Homework Question on Criminal Trial’s Jury
- This week’s discussion will focus on the jury. The Constitution specifies that a criminal trial’s jury be impartial, but contrary to popular belief, does not specify that it be comprised of the defendant’s “peers.” During jury selection, the attorneys use peremptory challenges to dismiss potential jurors that seem to be unsympathetic to their case. Should there be any restrictions on the use of these challenges? Explain your reasoning. Some legal scholars argue for the establishment of professional jurors. These jurors would be employed by the court and be trained to understand the law. Hearing cases would be their full-time job.
- What are the pros and cons of such a system? Would you be in favor or would you oppose it?
- You are facing a jury trial because the corporation you work for has accused you of embezzlement. If found guilty, you could serve up to 10 years in prison.
- What specific characteristics would you want your jury members to possess? Why?
- Explain how jury members with these characteristics may influence the outcome of the case. Provide rationale examples.
Homework Answer on Criminal Trial’s Jury
Peremptory challenges provide attorneys with an opportunity to work with a jury they are sure will be sympathetic to their case. They are not obliged to provide reasons why they object to some members of the jury. This allows the attorney to dismiss any member of the jury even for personal reasons. This is unfair to the jury members. The law should create provisions that should state the conditions under which an attorney can object to a certain member of the jury.
The objection should be acceptable and not one based on malice and other frivolous personal reasons that have no effect on the case (Hoffman, 1997). Professional jurors can be a great addition to the court. Through hearing cases on a fulltime basis they can accumulate immense experience necessary for them to make the right judgments in cases. Such a system can be of great benefit to the judiciary due to the efficiency it can introduce.
Studying the law provides members of the jury with an opportunity to internalize it and identify flaws that lawyers exploit to have their clients exonerated from any unlawful acts. This sometimes leads to failed justice because the suspect is guilty but due to loopholes in the law, the suspect walks scot free. These jurors would also have the opportunity to review many of the cases that are presented in the court (Bertelsen, 1998). This would be an opportunity to identify errors in judgment that may have resulted to an innocent person getting incarcerated or a criminal set free.