Unit 4: AOS 2- Jury System Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Unit 4: AOS 2- Jury System Deck (14)
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1

General Role of the Jury

The jury acts as an independent decision maker in criminal trials in the County and Supreme Courts and some civil trials in the County and Supreme Courts.
The jury is a decider of facts, as the make decisions on facts that they believe to be true. They must listen to all evidence, understand, remember, interpret evidence as well as forming an opinion on which party they think is in the right.

2

Compare the role of a criminal vs a civil jury: Differences

Differences:
-The standard of proof that they must decide on. In a criminal case they decision made by the jury must be beyond reasonable doubt, that is the jurors must feel as sure as reasonably possible. Whereas the jury in a civil trial must make a decision on the balance of probabilities that is, which party is most probably in the right and which in the wrong.
-The outcome of the case they decide on. In a criminal case the jury decides the verdict guilty or not guilty however the judge decides upon the sentence. However in a civil trial the jury decides upon the verdict as well as the amount of damages awarded, to be paid to the plaintiff, if the plaintiff is successful and damages have been sought.

3

Compare the role of a criminal vs a civil jury: Similatiries

Similarity is how they come to their decision. Both juries listen to and consider all of the evidence, take part in deliberations and then reach a decision based on fact.

4

Verdicts in criminal trials

-Must try and reach a unanimous vote (all members)
-If not possible after 6 hours will accept (11/12) in all other cases other than murder, treason, commonwealth offences or drug trafficking of commerical quantities.

5

Explain a hung jury

If a jury is unable to reach either a unanimous or majority verdict, then it cannot reach a decision and it is said to be a hung jury.

6

Explain one reform to the jury system

One reform to the jury system is the addition of extra jurors, these tend to happen in lengthy and complex cases. Civil juries in the County and Supreme Court are allowed to have two extra jurors in case a juror becomes sick or is required to be excused. Criminal juries allow for 3 extra jurors. This helps to prevent mistrials as if the number of jurors falls below 10 in a criminal case it will be declared a mis trial.

7

Verdicts in civil trials

The decision can be a majority decision (five out of six) if they are unable to reach an unanaimus decision after at least three hours.
In addition the jury also has to determine the amount of damages.

8

Factors that can affect a jury's composition: Disqualified

Some people are disqualified from jury duty, due to something they have done in the past, such as those who are bankrupt.

9

Factors that can affect a jury's composition: Ineligible

Some may be inelibile due to their occupation or their inablity to comprehend their task as a juror. For example those that work in law enforcement as their opinion would carry too much weight.
Unable to comprehend the task or carry out the duties (someone who cannot read or understand english)

10

Factors that can affect a jury's composition: Excused

Some of the members of the community who are called upon to undertake jury duty have the ability to be excused. This may be due to a number of reasons such as illness, poor health and the advanced age of a person.

11

Factors that can affect a jury's composition:System of Challenges

Both parties are given challenges, which allow them to remove a perspective member from the jury, there are two types of challenges, challenges for cause and peremptory challenges. Challenges for cause have a reason behind them, they are unlimited in both civil and criminal areas.
Peremptory challenges are those that are without reason based on assumption that the perspective juror will not be favourable to their case, they are generally based on assumptions such as gender, race and occupation. In a criminal trial if there is one accused then the accused party is entitiles to 6 jurors, two accused (5 jurors) three or more accused (4 jurors per accused). In a civil trial the plaintiff and defendant are entitled to three peremptary challenges each, done by striking the name on a list.

12

Strengths and Weaknesses of Juries: Cross Section

Strength:Jury is comprised of a cross section of society. A jury is made up of average men and women who have been randomly selected to best attempt to represent society. An accused person can therefore feel confident that they are not being oppressed by authority, but being tried by people within the community.
Weakness: Some may argue that it is not a true cross-section of society due to different communities having different interests and therefore comprising of different needs. Also some members of the community are inelidgeble (non-english reading), disqaulified (bank rupt) or excused (advanced of age) and therefore it not being a true representation. Also due to the system of challenges.
Peremptory challenges are those that are without reason based on assumption that the perspective juror will not be favourable to their case, they are generally based on assumptions such as gender, race and occupation. In a criminal trial if there is one accused then the accused party is entitiles to 6 jurors, two accused (5 jurors) three or more accused (4 jurors per accused). In a civil trial the plaintiff and defendant are entitled to three peremptary challenges each, done by striking the name on a list.

13

Strengths and Weaknesses of Juries: Spreads the responsiblity of the verdict

Strength: The jury allows for the decision making to be shared by 12 people (criminal) instead of laying purely with the judge. Such as if 12 people decide that a person is guilty, that is more likely to be correct then a decision made by just one person.
Weakness: Jurors deliberations are carried out behind closed doors, meaning the deicison could be unjust id not all the evidence has been given appropriate attention. Judges and magistrates could be seen to handle the decision better due to their experience and professional training

14

Strengths and Weaknesses of Juries: Reflect community values, decided by ordinary people

Strength: Reflects community values. The jury is able to reflect community values and bring a commonsense approach to solving cases in the courts. It allows for the decison to take into count the social, moral and economic values of the time as the decision is made from an ordinary person on the street.
Weakness: The jury may have unfamiliartyy with legal procedure: The jury is made up of averga epoeple who have little knowledge or experience of courtroom procedure, which may cause confusing and being overhwlemed.