Thursday, 28 July 2011

The Operetta that is Trial by Jury

In my previous post I sang the praises of the Dutch police system. I casually mentioned that in The Netherlands, a great liberal democracy, there is no such thing as trial by jury. This case makes interesting reading
although no inference should be drawn from it.


sparkflash said...

"Sorry, the page you requested either doesn't exist or isn't available right now!
Please check the URL for proper spelling and capitalization. If you're having trouble locating a destination on Yahoo!, try visiting the Yahoo! homepage or look through a list of Yahoo!'s online services.

Please try Yahoo Help Central if you need more assistance."

All that being said, were you to spend just five minutes chatting with 12 randomly selected people, with one or two of them you'd not just wonder at the jury system, but probably have to revise any opinions you may have had on eugenics.
I actually heard a woman asking if vegetarians could eat horseradish. And she could be asked to serve on a jury...

I actually do believe in the jury system, in general, but in some cases, especially relating to complex fraud, I just don't think they're fit for purpose.

Hogdayafternoon said...

OK, re linked. Personally, I have found many juries consisting of people that very much resembled the driver in this case.

sparkflash said...

Drink driving, blind in one eye and priors for it - unless there's something mitigating, that hasn't been mentioned, you'd hope the judge would really have thrown the book at him.

An entirely white jury, eh? Is the jury not meant to be representative of the area? Well, I'm certain justice was entirely colour-blind.

No, really.

Blue Eyes said...

I haven't read the link.

My view on jury trials are that they are a good backstop against the administration of justice becoming too close to the administration of government. A jury has the luxury of being able to choose not to punish someone for a crime they may have permitted but which is seen as permissible.

However it is obviously a nonsense in cases where the judgement of whether a crime has taken place requires specialist knowledge.

It was hard enough, when I was on a jury, to work out whether the defendant was guilty of handling a stolen push-bike.

If people trust the integrity of the judges and the sense and fairness of the law being applied I see no problem with a continental "inquisitorial" system.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Blue, read the link! It would go well at the Inner London Crown Court, Newington Causeway, scene of many a Hogday tussle.

CI-Roller Dude said...

I think our justice system in the US is good, but I would NEVER want to go on trial with 12 folks who were just too dumb to get out of jury duty.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Dude :)) we really must meet up for a good old gripe sometime!

Anonymous said...

Cracker Dude. I was fined 11 pesetas for jay-walking in Spain - at least that's what the bottle on wine cost. The fat, jolly cop insisted I had a glass. I was 14.
I'd scrap magistrates and juries - but the replacement bit is tricky.

Hogdayafternoon said...

ACO: Homophobic cases should be tried by 3 gay judges. Burglaries by 3 who were recently burgled. Rapists by a 66% female panel, Public order cases involving neighbours from hell to be tried by judges who are required to live in the `hood for a month or so beforehand.....and so on.

sparkflash said...

The 2010 racial composition of Atlanta was:

Black or African American: 226,894 or 54.0%, vs. 61.4% in 2000
White: 161,115 or 38.4%, vs. 33.2% in 2000
Asian: 13,188 or 5.2%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race): 21,815 or 3.1%

And yet an entirely white jury who, apparently, have no experience of public transport. This strongly suggests no similarity of social demograph to the accused.

I thought the purpose of a jury was to temper the black and white harshness of law with a more shades of grey humane aspect?

I'm surprised a little more discretion wasn't used and this case actually made it to court.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Sparkflash: QED?