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THE JURY SYSTEM IN CRIMINAL CASES

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THE JURY SYSTEM IN CRIMINAL CASES Powered By Docstoc
					                                                                                                                                                15.05.2012




                                                                       History

                                                                           The jury has its roots in the middle ages. English
                                                                            judges used to assemble a group of
                                                                            knowledgeable people from the location where a
                                                                            crime happened to help identify who committed it.
                                                                           The jury eventually developed into two types:
                                                                               Grand Jury: investigative, determines whether there is
                                                                                enough evidence that a crime has been committed in
                                                                                order to bring the accused to trial.
              THE JURY SYSTEM IN                                                   We discussed this earlier, when we talked about pre trial
                                                                                    procedures.
              CRIMINAL CASES                                                   Petit, or trial, jury: the group of people who judge the
                                                                                facts presented at trial.




                                                                          Since before the American Revolution, English
                                                                           and American juries have deliberated in secret.
The Trial (or Petit) Jury                                                 Because a jury deliberates secretly, it may
                                                                           return any decision it wants, even a “wrong”
                                                                           one.
                                                                              When a jury refuses to convict a person, despite
                                                                               clear evidence, it is known as “jury nullification.” A
                                                                               juror may not be punished for this.
                                                                          At the time of the American Revolution, the
                                                                           power of the jury to refuse to convict was
                                                                           considered to be a very important protection
                                                                           against oppression by the government.




                                                                           How Juries are Selected
Selection of the Trial Jury (In the US)

          Note: much of the material for this next section is taken       The government takes names from voter
           from A Guide to Legal Literacy: Understanding the US
           Legal System, State Bar of California (2001.)                    registration lists and motor
                                                                           vehicle registrations, in calling people for jury
                                                                            duty.
                                                                           Every person has the legal duty to report for
                                                                            jury duty in response to a summons to serve.
                                                                               However, after reporting for service, people can
                                                                                often get out of their jury service if they have a
                                                                                good excuse, such as financial hardship.




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    Voir Dire

                                                                     Before the jurors are questioned by the judge
                                                                      and/or the lawyers, they will fill out a
   Before the trial starts, prospective jurors are
    questioned. This process is termed "voir dire."
                                                                      questionnaire.
   In federal courts, questioning is usually exclusively
    done by judges, though the judges often will ask
    questions suggested by the lawyers.
   In many state courts, lawyers conduct the voir dire.
       It may be up to the judge to decide whether to conduct
        the questioning herself, or whether to let the lawyers
        do it.




In conducting the voir dire, the state and the                   In order to achieve these goals
defense have two goals:

   1) to eliminate all members of the jury panel                   Each lawyer is allowed to excuse prospective
    who have an obvious reason why they might                        jurors for "cause." For example, a juror who is
    not render an impartial decision in the case.                    related to one of the parties, or has a personal
                                                                     stake in the outcome of the litigation, or has a
                                                                     strong predisposition as to the verdict can be
   2) each side wants to eliminate those who they                   excluded for cause.
    believe would be unfavorable to their side even
    though no reason is apparent for the potential               Each side is allowed a number of “peremptory
    bias.                                                            challenges” — requests to the court to exclude a
                                                                     prospective juror with no reason given.




Peremptory Challenges                                            Composition of Juries

                                                                     Most commonly a jury consists of 12
   A peremptory challenge can be exercised on                        individuals, though there can be fewer people
    any basis the attorney wishes, except that a                      in some jurisdictions.
    person cannot be kept off a jury because of his                  Historically, jury verdicts had to be unanimous
    or her race or gender.                                            in criminal cases. (currently, some jurisdictions
                                                                      allow convictions by a majority in less
       Note that while the US Supreme Court has held                 important cases.) If the jury cannot come to a
        that it is unconstitutional to use peremptory
        challenges to exclude people from juries due to               consensus, it is regarded as a “hung jury” and
        race or gender, it is very hard to prove what a               the matter can be retried before a new jury.
        lawyer’s reasons are for excluding someone.




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                                                                          Selection of the Trial Jury (In England and
                                                                          Wales.)

   The Sixth and Seventh Amendments
    guarantee an impartial jury of one‘s peers.
    These concepts of "impartiality" and a "jury of
    one's peers" are inherently difficult to define.
   Generally, it is acceptable as long as it is fairly
    chosen from the entire community and is
    screened to prevent undue bias.




   Jury selection is random and there is no                                 “[J]uries are not cross-examined to assess
    requirement that the jury be representative of                            their suitability. Once selected, jurors are
    the community.                                                            obliged to participate unless they can provide
       It is theoretically possible to have an all male or                   compelling evidence why serving would be
        female jury, or one where all of the jurors are                       inconvenient.”
        members of the same race or ethnicity.                                     http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/718076
                http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7180764.st             4.stm
                 m




   “No-one serving on a jury is supposed to have                            As in the US, jurors are selected at random from
                                                                              electoral rolls. Jurors are sent a summons and
    any connection to anyone involved in the case.                            must go to court at the appointed day and time.
    A potential juror who knows the defendant, a                             15 people are sent at random from the people
    witness, the judge, an advocate or solicitor                              who have gathered in the courthouse for jury
    must make this clear to avoid an unfair trial or                          service. They are sent out to the courtrooms.
                                                                              Then 12 names will be read out.
    the matter coming up during the proceedings,                             People who have been convicted of certain
    causing the trial to be aborted.”                                         crimes, who are on probation or on bail, may not
           http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/718076                be allowed to serve. They must inform the court.
            4.stm                                                                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JP7slp-
                                                                                    X9Pc&feature=youtu.be




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   In the past, jurors in England and Wales could be
    dismissed by peremptory challenge, just as in the                   How do jurors, who are not
    US.                                                                 generally lawyers, learn how to
   However, this practice was reduced over the
    years and finally eliminated in 1988.                               decide a case? How do they know
            http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/33/section/118
   Jurors may still be challenged for cause, however,                  what the law is and how to apply it
    on the grounds that the juror is:                                   to the facts?
        Inelligible/disqualified for some reason.
        There is a reasonable belief he/she is biased.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_(England_and_Wales)#Em
             panelling_and_challenging_jurors




Jury Instructions                                                          The instructions that the judge will give the jury will
                                                                            explain, in the plainest English possible, the
                                                                            charges, what the applicable law is, and how the
                                                                            jurors must apply the law to the facts.
   After the jury has heard all of the evidence, and
                                                                           They will mostly be based on a set of approved
    after the lawyers from both sides have had a                            sample instructions, though the parties may also
    chance to make their final arguments to them                            request that special instructions be given.
    about what the evidence means, the judge will
    instruct the jury.                                                     One of the most important parts of a trial, but a
                                                                            part which takes place outside of the presence of
                                                                            the jury, is when the parties argue about which
                                                                            instructions the court should give.




                                                                           As mentioned above, the deliberations are secret.
                                                                            No one who is not a member of the jury is allowed
                                                                            into the jury room while they are going on.
   Before they begin deliberating, jurors are
    always instructed that they cannot discuss the
    case with anyone, and that they must decide                            However, if they are confused about the law, the
    the case on the basis of the evidence only.                             jury may send a question to the judge. Then they
                                                                            will be called back in to court.
   The jury may need more than one day to make
    a decision. In this case, the judge will instruct                      The judge may answer the question, or he/she
    them again before they go home that they                                may decide that the question cannot be answered
    cannot discuss the case with anyone                                     without influencing the jury. In that case, the judge
    (including family members.)                                             will probably just tell the jury to read the
                                                                            instructions again.




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                                                          In Criminal Cases:

                                                             If the jury decides to convict, the jury does not
   The jury may also ask to have testimony read
                                                              decide what punishment the defendant will
    back to it (all testimony is recorded by the court
                                                              get.
    reporter) or to see certain evidence again.
                                                                  (capital cases are a major exception to this rule)
                                                             After the jury makes its verdict, the judge will
                                                              determine the punishment.
                                                             The judge has discretion to decide the
                                                              punishment within a range of penalties allowed
                                                              by law.




Remember:

    A jury is used only for trials.
                                                          Advantages and disadvantages of using a
                                                          jury in a criminal trial.
    Appeals (and other challenges to the
     judgement) are not part of the trial, and are
     heard only by a judge or a panel of judges.




Advantages:                                                   Disadvantages:

   Democratic accountability – prevents too much            Jurors are not lawyers, and may find it hard to
    power from being concentrated in hands of                 understand and apply the law to the facts in
    government.                                               complex cases.
   Prevents public from feeling disconnected from           Jurors are more likely to be shocked by certain
    justice system.                                           testimony than professional judges and lawyers.
   Judges are part of an educational elite, which           They may be more moved by emotion than
    colors the way they view the world. Jurors have           professional lawyers and judges.
    wider life experiences.                                  The jury is time-consuming and expensive, and in
   Judges are often ideologically authoritarian. Often       most cases, unnecessary.
    too close to police/prosecutors.                         The jury system requires complex rules of
   Easier for one person to make a mistake/be                evidence.
    influenced by emotions, than to convince a jury of       Many things can go wrong in a jury trial which
    12 to make a mistake.                                     require dismissing the jury and starting again.




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Questions:

   Can you see any kinds of cases in which a jury                                            For next time, read pages 123-133 in Pakes.
    might be useful in the Turkish legal system?
   If not, are your objections to using the jury
    system in some trials universal (valid for all
    legal systems in all countries) or are there
    some cultural reasons why you think the jury
    system would not work here?




The OJ Simpson Trial: The Adversarial
                                                                                           Chronology:
System Gone Wrong?

   In 1994, O.J. Simpson was charged with killing                                            June 12, 1994 - Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman
                                                                                               are stabbed to death. Their bodies found in the front
    his ex-wife Nicole and her friend, Ron                                                     courtyard of the Nicole's condominium in Brentwood.
    Goldman.
                                                                                              June 13, 1994 - O.J. Simpson is notified of the murders while
                                                                                               on a business trip in Chicago. He returns to Los Angeles, is
   During the 1970’s O.J. Simpson was one of                                                  temporarily handcuffed, and taken in for questioning. Robert
                                                                                               Shapiro is contacted on Simpson's behalf and asked to
    American football’s most famous stars.                                                     become defense counsel.

                                                                                              June 17, 1994 - About to be arrested for murder, Simpson
   During and after his football career, he became                                            slips out of Robert Kardashian's home. He is chased by
    a successful actor.                                                                        police while riding in his white Ford Bronco, driven by friend .
            See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O._J._Simpson#Professional_football_career
                                                                                               When he returns to his home, Simpson is taken into custody.
                                                                                                         http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/Simpson/Simpsonchron.html




                                                                                           As you watch the videos, ask yourself how this case
                                                                                           shows:


   The O.J. Simpson murder trial raises a number                                               why is it so important to have a skillful lawyer (or,
    of questions about justice in common law                                                     in this case, lawyers) in an adversarial trial?
    justice systems in general and the American                                                 the difference having to present evidence orally at

    system in particular.                                                                        trial can make in a case.
                                                                                                the role of the jury, and the role race and class
                                                                                                 may have played in the jury’s decision.
                                                                                                the role of publicity in a criminal case involving a
                                                                                                 famous person or sensational facts.
                                                                                                the role of wealth.




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Questions :

1) In these videos, you will listen to some            2) In the third video, a law professor asks a
   commentators who think that the jury in this           student whether what constitutes reasonable
   case reached the wrong decision and others             doubt is culturally determined.
   who believe they reached the correct
   decision.
   Some speakers clearly think that this case is an      What do you think he meant? How would
    example of the jury system at its worst, a clear      you answer his question?
    failure of the system. Others seem to think that
    the jurors did their job correctly.
   Why do you think that the speakers on each side
    feel the way they do?




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