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Jury System: Some Suggestions for Reform (From Jury in Criminal Trials, P 11-32, 1986 -- See NCJ-109095)

NCJ Number
P Byrne
Date Published
12 pages
The New South Wales Law Reform Commission in its examination of jury trials in criminal proceedings made 95 specific recommendations for reform, 60 of which require implementing legislation.
Principal recommendations include that the trials of serious offenders should continue to be heard before a judge and 12 jurors, the representative character of the jurors should be enhanced by increasing the number of eligibles, anonymity of jurors should be strictly observed, jurors should be given more information in advance of trial and have improved communications during trial, and there should be special restrictions to reduce the risk of juror prejudice and bias, including those on media publicity. Other recommendations include that pretrial hearings be instituted, that additional jurors be appointed to ensure that very long criminal trials are not abandoned for want of jurors, that soliciting information on jury deliberations from jurors for publication purposes be prohibited, and that no attempts should be made to limit or control good faith disclosures by former jurors about their deliberations. A number of these recommendations have elicited some controversy. Other areas of concern for future projects remain, including consideration of the use of standardized jury instructions, the role of the jury in sentencing, and the admissibility of evidence relating to jury deliberations during appeal proceedings. 19 footnotes. ABI jp