Jury Duty



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Jury system is a trial system that twelve citizens decide whether defendants are guilty or
not. The verdict
is unanimous. The jurors are all laypersons , as far as law is concerned. There is a reason
for unanimous
verdict. If one jury is against the verdict,it is regarded as being room for doubt.

Advantages of jury system
are direct participation of American people, conventional judgement by people, fair stage
of investigation,
resistance against polictics’ and judical plot, and making of democratic consciousness.

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For example, if a
public prosecutor submit unlawful proof without trial permission, counsel makes an
objection to it. A chief
judge can’t admit counsel’s objection. Defendant is at a disadvantage. However, there is a
possibility that
jury system will check rotting of trial. Jurors need not explain reason of verdict to court.

If juries feel way
of investigation is dirty and viorate human rights, they can decide the defendant is
innocnt. In short, jurors
can decide defendant is innocent even if a public prosecutor has disadvantageous proofs
for the defendant.

Juries who are representative of citizen make the decision value about proof. But, Jerome
Frank, one of
delegates of legal realists, criticized jury system in Law ; the Modern Mind, 1930. A
lot of verdicts are
irresponsible juries’ products of caprice and prejudice, for example, the defendant is a rich
corporation, the
plaintiff is a poor boy and the counsel is an eloquent speaker. Such facts often decide who
wins or loses.

He characterizes that juries have tendency to like weak people and hate strong people.

Jury system seems
to have many problems. A sophisticated and rich person, a person of position and a busy
businessman do
not want to become a juror, because juries are bound for all trial period and therefore
person who can
afford time for trial can become a juror, such as a housewife, an old person and an
unemployed person. As
a result jurors who have not even seen stock averages are to make the decision for an
important and
difficult case involved in the Antimonoply Law. It is said that citizen’s ability to execute
for jury’s duty is
the problem. But I do not think so. There are not scientific grounds for their abilities.It is
a prejudice.Law
degree and no proper ability to serve as a juror are not closely connected. Perhaps high
educational degree
may become an obstacle of conventional judgement. It is said that Japanese companies
always lose the
lawsuit, because American juries have prejudice against Japanese. Do you think it is true?
The answer is
NO.The probability of winnig a suit, by a jury who represents American citizen, was fifty
to one hundred in
data from 1980 to 95. To my surprise, American juries do not seem to matter nationality.

After all,
hypothesis that American juries have preconception against Japanese and Japanese
companies always lose
suit is not right. Moreover, hypothesis that juries are emotional and sympathize with
defendant, and as a
result the opinion that big companies always loses suit is groundless. The cause of
distrust in jury system
is probably connected to the way of news reports by mass media. Mass media reports
minus images. The
general public believe it is the real image in spite of successful verdicts. The present age
is the one of an
information-intensive society. Many people are influenced by the mass media. If those
people who have
prejudice happen to see a juror who gives a big yawn or dozes during trial, minus image
generalizes with
conviction. Let me give you a concrete example. Under sensational headline of
newspapers, mass media
reports great costs of jury trials as if every trial by a jury costs a lot. I agree with the idea
of jury system. It
is very good that American people participate in judicature. But, many people take a
critical attitude toward
the jury system. I never think that they are wrong. They may say We had better entrust
trial to trained
judge. However, meaning of jury system’s existence is to stick to common sense of
citizens. Providing
whether the man is innocent or not by legal rights all people can exercise is permitted is
more important
than the fact whether the man is innocent or not.

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