Dark Flame wrote:
Think how difficult it must be to do jury duty in the first place. It's a bit like being thrown in the deep end of the pool and told you either sink or swim. The failure is more systemic than anything else; it isn't really fair to have a go at the people who get called for jury duty, after all it's not like they asked to be there.
Wow. You usually don't see the guy that got fucked by a jury standing up for them. I wish I knew you in person Chris, because everything I've read from and about you has really shown that you've got a lot of character. Kudos to you.
Oh I'm not sticking up for the jury system
, I'm just being fair: the fact is, you don't who you get on a jury, and you don't know what goes on inside the jury room. The only thing you can hope for is a jury who is either sympathetic towards you or intellectually honest and objective enough that if they're not
sympathetic they can at least reach the right decision ('right' relative to you, I suppose).
The problem usually lies in that the vast majority of people who do jury duty have never been in that kind of situation before, it's an alien environment full of arcane rituals (at least here, the principal protagonists wear robes and wigs, the accused sits in the dock isolated from everyone, the courtroom is austere and impressive, there's a quiet, respectful sort of mood a bit like how I imagine Church must be, you have to stand when the judge enters or leaves etc), and they're not really given any sort of time to acclimatise themselves to the environment before people start telling them to pay attention.
At least here, whenever an objection is made, the jury must be sent out the courtroom because they can't take part in the legal arguments. Maybe some juries resent that - they might feel they're being treated like they're morons. At the end, the judge starts summing up the cases that have been put forward and starts giving legal directions - from my observations at trial, this is a lengthy process and at times it is difficult to maintain your attention. And I'm not an idiot, so if at several points I'm finding it difficult to follow what the judge is talking about, how must the jury feel? So the problem, I believe, seems to be systemic; the atmosphere might need to change, the procedures might need to change, the complicated legalese might need simplifying, who knows.
People are also busier these days as well. So they may not have their minds on the matter 100%, they might be thinking about other things. No way to know that, no way to prevent it; when it comes to juries, you're effectively dealing with the unknown. You take it on faith that they will stick to their vows to do their job, and you have no idea whether they do or don't. Which is scary.
I'm not saying scrap the system, I guess I just want things to be done smarter. Ideally, in a perfect world, if you could have a choice between jury and judge I would pick judge. But even there, you have good judges and bad judges. But I suppose at least you know who you're getting.