The justice system should do away with trial by jury.

July 18, 2015, 10:28 pm

Agree11 Disagree58

16%
84%

The debate "The justice system should do away with trial by jury." was started by PsychDave on July 18, 2015, 10:28 pm. 11 people are on the agree side of this discussion, while 58 people are on the disagree side. That might be enough to see the common perception. It looks like most people are against to this statement.

PsychDave posted 8 arguments to the agreers part.
historybuff posted 10 arguments, I_Voyager posted 1 argument, Alex posted 12 arguments, omactivate posted 1 argument to the disagreers part.

PsychDave, Sosocratese, Adavion, danielle and 7 visitors agree.
Heartless_uh, historybuff, The_lamp, I_Voyager, skyfrancois_97, toughgamerjerry, nonliberalllama, thisrisingtide, AstroSpace, Trance, musejay1, mikeyjagar, Tristanzee, Psych_Code, TruthSeekerCivilSpeaker, Alex, xbulletwithbutterflywingsx, Ryan, gouthamabi, Zeno, athinus, Hitmenjr, wayneSPEC, AmericanScholar, omactivate, Skeetc15, Yuki_Amayane, Freyja, AngryBlogger, ReedMurphy, LucyTheDebatorQueen and 27 visitors disagree.

So you believe that lawyers have unlimited vetoes when selecting a jury and will therefore use them to avoid having stupid people on the jury?

3 years, 8 months ago

to be on a jury you get questioned by the defence and procecution. if you are stupid, they will notice and veto you.
in a typical jury picking day there are 200 random people selected, these people then go though questioning, and then the next day only 50 or do show up, these people are examined by the defence and procecution. then they are aproved by the judge. a jury is not made of random 12 people. it is picked from about 200 people. so it is both random and not.

3 years, 8 months ago

no. he is disagreeing with you. you just don't realize it. jury's are random selection of people. unless there is a very obvious reason they can't be a juror, they won't be vetoed. a judge certainly would allow a person with an IQ of 75 on a jury, unless he can't tie his own shoes how would you know? any illiterate, uneducated moron can be on a jury. and you are trusting them with people's lives.

3 years, 8 months ago

um yah what I said agrees with your last statement.

3 years, 8 months ago

You obviously have absolutely no idea how the jury system works or you wouldn't keep saying things that are blatantly wrong.

First, as long as there are minimum sentences, juries are deciding that someone will be spending at least that long in jail. Judges have some leeway with sentencing, but not as much as you seem to think.

Second, juries are selected at random. If you don't understand that, do at least a little research. The lawyers have a limited number of vetoes if they don't want someone on the jury, and the judge can pull someone if they are obviously unfit, but that is only if it is obvious. There will always be people who ignore reality in favor of belief and prejudice, and it is not always obvious.

For someone who is belittling someone over a lack of knowledge, you seem to have neglected learning about even the basics of the subject.

3 years, 8 months ago

nope you are wrong and clearly have no understanding of how the justice system works.
THE JURY ONLY SAYS WHETHER A PERSON IS GUILTY OR INOCENT. The judge decides the punishment life in prison or death. is this not the case?

when a jury is picked, it is not picked by someone drawing 12 names out of a hat, it is picked by the defence, and procecution and aproved by the judge. Will a judge let someone with a iq of 75 be in the jury? of course not.

For someone who claims to have taken law you know very little.

3 years, 8 months ago

a group of completely unqualified people decide whether you live or die. (or spend years and years in prison) these a big decisions being made by people who might have no education at all. they might have an IQ of 75. not every person is capable of understanding complicated legal issues.

3 years, 8 months ago

The jury only says inocent or guilty. the judge then decides if the defendant, if found guilty should get 25 years, life or death. the judge decides the punishment, the jury decides inocents or guilty.

3 years, 8 months ago

It is also why I am uncomfortable with average people, like Alex, deciding life or death decisions.

3 years, 8 months ago

that is an extremely cursory explanation. there is a great deal of other information involved. and the fact that you think you can simplify a life or death decision for someone into a few sentences is exactly the rediculous logic I'm trying to highlight.

3 years, 8 months ago

did you see my post about the murder definitions? explains the 3 degrees of murder in a few words.

3 years, 8 months ago

the law isn't a few sentences in a book. it is an entire building. any case will involve a huge amount of legal information which average people are not trained in or competent to make judgement on.

3 years, 8 months ago

it's not random, the prosecution and defence choose the jury. it's not the whole building, it's only one law, more like a room, I bet with a few days of lessons one could design a room.

3 years, 8 months ago

the key point is that they're stupid people. why would you entrust someone's life to some random idiot? if you were designing a building would you let some random person do it? you spend some time telling them about buildings then expect them to choose the best one. they wouldn't understand how a building should be designed. they wouldn't understand all the building codes. it would be insane. but for some reason when someone's life is at stake its a good idea?

3 years, 8 months ago

1st degree: intentional murder; 2nd degree: a killing that resulted from the intent to do serious bodily injury; 3rd degree: a killing that resulted from a depraved heart or extreme recklessness.
if one cannot understand the above they will not be placed on the jury.

3 years, 8 months ago

1st 2nd 3rd degree murder can be explained simply to the jury. the lawyers know how to explain a law to stupid people.

3 years, 8 months ago

assume that the charge is murder. a jury would have to know the definition of all three levels (1st,2nd, manslaughter) they would need to know the case law on how this should be interpreted. I've taken law in university (no I'm not a lawyer), laws are written in very difficult language to understand, and intentionally so. expecting a person with no training in the law to be able to render unbiased, informed decision is rediculous. I'm not saying the idea of a jury is bad, but a jury of uninformed people is a recipe for disaster.

3 years, 8 months ago

most of the time the defence and procecution are telling the same law fefinition, just different stories of what the defendant did.

3 years, 8 months ago

it's not the whole law it's just one law to understand.

3 years, 8 months ago

the law is not something you pick up in a week. it is extremely complicated. the defense and prosecution will both be telling them different interpretations of the law. and most people won't fully understand. without years if intensive study you cannot understand the intricacies of the law.

3 years, 8 months ago

I don't think you two understand the job of o jury. their job is not to look at the law and say guilty or not, but to listen to the lawyers, witnesses and then deliberate and state what side is right according to the law.

the law is very difficult to understand, so that is what the lawyers do explain the law to the jury.

3 years, 8 months ago

The truth is jurors are easy to manipulate. If you use their emotions you can get them to make judgements in your favor. even if it isn't legal. but that cuts both ways. if a wife kills her husband while he isn't a threat, but he had been abusing her for years. that is murder. if your life isn't in danger you cannot defend yourself. A jury would look past the letter of the law to see that she is a victim. a judge likely would not. But likewise if a prosecutor can manipulate a jury's emotions they can get a conviction even if the facts don't show guilt. there are many examples of this.

3 years, 8 months ago

Racism is already a factor. People whose careers depend on giving a fair judgement are more likely to take steps to deal with their biases than people who will never have to deal with any consequences for their decision.

As to the law being easy to understand, if you honestly believe that you have obviously not spent any time looking into the law. There is a reason lawyers go so school for so long. The law is almost never easy or simple.

3 years, 8 months ago

having a jury makes decisions fair. I f you let one person decide this gives them to much power and racism could more easily play a factor in the decision

3 years, 8 months ago

First of all this will never happen. there will always be a jury. Second all the jury does is say whether or not the person is guilty of the crime. the jury does not need to know the law that is what the lawyers do, explain the law. the jury can easily know the law and in most cases it is very easy. example: a man is charged for breaking into a store. the jury knows the law in this case. the two lawyers tell why the defendant did it or not. the jury decides if the man is guilty or not, and the judge decides the punishment.

3 years, 9 months ago

I can understand that but personally I would rather the person or people making decisions about legal matters be knowledgeable about the law for the same reason I would rather those making medical decisions be experts in medicine. They are both fields with extensive knowledge bases that, while accessible to the public, are different for the average person to learn. In both cases people's lives could be permanently damaged or ended (if capital punishment is used) because those making the decision did not fully understand the subject.

I think finding a better way for the people to influence what laws are passed or changed makes more sense than using juries to give inaccurate verdicts, and could cost substantially less to the taxpayers.

3 years, 11 months ago
I_Voyager
replied to...

At the moment I am leaning against you here Dave. Although your points are reasonable, that the jury is not ideal is not a good enough argument for it's disbandment. A small group of decision makers terrify me more. I prefer anarchy over dictatorship. If we were to keep our legal system, but remove the jury, I would fear that law would descend into something more like dictatorship. Whereas I accept Historybuff's argument that the jury is a mechanism against state control. If you could propose a mechanism which accomplish that goal I could be persuaded to join your side. But at the moment, given this legal system, the jury seems a necessary evil.

3 years, 11 months ago

That is a valid reason, but do you honestly feel that kind of outcome, for those reasons, is as common as juries finding either guilty or not in error? They wouldn't be publicized as much so I can't say for sure, but based on my experiences with people in general I don't have a great deal of confidence in the capabilities of a random selection of people understanding the laws well enough to make an informed decision. If a judge is coaching them on the relevant laws, or prompting them to ignore the law and use their emotions, the judge might as well be making the judgement.

3 years, 11 months ago

Lawmakers have the power to create law with or without the will of the people. Jury nullification is a way for people to affect case law. If a law is old and not updated for whatever reason (often because it is politically dangerous) it is a way to ensure that people aren't punished for an unjust law.

3 years, 11 months ago

It makes sense to me to have judges have leeway in cases with extenuating circumstances, but if the person is guilty they should be found guilty. If a judge has to encourage a jury to decide based on emotion rather than law, something is wrong with the system. If laws are not being enforced because juries refuse to convict, that seems to be a call to change the law, not continue to ignore it at great expense to the taxpayers. The popularity of a law should not be a determining factor in whether or not someone is guilty of it.

3 years, 11 months ago

while there is some merit to this argument there are things a jury can do that a judge cannot. Judges are supposed to strictly follow the law, mitigating circumstances are not a primary concern in guilt. Juries are allowed and in some cases encouraged to include emotions or morals in a decision. There is also the case of jury nullification wherein the jury rules them not guilty, even though they are, if they disagree with the law they broke or believe it should not be enforced in this case. In this way a law that no one believes in can't be enforced. If a judge is ruling, they can only object to a law if it violates the charter of Rights and freedoms,(in Canada) otherwise it is the job of parliament to make law and they have to enforce it.

3 years, 11 months ago

A jury is meant to be an impartial group of people so that no one person's biases or beliefs influence the verdict unduly. The problem is that this does not prevent stereotypes or widespread biases from influencing them. A jury is also largely ignorant of the law and while the judge cam explain it to them, it is difficult to expect people to grasp from a brief explanation what lawyers spend years learning.

A trial decided by a panel of judges would be far more likely to reach verdicts consistent with the law. I can't say it would eliminate bias as judges are still human, but it could prevent cases where people are either convicted or acquitted by popular opinion rather than the facts.

3 years, 11 months ago
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