Sunday, September 5, 2010

Problems with Juries of Today

My problems with the jury are not solved by my verdicts.

1) No knowledge of complex technical and personal issues. Impossible to impart an engineering or police education in a few hours. Stop excluding those with knowledge.

2) No secrecy after the first ballot, and vulnerability to bullying, so everyone can go home.

3) The potential nullification of the nullification by just one loudmouth. Put a lawyer on the jury. He can move 11 other votes to reverse the self-evident verdict (done in real life, and described in private communication).

4) Physiologic measures of deception are banned by the Rules of Evidence (lie detector results). Yet, gut feelings of know nothing strangers about what is true are OK. This is cuckoo lawyer delusion.

5) Lawless taking of juror time without adequate compensation. Like shanghaiing sailors in a San Fran saloon in 1868. You fall through a trap door, someone hits you over the head. You wake up 100 miles out to sea on the way to China. And all you wanted was a drink (like all you wanted was to vote, and now your are on a target list).

6) Excusing from duty or excluding in voir dire all educated people. The selection should be completely randomized, and no one should be excused. That is necessary if the idea is to get a selection representing the general population. This makes the jurors grumpy, and biases them against the defendant, "But for your irresponsible, selfish, criminal conduct, I would not have to lose 2 weeks pay. Thanks a lot a-hole."
Judges should be put on the jury shanghai list.

7) Not allowed to take notes. Not allowed to ask questions in middle of trial, for example, "I didn't hear that. Can you, please, repeat it?"

In 1275 AD, the jury was a marvel of innovation and justice. It allowed people with knowledge. It permitted the wisdom of the crowd effect. It worked in bringing verdicts to where the mean of the population's ethics was, as opposed to eccentric bizarre, idiosyncratic feelings of judges. The lawyer hobbled and eliminated these positive features to better control the trial, a false charade designed to generate fees.

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