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Do you think the jury system is the best method of determining guilt or innocence in criminal trials?

15 Comments
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15 Comments
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I answered "no", but that's because there is no "best" method.

All are susceptible to error or prejudice.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

As a resident of Japan I am compelled to answer that detention until confession is the superior mode of operation. The Magna Carta is an outdated document.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

As a resident of Japan I am compelled to answer that detention until confession is the superior mode of operation. The Magna Carta is an outdated document.

Ha Ha! Good one mate!!

I voted yes because the other system of having a judge apply his or her own reasoning is a much more flawed system seeing how the brown envelopes flow in this country. NHK comes to mind...

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Yea, because without a Jury anyone accused would be at the mercy of an expired sack of meat.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Like democracy, it is not perfect but the alternatives are worse.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I answered "no" based on what one Japanese lawyer told me about why a jury system wouldn't work in Japan. He told me that in other countries a jury system probably was the best system, but not in Japan. He told me that this was because Japanese were, in general, incapable of thinking for themselves. Furthermore, if a police officer testifies during trial that this person committed the crime, Japanese are, in general, going to react like, "That's good enough for me. Guilty!"

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Jury system isn't perfect but it's the best we've got.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I have to say no. The biggest problem with the Anglo-American jury system is that jurors aren't required to give reasons to support their verdicts. These verdicts become unappealable on the merits because it's impossible to identify any flaws, bias or illogical reasoning that led to the decision.

In a bench trial, at least the judge hands down a decision detailing exactly what evidence he considered, what evidence he dismissed, how much weight was given to particular pieces of evidence, how much credibility was assigned to each witness and why, etc. Every point becomes a possible ground of appeal if it's unreasonable or illogical. You get none of this detail with a jury verdict. You will never know whether juror No.3 decided you were guilty because he saw it in a dream the night before, or because his brother told him that everyone of your race is a liar.

There's also the 'OJ Simpson problem' when it comes to using juries in increasingly multicultural societies. When you have ethnic and racial hostility bubbling in the community from which you draw your jury pool, people tend to decide cases along tribal lines rather than on the evidence. This is one of the reasons that Singapore abolished juries early in their history.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I have to say no. The biggest problem with the Anglo-American jury system is that jurors aren't required to give reasons to support their verdicts. These verdicts become unappealable on the merits because it's impossible to identify any flaws, bias or illogical reasoning that led to the decision.

That's why prosecutors and defense lawyers interview the pool of possible jurors to weed out those who they believe (from experience) would be unreasonable and only let become jurors those who they both agree would be suitable for both sides.

It's not always 100% perfect, but it's also not just anyone can walk in and become jurors. There's a selection process, and it works more often than not.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Having served on a jury in Australia, I think it's a pretty good system and think it works far more often than not.

@Lostrune2, I guess you're talking about the US system? Australia is a bit different (or at least Victoria), where potential jurors simply file past the defendant and his/her lawyer. Someone in the court calls out your age and occupation, and if the lawyer says "challenge," you're out. This continues until the jury box fills up with 12 people.

Can't say how many people really get into it during the trial, but in my case there were about 7 who were, and the other 5 were just along for the ride and accepted the verdict the rest of us nutted out. There was one stick in the mud who assumed the guy was guilty no matter what the evidence or lack of it said. A week of watching lawyers enjoying the sounds of their own voices, struggling to stifle laughs at some hilariously perjurious testimony and plenty of robust discussion and dodgy sandwiches in the jury room, beat fronting up to work by a country mile.

And out verdict of not guilty was the right one. The judge may very well have given the same result, but I think the jury secured a dopey but innocent young man his freedom.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If we are talking about in Japan - just flip a coin.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

'Best' from whose point of view?

Most democratic, probably, and for the judge it spreads out the burden and responsibility of decision making.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It took many months to find a jury for Lee Harvey Oswald's trial for assassination of John Kennedy, because so many people had seen the event on tv thereby becoming prejudiced.

The theatrics and mechanistics of the US system don't help with workability, but one comment about a simpler jury selection process in Victoria in Australia places that system ahead. Better than no jury anyway - an extra failsafe.

Juries decide points of fact (evidence and so on), judges and so on points of law (eg. including legal applicability of evidence). Still, like in Japan there are instances in jury-jurisdictions which people are convicted only to be retired decades later and freed with wasted lives.

judge Dread anybody?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There's an alternative, traditionally used in Russia and Japan: harangue the suspect every waking minute of the day and force a "confession" out of him. The US uses similar methods, but uses "advanced interrogation techniques" that are deemed torture when anyone else is using them and "suicide watch," asking the guy if he's OK every five minutes, day and night.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

No sstem is 100℅ water-tight, but I think that a jury system is the closest you will get.

The Magna Carta is an outdated document.

I don't think it is a case of the Magna Carta being out of date, but a case of Japan's legal system never really got started. In other words the Magna Carta is on-par with the invention of the wheel.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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