A permanent jury system

by freedom96 11 Replies latest jw friends

  • freedom96

    There have over the years been many high profile court cases, and at times I am amazed at how stupid the jury group is. Many higher educated people in the jury pool cannot serve because of work, etc. So there ends up many times, (not always) a group of jurors that are unemployed, uneducated, etc. Again, not always, but many times.

    Now our constitution allows for a jury by your peers. Is this actually what is happening? I agree that should be the case, but there are many trials where the defendent gets off because of some idiots on the jury.

    What do you think of a permanent jury system. You could take a group of people from all walks of life, and pay them to be a juror. Maybe have a certain level of schooling needed, or maybe have a wide variety of careers before they came to do this. Perhaps they could even be paid whatever they made in their career. But this would be their job.

    Even more realistic perhaps, would be making it easier for those who could not normally serve due to finances. Maybe they get paid for their week or two of service with whatever they normally make. Make rules that they not lose their job when they got back.

    Just seems like something has got to be done.

    I know that cases like OJ were extreme, but several times over the last couple of years I have paid special attention to trials on tv or radio, listening in on the actual trial at times, and the evidence is so overwhelming, but they still take forever to come up with a verdict.

    What do you all think?

  • Realist

    why not make a committee of 3 judges that make the decision?

  • plmkrzy
    Now our constitution allows for a jury by your peers. Is this actually what is happening?

    What about the poor serial killers? How will they ever get a fair trial without 12 serial killers serving as jurors?

    OK maybe that was unreasonable

  • Xander

    1) They take forever to come up with a verdict because our constitution is based on 'innocent until proven guilty'. IE., it is ALWAYS better to err on the side of caution. Jurors must debate on whether the party is guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. Obviously, there is - there MUST BE - always SOME doubt. It's just whether that doubt is a 'reasonable' or not that must be debated.

    2) We do have a permanent body of jurors. It's call the Supreme Court.

    3) I do agree something needs to be done to fix the system.

    a) Firstly, national law must be passed that companies are ALWAYS REQUIRED to give employees time off for jury duty. Many companies have policies like that now - but, not all. Making it national law would fix that.

    b) Jurors must get paid EXACTLY what they make in their day jobs for their time off of work, or better. Right now, compensation is close, IIRC, but not exact. Getting paid better than their day job is a good persuasive tool to get otherwise qualified jurors from excusing themselves inappropriately because they don't want to lose the income.

    c) Yes, definately, a minimum education level should be required. High school diploma at the very least, preferably some college required.

  • Francois

    I understand fully the concept you're trying to get across here. And yes, I'm in favor of it. Notice who gets on juries in this country: retired cafeteria workers, ex-janitors, groundskeepers, part-time MacDonald's "chefs" and others like that (all honorable workers to be sure, but do you want them deciding a complex case involving your stocks, bonds, selling short, and your investments in chicken lips on the monrovian market? I don't think so.)

    Why do juries inevitably contain this quality of person? Because this kind of person cannot think for themselves, and that's what lawyers want. They want pliable minds whom THEY, the lawyers, can tell what to think and how to react to any given set of circumstances. Lawyers DO NOT WANT people who can think. You've been called for jury duty? Dress to the nines. Carry a large edition of "The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire" with the title large enough to be read from fifty yards. Look and act like you know exactly what day it is and aren't likely to be talked out of it. You will not serve.

    We are NOT, repeat NOT, being judged by juries of our peers. If I engage in theft via electronic means involving my computer, how can anyone who hasn't got ten minutes experience with a computer going to be a peer in my case and render just judgement? They can't.

    And now a word about my favorite juridicial topic: Jury Nullification. If I were on a jury and felt like a law was ill conceived, if I felt like a law was being improperly applied, if I felt that a certain law was being stretched to the limit in order for a district attorney to use in helping himself grease the skids to greater public office, if these or any number of other reasons attached, I'd be in that jury room preaching jury nullification at the top of my lungs. I would be the prosecuting attorney's worst enemy. I'd get my jury nullification of that particular law or there would be no decision. None. Nada. And the judge, who had spent so much time preaching against jury nullification in his instructions to the jury could go pound sand.

    And, we keep electing lawyers to state legislatures and they keep passing the most intellectually insulting laws known to man. We insist on putting the fox in charge of the henhouse and then we bitch at the outcome. STOP. Stop electing lawyers to legislatures and we could clean up over half of our problem with laws that looked like they were the result of an explosion in a book factory.

    Finally, we have become so disaffected by what's being taught our children, we are as much to blame for the situation as anyone. It's YOUR fault if your child doesn't know his constitutional rights by the time he or she graduates from high school. And by that I mean he or she should be able to sit down with you and enumerate ALL TEN of the first amendments to the constitution, and talk for at least a half hour about why each is there and why. Can your child do this? Can you? Your child should know that we live in a Republic, not a democracy - should be able to compare and contrast the two - and should be able to wax eloquent about why our founding fathers (whom they should be able to name one by one and identify their roles in the revolution and in the framing of the constitution) chose a repbulican form of government.

    Yes, Mr. Franklin, sir, you have given us a republic - if we can keep it. And I despair that we can. The long and bloody shadow of the mob, the mob of the democratic form of government stalks our land, and our freedoms cannot help but soon be gone.

    It is a shame. It is a damn crying shame what we've let leftist politicians do to this once-great country.

    I shall morn it all the rest of my days. And I shall remember ...


    Edited by - francois on 6 February 2003 11:52:9

  • Xander

    And yet, you still seem to think the country is worth defending as it is?


    An interesting thought in another thread:

    I'm so sorry the Indians did not manage to unite and wipe out the pale faced ones.

    It would certainly be a different world today, wouldn't it?

  • freedom96

    Currently in California the juror gets a whopping $5.00 for the entire day of jury service. The average guy who barely makes ends meet for his family will almost always find a way out (hardship clause) because as much as he may want to help out and do his civic duty, he cannot afford it. If he were in a trial, for a week or two, it would kill them financially.

    The first step, at a minimum, should be that the juror get paid what he would during his/ her day job.

  • Francois

    How else to defend it unless as it is? Change it into something else entirely and THEN defend it? Now THAT'S idealism gone berserk if I've ever seen it. Curiouser

    I feel it's worth defending because, even given its faults, it is the one and only shining city on a hill we have on this planet. Perhaps you have a better idea.


    P.S. Um, I can't argue that in 1492 the barbarians showed up in this country.

    Edited by - francois on 6 February 2003 16:12:20

  • Bendrr

    Yes, Mr. Franklin, sir, you have given us a republic - if we can keep it. And I despair that we can. The long and bloody shadow of the mob, the mob of the democratic form of government stalks our land, and our freedoms cannot help but soon be gone.

    Good one Francois!

    I always think of the term "silent majority". The majority -- at least I hope it's still a majority -- of citizens who are out there actually making this country work. They pay the taxes. They produce the goods. They provide the services. And after doing so, they have no time left to get out in the streets to demonstrate for this or that cause or to be as politically active as they we could be. When it comes to jury duty, some do indeed do their civic duty. But for many, jury duty means an unpaid vacation, a short paycheck. That's something that in many cases eliminates a good juror from the pool.

    Jury duty should be paid through the local state's unemployment office and under different rules for those who take time off from work to serve. For those who are unemployed, they should still receive compensation but from the court not umemployment. When the umemployment office pays a juror, the payment should be immediate and the full amount they would earn at their job.

    While we're at it, how about this? The loser in the case pays at least a percentage if not the full amount of money paid to the jurors.


  • Shakita

    I just came off jury duty today. I was summoned for the week, but only called in this morning.

    My morning:

    Went through metal detector with other jurors.

    Went to jury assembly room, sat, watched a film, and told what would be expected of our group(about 75 people).

    Mid morning every juror called for jury selection.

    Our group goes into courtroom and sits while judge goes over need to replace to jurors selected the day before who could not serve. For approximately 1/2 hour new jurors are randomly selected and deleted by the defense council. Finally, both parties are pleased with the jurors selected.

    We leave the courtroom to go back to the assembly room. I sit for another hour.

    We are dismissed for a 2 hour lunch.

    I come back to sit for another hour.

    Then we are dismissed to go home.

    I am paid $5.00 for my day's (work).

    If I was chosen for as a trial juror, I would get $5.00/day for the first 3 days and $40.00/day thereafter.

    Definitely I think that if you pay the jurors more money, you would not only have happier jurors but people who would want to come back sooner to serve without financial hardship.

    I am not sure if a permanent juror system could work. Remember, you are throwing together different people, with different life experiences, different personalities, and most importantly....they do not know each other which is very important to having a fair outcome for the trial. People who are familiar with each other, like coworkers are, will eventually blend thoughts and ideas instead of being impartial.

    Mrs. Shakita(who is very tired from sitting all day)

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