CHAPTER 10- The Jury System Flashcards Preview

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❓❓❓what is the role of the jury?

-to decided on questions of fact, rather than law
-to listen to all evidence presented in the trial objectively without any bias or preconceived ideas
-to deliver a verdict in a case by determine if the standard of proof has been met
-to follow instructions given by the judge regarding what to take into account and how to behave

-to determine the verdict (guilty/not guilty)

-to determine the verdict (liable/not liable)
-to calculate damages if the plaintiff is successful (except defamation cases)



-names of jurors come from the electoral role. When registering to vote at 18 we are also registering to serve on the jury
-the purpose of the questionnaire sent to people is to ascertain who is qualified to serve on the jury



-it is an offence not to answer the questionnaire. For not returning the questionnaire or including false/misleading information = $3,504.60

-it is an offence not to attend once summoned to appear ($7009.20)

-'Juries Act 2000 (vic)'


❓❓❓name three factors that influence the composition of jurors



❓❓❓explain disqualified (composition of jurors)

-can be disqualified because of something they did in the past to make them unsuitable
-could be disqualified because they may be biased towards the accused and may be unreliable
-other reasons: currently bankrupt, anyone convicted with an indictable offence eg. Treason


❓❓❓explain ineligible (composition of jurors)

-ineligible because of their employment on a legal profession (present or in the past ten years) eg. Lawyers, court official, judges, police officers (ineligible because it is feared their opinion may carry too much weight or influence over other jurors, and everyone's opinion should be of equal importance)
-could be ineligible because they are unable to comprehend and carry out the tasks required by a juror (eg. Can't read/understand English, visually impaired/deaf, intellectually disabled)


❓❓❓explain excused (composition of jurors)

=people who wish to be excused from serving on jury service, temporarily or permanently, for a good reason
-may ask to be excused from serving the jury once they see the witness list and know a witness
-other reasons: poor health/illness, if they can't be impartial, too old


❓❓❓list four advantages to the jury system

-the jury is a cross section of the community
-involves the general community
-reflects community values
-ensures less legal jargon is used


❓❓❓explain 'jury is a cross section of the community' (advantages to the jury system)

-made up of people in community of different age, gender, race, religion etc, so they are meant to be a representation of the community values
-they are a measure of social norms, values. And opinion
-since verdict is decided by ordinary members of the community, the jury ensures that the court decisions are more likely to be accepted by the community
-juries understand how ordinary people would behave in the circumstances


❓❓❓explain 'involves the general community' (advantages to the jury system)

-jury duty is part of our civic duty. It's the only involvement most people have with the legal system
-members of the jury gain an insight into the justice system, and a better understanding of how it functions
-rather than just base it on the media's representation of it, jury service gives people the opportunist to gain experience and an appreciation of how the system works


❓❓❓explain 'reflects community values' (advantages to the jury system)

-juries represent the view of the 'ordinary person', allowing a range of views to be brought into deliberation on issues
-a judge along may be out of touch with social, moral, or economic values of the time and may make decisions that don't reflect the point of view of the ordinary person
-jury brings a common sense approach to decisions making rather than the legal reasoning that s judge would use
-protects basic human rights, because a jury can elect not to apply a 'bad' Law, and in this way applies the values of the community to laws


❓❓❓explain 'ensures less legal jargon is used' (advantages to the jury system)

-since the jury is made up of a cross section of the community it is essential that all evidence is presented in a way that is clear and non technical so that they can understand it
-barristers may need to simplify their technical language and refrain from speaking 'legal jargon'. This benefits the parties as they have a better understanding and may accept the legal process and the final outcome in the case


❓❓❓list four disadvantages to the jury system

-not a true cross section of the community
-jurors may be biased
-create delays
-media influence


❓❓❓explain 'not a true cross section of the community' (disadvantages to the jury system)

-even though it's random, it's not an accurate representation
-too many people are exempt from jury duty e.g. People involved with the legal roles sign eg. Police officers
-too many others are also excused, such as because of inconvenience
-the right to challenge jurors they believe will not be favourable to their trial further adds to this lack of a cross section of the community


❓❓❓explain 'jurors may be biased' (disadvantages to the jury system)

-may be difficult for some jurors to remain completely impartial
-people may be unaware of their own biases
-eg. If one person is a pharmacist and on that trial is a person who robbed a pharmacy, it may be difficult to remain unbiased


❓❓❓explain 'creates delays' (disadvantages to the jury system)

-juries create delays to the resolution of disputes because of empaneling jurors, deliberation by the jury at the time of trial, all evidence and legal terms need to be seen, heard, and understood by the jury, and legal personnel have to explain these to them


❓❓❓explain 'media influence' (disadvantages to the jury system)

-jury may be influenced by the media in a high profile case, and a decision may not be based on the evidence presented
-jurors may have heard about the case before being empaneled
-hard to change preconceived ideas


❓❓❓list three reforms that could be added to the jury system

-require jurors to give reasons for their decisions
-have a specialist foreperson
-introduce 'not proven' verdict


❓❓❓explain 'require jurors to give reasons for their decisions' (reforms)

-makes them more accountable for their verdict
-parties would know if points of law had been applied
-ensures evidence is closely assessed

-could lead to more appeals
-since 12 people have to decide, each one may have a different reason for their decision. Coming up with one reason for the verdict will be difficult


❓❓❓explain 'have a specialist foreperson' (reforms)

-as the jury is unfamiliar with the legal system and court procedures, having an experienced foreperson would be helpful because they could assist jurors with informing them of the relevant law, and advising the, on court procedures/rules of evidence

- too much weight could be given to the foreperson's decision
-those not sure would just defer to them and let that person make the decision, rather than decide by ongoing debate with jury members


❓❓❓explain 'introduce not proven verdict' (reforms)

-used in Scotland
-jurors can have a choice of three verdicts
-means that the defendant will be released but not acquitted with the 'not proven' verdict, so they could be tried again if new evidence is found


❓❓❓list three alternatives to the jury system

-judge only
-professional jurors
-specialist jurors


❓❓❓explain 'judge only' (alternatives)

-judge has thorough knowledge of the law/legal processes and procedures
-saves time and reduces costs
-decision will more likely be right
-already used in magistrate's court

-a judge's judgement may be coloured by the types of cases he has dealt with
-a judge is employed by the crown and people may find he is not as objective as being judged by peers


❓❓❓explain 'professional jurors' (alternatives)

-would understand court procedure and legal processes
-would develop expertise in certain types of cases

-may develop biases from seeing similar cases rather than judge on their own merit
-being employed by the state may lose their independence


❓❓❓explain 'specialist jurors' (alternatives)

-have juries made up of people who have specialist knowledge in a relevant area
-eg. Specialist jury could be made up of medical experts in a case involving complicated medical evidence

-they might have biases against people in the same profession who did sow thing wrong
-wouldn't be a true cross section of the community
-would be difficult to find professionals willing to give up work to attend months of jury duty


❓❓❓how does the jury selection contribute to a fair an unbiased hearing?

-random selection promotes the idea of the jury being made Jl of a cross section of the community (ensures impartiality)
-questionnaire sent to potential jurors is an attempt to make the system fair and unbiased. People in certain professions are deemed ineligible and people with a possible bias against the legal system are disqualified from serving on a jury


❓❓❓how does the jury system hinder a fair and unbiased legal system?

-not a true trial by a person's peers
-eg. Young indigenous men are over represented in the criminal justice system yet the proportion of indigenous people who serve on the jury is far less
-too many people are exempt or challenged


❓❓❓how does the jury system contribute to effective acces of the legal system?

-in a criminal trial. The cost of having a jury is borne by the state and ultimately the taxpayers


❓❓❓how does the jury system hinder effective access to the legal system?

-in civil trials, in addition to all the other fees and costs associated with proving a case, the party who wishes to have a jury must pay for it.
-the high cost would prelude some parties from using a jury in their civil trial, denying them access to this mechanism
-instead, the judge alone will determine liability


❓❓❓explain how the jury system hinders timely resolution of disputes

-use of a jury adds to the time take for a trial due to empanelment taking hours, or even days, and the trail proceedings may need to be halted for jurors to be removed for discussion to take place
-in criminal trials, if it is a hung jury, there will be a hearing, so a jury adds to the length of the trial rather than reduce it