A jury trial (or trial by jury) is a legal proceeding in which a jury either makes a decision or makes findings of fact which are then applied by a judge. |Advantages |Disadvantages | |Provides certainty, no retrial (subject to recent reforms but only |On acquittal (оправдание) there can be no retrial (subject to recent | |for serious crimes). |reforms but only for serious crimes). | |Retrial available in tainted cases (nobbling) Section 54 Criminal |Jury nobbling believed to be frequent resulting in wrongful acquittals. | |Procedure and Investigation Act 1996.
| | | |No enquiry allowed into jury deliberations after verdict, even if juror | |Section 51 Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1994 creates offence |alleges racial or any other type of bias or wrongdoing by the jury. | |to intimidate or threaten to harm a juror. | | |Prosecution and defence “challenges” correct the problems caused by |Jury vetting is against the principle of random selection. | |random selection. | | |95% of cases dealt with by magistrates, so not a great cost as a |Expense of jury trial. | |percentage spent of the CJ system. | | | |Defendants manipulate the system.
| |Public acceptability of jury decisions. | | |Perverse verdicts enjoy public respect. |Perverse verdicts undermine the principle of justice, and the rule of law. | | |(and are actually very rare) | |Avoiding unjust law or precedents without breaking them. | | | |Defying the will of the democratically elected legislature. | |Perverse jury verdicts can provide a “criminal equity”. |Juries return the wrong verdict – series of miscarriages of justice | | |undermine confidence. | | | | | |Jurors may be tempted to reach a quick verdict in order to get it over | | |with and go home.
| | | | | |Law on jury secrecy could allow the innocent to remain convicted rather | | |than make reasonable enquiries into how verdict was obtained (R v Mirza) | |Involvement of lay people. Trial by peers. |Selection of juries to obtain racial mix not allowed. | | | | |Juries include many ethnic minorities as a percentage of the whole |Ethnic minorities often do not register to vote. | |population (11. 5% are non-white, British – 2001 census), which is | | |wrongly thought to be higher. |Ethnic minorities do not have the language skills to be effective jurors. | |Independent of the executive and the judiciary.
|Can be biased against one party or the other. | | | | |With 12 people any bias is likely to be cancelled out |Local prejudice can be a problem in particularly emotive cases Litchfield | | |moved to Exeter for this reason. | |Common sense; judge strength of witnesses’ evidence themselves. |Are mislead by barristers’ techniques as to strength of evidence. | |Apply common values, e. g. what is “dishonest” |Judge has to explain legal matters. | |Majority verdicts allow justice when there is a ‘rogue’ juror. |Majority verdicts can convict when there is doubt which should have been | | |given to the defendant.
| |Many judges believe jurors usually return the right verdict, very few|Easily influenced by impressive barristers, or the judge. | |appeals from jury verdicts. | | | | | |High correlation in USA studies of jury/judge verdicts. |Juries not required to give reasons for verdicts. | |Judge can correct any unfairness of the array. |Insufficient intellect. Cannot follow complicated tax or fraud cases. | | |Note: can be judge-only trial in some cases. | |Provide a barometer of public opinion. |Inconsistencies throughout the country. | | | | | |Young jurors no life experience. | |Ordinary honest citizens applying local knowledge and values.
|Jury members can have a string of convictions not serious enough to | | |disqualify. | |Reputed to do their best according to the law. | | | |Also, disqualified jurors still find their way into the jury box. | |Civic duty a rare opportunity for citizenship |Role of the jury is merely symbolic of public involvement. | | | | | |Can become bored during the trial. | | | | | |Inconvenience and financial loss to jurors. | |Efficient system, with 800 years of success. |Slow. Some trials e. g. fraud can take many weeks or months. | | | | | |Lack of research defies assessment.
| |Character and honesty can be judged by ordinary persons, it does not |Horrific cases can seriously affect jurors who have to sit through | |require legal skills. |harrowing evidence. | |Public confidence. |The existence of juries distract from real problems in the criminal | | |justice system people believe their existence means the CJ system is | | |functioning well. | |Defendants can elect jury trial. |Many serious cases do not provide for jury trial, for example drink | | |driving. | | | | | |There is no choice but jury trial in indictable offences, summary trial | | |cannot be elected.
| |Juries do understand the burden of proof, and lower it in paedophile |Juries do not understand the burden of proof. | |cases and child murders. | | In countries where jury trials are common, juries are often seen as an important check against state power. Other common assertions about the benefits of trial by jury is that it provides a means of interjecting community norms and values into judicial proceedings and that it legitimizes the law by providing opportunities for citizens to validate criminal statutes in their application to specific trials.
Alexis de Tocqueville also claimed that jury trials educate citizens about self-government. Many also believe that a jury is likely to provide a more sympathetic hearing, or a fairer one, to a party who is not part of the government – or other establishment interest – than would representatives of the state. This last point may be disputed. For example, in highly emotional cases, such as child rape, the jury may be tempted to convict based on personal feelings rather than on conviction beyond reasonable doubt.
Former attorney, then later minister of Justice Robert Badinter, remarked about jury trials in France that they were like “riding a ship into a storm,” because they are much less predictable than bench trials. Another issue with jury trials is the potential for jurors to be swayed by prejudice, including racial considerations. An infamous case was the 1992 trial in the Rodney King case in California, in which white police officers were acquitted of excessive force in the violent beating of a black man by a jury consisting mostly of whites without any black jurors, despite an incriminating videotape of the action.
This led to widespread questioning about the case and riots ensued. The positive belief about jury trials in the UK and the U. S. contrasts with popular belief in many other nations, in which it is considered bizarre and risky for a person’s fate to be put into the hands of untrained laymen. Consider Japan, for instance, which used to have optional jury trials for capital or other serious crimes between 1928 and 1943. The defendant could freely choose whether to have a jury or trial by judges, and the decisions of the jury were non-binding.
During the Tojo-regime this was suspended, arguably stemming from the popular belief that any defendant who risks his fate on the opinions of untrained laymen is almost certainly guilty. Similarly, jury trials were abolished by the government of India in 1960 (this was followed by Pakistan soon afterwards) on the grounds they would be susceptible to media and public influence. One Pakistani Judge called a trial by jury “amateur justice”. Malaysia abolished its jury system from 1 January 1995, citing inter alia the danger of jurors untrained in the legal profession delivering verdicts coloured by emotions or popular perception.
One of the last trials-by-jury in Malaysia was the notorious Mona Fandey case in 1994. Jury trials in multi-cultural countries with a history of ethnic tensions may be problematic, and lead to juries being unduly biased and partial. This is one of the reasons why both India and Pakistan abolished jury trials soon after independence. Indeed, in these countries, a jury trial is seen as a failing of some foreign legal system rather than an advantage; this is despite the fact that both nations are common law countries.
A major issue in jury trials is the secretive (скрытый) nature of the process. While proponents may say that it aids in the protection of liberty by protecting the jury from undue (although what exactly constitutes “liberty”, of course is a subjective issue), opponents contend this prevents there from being a transparent trial. The fact that juries do not often have to give a reason for their verdict is also criticized, since opponents argue it is unfair for a person to be deprived of life, liberty or property without being told why it is being done so.
In contrast where there is a decision by a judge or a bench, they are required to give often detailed reason of both fact and law as to why such a decision is given. One issue that has been raised is the ability of a jury to fully understand statistical or scientific evidence. It has been said that the expectation of jury members as to the explanatory power of scientific evidence has been raised by television in what is known as the CSI effect. In at least one English trial the misuse or misunderstanding or mis-presentation by the Crown prosecution of statistics has led to wrongful conviction.
The advantages and disadvantages of the jury system are a matter of perspective because what is an advantage to one side is a disadvantage to the other. The jury is supposed to be the protector of the individuals rights from the decision of the state by having the case presented to peers or equals of the accused who by being peers can understand the motivation or plight of the accused. Presumably they are to understand the actions of the accused and judge whether the actions were prudent and acceptable to common values of equals in the same society.
If the actions were beyond acceptable response to the circumstance then the accused in guilty and should be punished so that future actions are discouraged and societal standards are maintained. Corporate executives would see actions in a diffrent light than office workers etc. An all black jury would see things differently than an all white jury if the defendant was white or black. Similar cultural experiences of the accused is important in the selection of a jury.
But this is really not an advantage to the state prosecuting the case because a jury of peers can nullify or disregard the statesd action against an accused based on their distaste of the state, while it is an advantage to the accused. (witness the OJ Simpson trial) Prosecutors and Defense attorneys are limited to what can be presented as evidence by existing laws. Evidence has to have been obtained according to established procedures. If the evidence has not been obtained under the accepted constraints, it can not be presented. Thus the jury does not ever hear all of the evidence gathered in a case.
This is either an advantage or disadvantage depending on your perspective. Please note that if the state has evidence that is not gathered in the acceptable way but leads to a possibility that the defendant may be innocent, it has a responsiblity to let the defense attorneys know of its existence even though it may not be presented to the jury. A jury watches a performance and has to make a judgement of the guilt or innocence of the accused based on partial information presented to it by skilled performers, the attornies, both prosecuting and defending.
Since they never hear all of the information and evidence in a case, they have to rely on their life experiences to weigh what they have heard. This works for the accused when the accused has a jury of peers, but it works against society because a guilty person may be freed. Similarly, it works against the accused if the jury are not peers and does not identify with the accused. If we trusted the state, the best way to have a case heard is just before a just judge, who having been a lawyer or trained in law, knows the games that lawyers play in the presentation of their case.
The judge is aware of all the facts in the case, including inadmissable evidence, and also, has knowledge of case law, that is, previous decisions on similarities in previous cases, to account for in rendering a decision. In the current system of jurisprudence, you have prosecutors protecting the laws that a society has promulgated for its continuance, and defense attorneys, vigorously defending their clients from the accusation of having broken those laws.
It is rare, very rare that an accused is innocent because of all the safeguards in place to prevent an innocent person from having to appear in court. In these situations, the defense attorney tries to convince the jury that there is doubt that the state has accused the right individual, based on the limited evidence presented, or that their are circumstances that mitigate the actions of the accused. I hope you can see the answer to you simple question of a very complicated process.