Trial by jury is the foundation of our legal justice system. Each day across the nation, panels of ordinary citizens pass judgement over the actions of their fellow Americans, determining whether defendents are "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt", while remembering that those appearing before them are "innocent until proven guilty." Despite this, the American jury is not held in high esteem by some Americans. This is evidenced by the refusal of some people to fulfill jury duty. In addition, many critics argue that juries are incapable of handling certain complex cases. For instance, when dealing with matters of bank fraud or embezzlement, they feel that the common person can not grasp the complex intricacies involved. Such people argue for "blue ribbon panels" in cases such as that, composed of experts in the given fields. Another common criticism of juries, especially in urban areas, is that racism too often comes into play. Defense attorneys hope to get African Americans on the jury, who they hope will distruct police officers and sympathize with the defendents. Prosecutors, stereotypcially, try to obtain a less ethincally diverse jury. Either way, it is difficult to imagine that the defendent receives a jury of his or her peers. For these reasons, many people feel that the jury system has outlived its usefulness in its present form.
Do you feel that the current jury system is the best method of obtaining justice?
Do you feel that expert "blue ribbon panels" should be convened for highly technical or complex cases?
Do you feel that the attorneys' ability to strike jurors from the panel without cause (pre-emptory challenges) fosters racism within the legal justice system?
You can write to us with your views!
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