crime

Jury member loses cool in Miyagi high school girl rape case

67 Comments

A male member of the lay jury in a Sendai District Court case was cautioned by a judge on Thursday after he was unable to contain his emotion, and began to use inappropriate language toward the defendant in a rape trial.

The defendant, Kazuhiko Yuki, a 39-year-old truck driver and resident of Osaki City, is accused of forcing a 15-year-old girl off her bicycle on Oct 2 last year, threatening her with a knife and raping her, breaking her right wrist in the process.

The jury member began his questions with: “Do you feel this trial is long?”

The defendant replied: “Yeah, it’s long.”

“Don’t you think it’s a hassle?”

“I can’t do anything about that.”

The jury member raised his voice. “Did you ever think it was bad luck you got caught?”

“No, I didn’t.”

The jury member continued to stare at the defendant. “Can you say you’ll never do it again? And how strongly do you feel that way?”

The defendant sat silent for 30 seconds.

The jury member leaned forward. “No reply. Since yesterday, you’ve been giving us the right answers, saying you regret what you did and are reflecting on what you’ve done. Well, your reflection lies ahead of you. You piss me off.”

At this point, the judge on the jury panel stepped in and said: “That will be enough.”

The jury member apologized and sat back in his seat, asking no further questions for the day.

© News reports

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67 Comments
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Loosing your cool is when a knife magically appears in you hand. What this guy did was break decorum.

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Note to the bureaucrats organizing the jury system "make sure all jurors have no 'nads before you impanel them, or otherwise juries might actually start thinking for themselves like this chap"

Boy talk about the wheels falling off, obviously this juror did not get the memo regarding how to behave in court. Specifically, in this jurors are only supposed to nod their heads (preferably in unison) and yield to those in charge (the judge).

Then again, it good to know there are people who can see beyond the pantomime that is the Japanese legal process, where defendants often escape a sentence that is in keeping with their crime, simply because they shed a couple of crocodile tears. Anyway, I hope this juror and his colleagues bang up this rapist for a nice long sentence.

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Justice is blind, and should also be unemotional.

I don't think it's a good idea to let jury members (lay judges) and defendants talk directly to each other. Leave that to the lawyers who have spent years training for it.

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Gimme a break. I pray I'm never brought before a jury in this country.

This juror should be given the flick.

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One of the biggest problems with stories such as this one is that, when translated, they refer to a lay member of the panel as a jury member. Japan had a jury system in the 20s and 30s, then got rid of it. When Japan decided to "reform" its criminal justice system at the turn of this century, it explicitly rejected the notion of instituting a jury system such as that used in the US and in the British Commonwealth countries. Instead, it chose to adopt a "citizen judge" system that is an amalgam of the systems used in France and Germany.

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I don't think it's a good idea to let jury members (lay judges) and defendants talk directly to each other. Leave that to the lawyers who have spent years training for it.

Absolutely agree with Cleo on this. To permit this in court proceding is to open the door to all kinds of problems with the jury. Juries should be seen and not heard until the reading of the verdict.

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You can just tell you're going to get a fair trial here...

They might as well walk down to the preschool at the end of the block and ask those 5 year old's to put together a pretend court and you could come up with a more suitable environment...

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The juror in question was probably the jury foreman, however I would have thought that his questions should have been directed at the defence counsel ? If there was no defence counsel then this sounds about right and the judge would not have allowed the direct questioning if there was defence counsel present. I totally agree with what the juror had to say to the rapist, especially if the rapist had already admitted his guilt. A 15 year old schoolgirl ? And broke her wrist ? Why are there so many idiots on here directing their anger at the juror ? How about the 39 year old rapist of a 15 year old schoolgirl ?

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I have no knowledge of the system in Japan, but I'm pretty certain the jury members don't get a right to cross-examine the witnesses or defendant. It is up to teh prosecutor and defense to put the cases forward.

In the US certainly, I'm sure this would be sufficient to force a mis-trail, or at least replacement of the jury member.

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breaking her wrist doesn't matter. If he hadn't would it be any different?

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this "jury" system Jpn has created is weird to say the least, to have jurors directly be able to raise questions is just frigging bizarre, and from the line of questioning this twit went off on, just what bloody use are these jurors going to be!

If this is any indication of how its going to "work" I wud rather be in front a dictator than a J-jury, this looks like its going to be a pretty weird damned process with no sense of justice even figuring into things, but then again this is Jpn.......just pray you never have to have to sit in the defense for something here or its going to be........well who knows what it will be.

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Is this a sentencing hearing? If he is a defendant then how can they ask him questions such as that? This is bizarre and confusing if one is considered innocent until proven guilty.

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Someone has been watching too many hollywood tv shows.

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breaking her wrist doesn't matter. If he hadn't would it be any different?

The broken wrist acknowledgement is important because it shows that violence was used excessively during the rape. This juror is merely venting his frustration at proceedings not completing, especially as it sounds like the defendant had admitted his guilt the day before. I would also have lost my temper if confronted with a piece of trash like that wasting taxpayers money.

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The Japanese legal system is something I'm not familiar with, so I can't comment on that specifically, but kudos to the juror. It's a rape case...I hope this is the tip of the iceberg for the perp.

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The new system might indirectly lead to more openness and this will take time. It exposes Japanese citizens to the way the police work, to the way the police solve cases and extract confessions. To that extent, I believe that the citizens are more informed about the way their government operates and I think that is a good thing for a country and it is a good thing for a democracy. Japan has a notoriously high conviction rate, often based on admissions of guilt during police questioning. It's unlikely the new jury system will have a significant impact on the conviction rates. Some people think that with the jury system that is going to reduce the 99.9 percent conviction rate. I have doubts that that is going to happen because citizens are likely to rule the way judges rule.

This new system will require that witnesses come to court and testify and they will be subjected to cross-examination. The process is going to be more transparent and exposed to scrutiny, and I think that is a real benefit of the system.

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Why in the world are juries allowed to question defendants? Does this happen in any other country? Do they give these jurors any guidance on how to ask questions of a defendant who has already pleaded guilty? Despite losing your cool like that, that's a tough spot to be put in. I think most guys would react the way this juror did to a guy who broke a girls wrist while raping her.

Kind of tough to ask questions without much guidance of what you are looking for.

P.S. "You piss me off." Is the best he could come up with?

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The judge had to intervene already after the first of these series of unrelated and irrelevant questions. It also sheds a dim light on the defendants counsel, who also could and should have intervened.

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Too bad the Juror listened to the judge, apologized and sat back. If I was him, I would start to break dance immediately, throw 6 kung fu kicks on the defendant and walk out in a fit of rage!

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Good old Yamato justice by the village elder. Love it or leave it.

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cleo at 10:20 AM JST - 20th November

Justice is blind, and should also be unemotional.

I don't think it's a good idea to let jury members (lay judges) and defendants talk directly to each other. Leave that to the lawyers who have spent years training for it.

Absolutely, Cleo.. Not just a reasonable point but a fact.

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Wow, what an amazing guy! Lay juror, lay judge, call him what you like but he sure knows scum when he sees it. Put him on the jury for the Ichihashi trial please!

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I sincerely hope this guy gets the maximum punishment. (Hopefully death) The amount of social acceptance that goes with crimes against young women in this country is unacceptable and needs examples to be made. I wouldnt say death usually, but based on the q/a above, it is clear this guy doesnt give a shit and is just saying what he needs to in order to get cleared.

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If you cannot handle the jury in Japan, maybe you should think twice before committing the crime. These dramas should be televised

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I would imagine a 39year old male living in a cave to be capable of that behavior. Poor girl. But just hope very much that she was not dressed provocatively. No matter what, how dare that man.....

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The judge let things go on too long.

I thought this panel thing was for sentencing and not the actual trial itself

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Oh woe is thee who believes in a fair justice system. It is necessary that the worst of the worst still get the best defense available to ensure that the system remains fair. In other words, no prejustice. If this continues we will soon be back to the British system of justice that the world uniformly rejected as abominable.

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However guilty he may be I don't think that any person involved in the court proceedings should be allowed to berate a defendant. It makes a mockery of the system as a witch-hunt mob justice type of proceeding. Totally unprofessional.

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Why are there so many idiots on here directing their anger at the juror ? How about the 39 year old rapist of a 15 year old schoolgirl ?

I completely understand your feeling, northlondon, we just don't need retarded jurors letting their emotions take control of the trial in question, we need them to CONVICT this monster-rapist GUILTY-GUILTY-GUILTY!! nothing more nothing less...I'm afraid that too much emotion from these jurors may spoil things and make the defendant too remorseful which is exactly what WE want to avoid. We dont need him to get off with just a slap in the wrist, don't we?

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He has a right to a fair annd unemotional trial. Then, if duly convicted, he has the right to an unemotional and swift execution.

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Translate iss me off in Japanese. Can't

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guest, admire your style of writing. Jut to remind you that we are not talking about a woman here, but a 15 year old school girl. As for the other matters you have noted, not worth answering.

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He probably said むかつく.

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"we need them to CONVICT this monster-rapist GUILTY-GUILTY-GUILTY!!" No we don't. We need them to weigh the evidence and come to a fair and logical verdict. Guilty only if that is proven beyond a reasonable doubt, not guilty because he is the one the police have fingered and the media have dragged through the mud.

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The direct questioning is allowed because they are "citizen judges", as taikan pointed out. They are not jurists like in the U.S., the rules are completely different. He did, however, lose his cool, and it is hard to believe that he will look at the evidence presented and come to a fair and logical verdict. He is probably a father with a daughter, and his emotions got the better of him.

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Eyeblack at 02:14 PM JST - 20th November

"we need them to CONVICT this monster-rapist GUILTY-GUILTY-GUILTY!!" No we don't. We need them to weigh the evidence and come to a fair and logical verdict. Guilty only if that is proven beyond a reasonable doubt, not guilty because he is the one the police have fingered and the media have dragged through the mud.

Obviously, DUH?! Beyond a reasonable doubt and damning evidence, not just any innocent citizen the j-clown-keystones cuffed for the hell of it. Again, DUH!!

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The defendant, Kazuhiko Yuki, a 39-year-old truck driver and resident of Osaki City, is accused of forcing a 15-year-old girl off her bicycle on Oct 2 last year, threatening her with a knife and raping her, breaking her right wrist in the process.

But still, I find this unbelievable...what a beast! She even got her wrist broken due to this animal's violence, this is nothing but evil. I just really hope this truck driver is the rapist indeed. J-Clown keyStones are famous for arresting innocent people.

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judge should have put an end to this before it got to that point...jury member should be excused and replaced with an alternate juror.

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"Obviously, DUH?! Beyond a reasonable doubt and damning evidence, not just any innocent citizen the j-clown-keystones cuffed for the hell of it. Again, DUH!!" And this is why it is so easy to have wrongful convictions. Once the police point you out the assumption is guilty and you are fighting an uphill battle, much steeper the less money you have. The list of the wrongfully convicted grows and grows within justice systems that do everything to never admit to their mistakes.

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And this is why it is so easy to have wrongful convictions. Once the police point you out the assumption is guilty and you are fighting an uphill battle, much steeper the less money you have. The list of the wrongfully convicted grows and grows within justice systems that do everything to never admit to their mistakes

and I agree with you, I know, because I've been there. These keyStones clowns would do anything, even go against the penal code, to ensure a conviction. I've also seen too many miscarriages of justice in this country...really embarassing.

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I admire this juror. If it would be possible I would like to take him to lunch.

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Lets face it, bleeding-heart liberals only care about the rights of the accused -- the victim is irrelevant to them.

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it's a new system in Japan. They haven't defined the ground rules yet! Anyone, here siding with the defendant must hold some secrets of their own. I hope they catch you.

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People

myself & others merely are pointing the juror was acting like a stupid twit! That has absolutely ZERO ZIP NADA with what we feel towards the defendant or what happened to the poor young woman DUH!

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So why have a trial if accused = guilty?

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Awesome! Hopefully, more jurors will step up and ask hard questions that the lawyers and judges avoid for "protocol'S" sake.

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What Cleo said.

It seems like the purpose of these lay juries is some kind of judicial catharsis. It's misguided.

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I am strongly supporting fair (means truth should come out, and crimes should be punished) trials in rape cases, and the Jury system is really self-defeating. It is just a circus for the plebs. Collecting a bunch of morons who think like if the were in JDrama makes nothing good.

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And for a while I thought the jury pulled out a shotgun and blew the defendant's head off.

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Why in the world are juries allowed to question defendants?

Jury is a misnomer; they are lay judges, so it is appropriate. It may be sensible to question whether lay judges are a good idea, but if you have them, then they can ask questions.

Japan's system is unusual, but not totally unique - England and Wales also have a lay judiciary, known as magistrates. These are volunatry positions and deal with around 95% of criminal cases.

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/CrimeJusticeAndTheLaw/Becomingamagistrate/DG_071384

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"I have no knowledge of the system in Japan, but I'm pretty certain the jury members don't get a right to cross-examine the witnesses or defendant"

This is fairly said. People complaining about this juror having too much freedom are probably thinking of the US or British systems, where they sit impassively and make very clearly defined decisions on each count levelled against the defendant.

I think what happened here was that the defendant was put "on the stand," which is likely to leave him vulnerable to questions by anyone. I think a judge in the US DOES have the right to question a witness, for instance. Here, with citizen judges, I guess anything goes. Similarly to a JT moderator, the judge can only jump in if the questions seem to be blatantly off topic, obscure, emotional, etc. The obvious point to remember is KEEP THE DEFENDANT OFF THE STAND!!

Another problem to consider is that this juror basically volunteered. Now that the job seems to be done, he has to hang around for three more days to watch the kabuki. Who has not felt like this? All of those jurors have jobs. This guy probably gets paid by the hour. Having a scumbag take food out of his own kids' mouths probably does not sit well with him. The juror sees no HANSEI despite the confession of the prior day. The insincerity drives him nuts.

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I am strongly supporting fair (means truth should come out, and crimes should be punished) trials in rape cases, and the Jury system is really self-defeating. It is just a circus for the plebs. Collecting a bunch of morons who think like if the were in JDrama makes nothing good.

Yes, because surely in the West, trials are completely devoid of emotion, purely sterile, chock full of cold hard logic and science. Give your head a shake.

It's not clear what language was used or deemed inappropriate, beyond the rise in intonation i.e. what might be interpreted by some as threatening demeanour, and certainly biased views that might taint sentencing. I'm unsure of their filtering / screening process, but if there was something pre-existing that might prejudice the outcome then of course it needs to be caught and that potential juror excused.

However, I can't disagree with his sentiment. Frankly it doesn't say much about your own humanity when admitted crimes of rape and murder do not faze you anymore, and you can only look through the prism of logic and reason without considering the human aspects.

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TravelingSales at 02:00 PM JST - 20th November He has a right to a fair annd unemotional trial. Then, if duly convicted, he has the right to an unemotional and swift execution.

No, he has the right to a long excruciatingly painful death. Something horrific, so he has a lot of bad thoughts and feelings as his life is taken from him.

And don't anyone come on here and say he doesn't deserve it. He raped a kid, he deserves Bubba in the big house for a long time, then a painfully long death.

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How bizarre! I was shocked that the lay judge could directly question the defendant but I checked it out and apparently citizen judges are allowed to do this. I'm also surpised that the defendant's lawyer didn't jump in an say 'relevance?' or 'I object!' or do something to protect the rights of his defendant. (the question: 'Do you feel this trial is long?' seems completely irrelavant to me)

Also, it's unclear whether they are deciding his innocence/guilt or whether they are deciding on sentencing. It seems from the questions the lay judge asked that the defendant is assumed to be guilty. (Can you say that you'll never do it again?) So this leads me to believe that they are only to determine a sentence.

I'd also like to add that defendants come straight from jail/detention center and are likely wearing sweats, plastic sandals/shoes, and probably haven't had a shower in days. Their appearance is certainly going to play a role in what these lay judges think of them.

It just doesn't seem right to me that a citizen judge is free to ask such questions and make such statemetnts.

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How do I say 'you piss me off' in Japanese?

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I couldn't find it anywhere on the web and I'm probably misspelling it, but when my wife is pissed, like the layman juror in this article, she says something like "harakatatsu" followed by the ever popular, "kuso."

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Sorry, but the lay system here clearly has a long way to go. The jurors should NEVER be allowed to ask questions or address the person like this, because it makes it pretty clear that they are swayed by the way the defendant answers their questions.

Anyone who comes on here and suggests that that implies I am siding with the defendant is simply a moron. Sorry, but that's the case. What I'm saying is that when questions we pose to people directly are answered in the way we want to hear them, one of two reactions occurs: a) we are satisfied by the answer. (b) we doubt they are telling the truth. Either way, it leads to further bias than would exist in a system where lawyers ask the questions and the jurors simply listen 'objectively'.

Had the defendant not been silent would he have felt differently? If the defendant did the Japanese bow and lowered his head, would everyone suddenly feel mollified and sympathize with the man?

Sorry... but either way there is going to be STRONG bias (for or against) when lay-judges are allowed to question people directly in this manner. It was clear in questioning in previous cases and is clear now.

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The whole point of a judge is to maintain your objectivity. With lay judges you are going to have a much harder time with that because they don't do that job for a living and some criminal actions make an objective evaluation all but impossible.

This lay judge obviously was losing his objectivity and the professional judge in the court had to nip it in the bud before things got out of hand.

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Personally I think the jury member was absolutely right. I think they should be able to react honestly to the replies a defendant gives. I probably would have said something stronger.

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Sorry, but the lay system here clearly has a long way to go. The jurors should NEVER be allowed to ask questions or address the person like this, because it makes it pretty clear that they are swayed by the way the defendant answers their questions.

Firstly, they are lay judges, not jurors - a key difference as they are participants in the trial, not observers. Secondly, surely the whole point of a trial is that the judges ARE swayed by the way the defendant answers their questions.

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Good on him. The law needs to be strictly enforced and there can't be any signs of weakness. This man behaved like any good, decent human being would. Raping a 15 year old girl is just utterly disgusting. Again, how is it that so many men cannot control themselves when the majority on this planet of ours can? Rapists need the book thrown at them, especially those that disturbingly rape underage girls. Urgh... just disgusting.

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Jipster,

How do I say 'you piss me off' in Japanese?

「むかつくよね。」(mukatsuku yo ne) is actually what was said and it basically means 'You really make me sick to my stomach, you know that right?'

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I am a layman to matters of the legal system, but are jurors allowed to question witnesses??

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How do I say 'you piss me off' in Japanese?

Haratatsu!

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Whatmeworry, Kinniku, Nessie, for my very first coloquilisms, domo arigatoo gozaimasu! Could I say both? Are they both correct, please?

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Sorry, but the lay system here clearly has a long way to go. The jurors should NEVER be allowed to ask questions or address the person like this, because it makes it pretty clear that they are swayed by the way the defendant answers their questions.

Actually, American jurors ARE allowed to directly question defendants and witnesses also - though usually for "clarification" purposes. It is not "usual" practice, carries certain risks to due process, but isn't explicitly forbidden. Jury involvement was more common in the 18th and early 19th centuries when juries often were composed of a defendents actual "peers" - people who knew him.

However, in the case under discussion, a jurors admission that he'd become "pissed off" at the defendant and thus could no longer be objective and unbiased would likely de-rail any American trial.

Of course Japan is not America, there are differences in ideas about how things should be done and exactly what might disqualify a juror. An "angry" Japanese juror might still be a "fair" juror, whereas an 'angry' American juror probably wouldn't.

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BRAVO! Bravo! My kudos to this excellent human being up in Miyagi! I hope this scum bag rapist truck driver burns in HELL!

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