and took it up with the black community in the form of a bunch of people letting a guilty guy go. No. What it turned out to be was a bunch of people who were just far enough off the "mainstream" that they weren't going to hand the prosecutors any gifts, and when all was said and done, those gifts were what was needed to convict the defendant. A jury of your peers is going to be understanding toward you as a defendant. A professional jury at least runs the danger of being too educated to understand the common problems between people that become uncommon.

    What, for instance, are the prerequisites to be a professional juror?

    And, having said that, I leave you with this article from FindLaw.

    Juries are essential to liberty. At their best they are the "bulwark of freedom". At their worst, they're socialism in action: distribution of the evil throughout society. Without juries, only the elite get to break the law. If a jury lets a guilty guy go, hey ... now everybody gets a shot at getting away with it. Look at it this way: you can't make crime go away, and it is unacceptable to jail or execute an innocent. Since protecting the people requires that some get away with it (truism) why not distribute that right to get away with it equally?

    And a jury of one's peers is essential, as well. Anyone who was ever punished as a kid for something they didn't do knows exactly what happens if the jury doesn't understand you.

    If you have a good lawyer, though, and a Seattle judge named Chan, you can get away with a lot of things if you forego your jury trial. I watched a lawyer on trial for crimes not pertaining to his practice waive his jury trial once. It was a smart move. His attorney was a local ambulance chaser, a hair splitter. And with a legalistic mind on the bench, one suddenly earns an acquittal on a rape charge because the victim didn't scream loudly enough.

    You think a jury would have let him get away with that? In the end, it was a brilliantly cruel defense. Of course, paying a man $200 an hour to slander your own daughter in order to save your own ass is exactly why you don't want a jury listening to you.

    It works both ways. You have a right to a jury trial. When a defense attorney waives the jury trial, it means there's trouble in the defense and counsel will rely on hair-splitting to get from point A to point J without ever touching on the points between.

    And remember: What Congress did to President Clinton was, technically, illegal. They did it because they knew a jury wouldn't stand for the things they had to do to nail him.

    Or there's the Apprendi case, in which a judge finally overturned a method of compounding convictions so that the jury can convict you of a crime they didn't know you were charged with and which you're not allowed to defend yourself against. (Apprendi was a case related to a hate-crime, but will also have much impact on compulsory distribution charges in the drug war.)

    We need juries. And we need them of our peers. It seems to me that when people try to go around juries, it's because they have something to hide. And that seems significant, if it's a reasonably accurate reflection of reality.

    But it comes down to two rights: right to trial by jury, and right to equal protection under the law. Professional juries will not meet those standards.

    thanx much,

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    Last edited: Jun 5, 2002
  17. goofyfish Analog By Birth, Digital By Design Valued Senior Member

    Professional jurors are an idea that's been kicking around for years. There's some worthwhile arguments for it... but the danger is that professional jurors would become liable to bribery and graft. A well-connected attorney, with jurors on his "pad" would have a license to mint money. Defendants represented by the Public Defender wouldn't have a prayer.

  18. Brett Bellmore Registered Senior Member

    Tiassa, a thoughtful post. But you've got me curious; Which part of the impeachment process, did you think was technically illegal?

    I followed it pretty closely, and the only arguable illegality I recall was the way the Senate refused to let the House managers present their case. Gotta admit, though, the whole thing did become something of a farce after the strategic leaks of dirt on some members of Congress convinced the Republicans that they didn't dare convict him. Those FBI files sure did come in handy in the end, didn't they?
  19. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Brett Bellmore ... I'd say the Grand Jury transcripts, for starters

    The circus-touch of the extra stripes on the Justice's robe was cute but hardly problematic.

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    Specifically, the release of the Grand Jury information to the press and public constituted a felonious violation of Grand Jury law. Every legislator whose vote endorsed the release of that information ought to be thrown in prison. They broke the law and there is no excuse.

    Beyond that, I'm unhappy how they got there. Susan MacDougall served a ridiculous contempt term that destroyed her health for refusing to answer questions about whether she slept with Clinton during an investigation into whether or not she had committed credit card fraud against a former employer. (It should be pointed out that, among the evidence of her crimes were credit card receipts signed by the card holder on days that the card holder acknowledged being present with Ms MacDougall. The whole thing is fishy.)

    A recently-released book, called Blinded by the Right (I forget the author's name and am too lazy to look it up right now) even goes so far as to allege that the Jones harassment was not, in fact, harassment.

    We spent $40 million on a he-said/she-said that would get thrown out of any other court. We applied a different standard of law to this defendant merely because he was the president. You might recall that, despite changing the law in order to allow the Jones investigation, the court noted that it did not expect such an investigation to be of such importance as to interfere with Clinton's executive duties. I think the evaporation of equal protection under the law requires some examination as well.

    But, specifically, the release of Grand Jury documents was highly felonious.

    And, besides, in the case of Congressional hearings, you'll note that the accused had no benefit of an impartial jury. Such is the way of justice.

    thanx much,

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  20. Brett Bellmore Registered Senior Member

    Well, you're right, Clinton didn't have the benefit of an impartial jury. He had something better, a jury that was being blackmailed. Or maybe you didn't notice how the impeachment proceedings took a turn for the farcical immediately after Rep.s Hyde and Livingston's adultery was exposed?

    Mind you, blackmail only works against people who have something to hide; I blame the Republican leadership for being dirty enough to be subject to blackmail.

    "Blinded by the Right"; That would be the book by David Brock, confessed serial liar. Too bad he didn't learn his lesson, and STOP lying... Rather than just switching sides.

    Ok, the release of the grand jury information. Good point, a close one, except that there's a specific exemption from grand jury secrecy allowing for testimony before a grand jury to be released by a court for use in a judicial proceeding. (It can also be released with the consent of the person testfying.) And once it has been so released in a public trial, it becomes public record. So grand jury secrecy isn't quite as absolute as some would like to make it out to be. Now, one can argue that an impeachement isn't really a judical proceeding, despite the similarities, but it's not as though we're talking an open and shut case.

    In fact, Starr was actually required BY LAW to release to Congress all relevant evidence. So he's free and clear, at any rate.

    For the record, I thought the charges brought by the House against Clinton were relatively minor, though any evidence that a person holding an office which constitutionally requires an oath to assume, regards oaths with contempt, is certainly relevant to their fitness to hold that office. As is proof that they were willing to suborn false testimony, and destroy evidence which was under subpoena. (I might have a bit more sympathy for Clinton about the sex related charges, if he weren't the one who signed the bill making it admissible evidence. The moron.) Evidence was available to charge Clinton with much more serious charges, not even tangentially related to sex, but setting those matters aside was part of the process of the Repubicans taking a dive.

    They were in a bit of a fix, actually, those Republicans. They didn't really want to impeach Clinton, and after his blackmail threat didn't dare succeed, but on the other hand, after Starr's report, their base would have tarred and feathered them if they hadn't. So they played it cute, going through the motions, but taking care to take a dive. The Senate, of course, didn't even bother making it look good.
  21. Submarine Registered Member

    Presumption of innocence in France

    Presumption of innocence in France is a long-standing constitutional right, specified in the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen.

    The law alluded to in this forum was meant not to add this right, which already existed, but to prohibit some infringements on this right.

    I do not know whether the conviction rate in France is extremely high, but it is a fact that the procedure, especially for the most severe crimes, discourages from holding a trial if the charges are weak - the chARGES are dropped before the trial instead.

    Trials for severe crimes (outside of organized drug trafficking and terrorism) are always jury trials, even in appeal.

    Note: do not rely on press reports to learn about the legal facts of other countries, they are very often very inaccurate.

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