Flashcards in 5.1.6 Strengths and Weaknesses of the Jury Deck (14)
Juries are a cross-section of the community and reflect prevailing community attitudes
Cross-section of the community:
Juries represent social norms, values and opinions of the times. The fact that the jury's decision is made by ordinary citizens ensures that court decisions are more likely to be accepted by the community. Moreover, jurors have limited or no experience, ensuring an objective view of the process.
Trial by peers
Trial by peers:
Being judged by your peers allows the public to be involved in the decision-making process in a trial. It also allows 12 people from different walks of life with different values to come together and judge an accused, as opposed to a single person who may have preconceived biases.
Ensures the legal system remains intelligible to the ordinary person.
Legal system remains intelligible to the ordinary person.
Lawyers are required to present the evidence and issues in a manner that can be understood by a lay person. The result is the accused and the public can understand the proceedings
Judge educates the community about the legal system
Judge educates the community about the legal system:
Members of the jury gain an insight into the justice system and how it functions. This promotes greater community confidence in and respect for the law.
Juries may not be a true cross-section of the community
Juries may not be a true cross-section of the community:
The provisions of the juries act mean that many people may be ineligible for appointment to the jury panel. This reduces the amount of people who have knowledge of the legal system. Additionally, many people are determined to be disqualified.
Weaknesses associated with a trial by peers
Weaknesses associated with a trial by peers:
Members of the public normally have no legal expertise, thus providing some doubt as to whether they have understood the evidence and what is required to prove guilt. Furthermore, peers may have conceived biases, and peers may access information or be privy to media attention on the crime, which can affect their impartiality.
Jury deliberations are kept secret and reasons do not have to be given.