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Justice Without Juries (From Jury - Proceedings of Seminar on The Jury, 20-22 May 1986, P 45-59, 1986, Dennis Challinger, ed. - See NCJ-103890)

NCJ Number
103892
Author(s)
M Read
Date Published
1986
Annotation
This article presents arguments for and against the jury system in Australia and determines that justice would be better served without juries.
Abstract
Arguments for the jury are that it checks and balances the power of criminal justice professionals, is a reliable fact finder, and dispenses public perceptions of justice that may be obscured by the law. There is no evidence that juries are necessary to counter judicial, attorney, and police bias in criminal cases. Judges agree with the jury's verdict in at least 75 percent of the cases, and society may not have benefited from those verdicts where judges disagreed with the jury. Attorney bias is countered in the adversarial system, and independent judges and prosecutors tend to check police investigatory abuses. There is little evidence that jury members are equipped to be reliable fact finders. The facts examined often deal with refined legal concepts and complex scientific evidence. Lacking the expertise to deal with such matters, juries are vulnerable to indiscriminate decisionmaking. The assumption that juries have a less law-bound sense of justice than judges is not borne out by the facts. Judges have displayed ability to interpret the law so as to apply contemporary standards of justice. 11 references.