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Would you rather have a trial by jury?

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sweetheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 09:19 PM
Original message
Poll question: Would you rather have a trial by jury?
Lets say you are charged by the patriot act with being part of a
terrorist plot to blow up a building. The evidence is an airline
ticket, a video you took on vacation the previous year, and that your
gas tank is full. The prosecuation claims you were planning to siphon
the gas in to a water bottle to carry on the flight, and the video was
to case the attack location. In evidence are all your DU posts and
the prosecution's interpretation of them.

The trial is to be held in a very conservative area, and the jury will
likely be fundy christians of the falwell variety if you choose a trial
by jury. So this builds to the question.

Would you rather have a trial with 5 professional judges and no jury,
people who are trained to review evidence, and facts. Or would you
rather have a trial by jury of 12 peers, who may not be able to
understand what facts are.

In our age of low education, low attention span and low ability to
separate fact from fiction, do you feel comfortable trusting your life
to your peers, or would you rather have paid professionals.

Has the trial by a jury of one's peers reached its sell by date?

Sorry, polls are turned off at Level 3.

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Mojambo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 09:23 PM
Response to Original message
1. Gotta go with the judges
Because many of my lounge posts would NOT go over well with a jury of fundy bible-thumpers.
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codswallop Donating Member (97 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 09:25 PM
Response to Original message
2. We have re-entered the dark world of the tribunal.
Torquemada would be proud.
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Sandpiper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 09:25 PM
Response to Original message
3. You put judges on a pedestal where many of them don't deserve to be
Judges are either elected or politically appointed, which means they generally share the values of the people who voted for them, or the politician who appointed them.

What makes you think that if you're on trial in a conservative area, the judge will be any less conservative than the jurors?



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sweetheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 09:36 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Even with what you say
At least the judge would be held to a professional standard in the
judgement, and have the training in the law as to what evidence was,
and what heresay is. Likely they know what a "fact" is. Given what
we often see on DU, the same cannot be said of our "peers".
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Sandpiper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 09:48 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. Judges are just as susceptible to the fears and prejudices of their day
As jurors are.

"Wise" judges have given us decisions like Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson.

A perfect example of this is Earl Warren.

Earl Warren turned out to be perhaps the most liberal Chief Justice in U.S. history. Yet while he was Attorney General of California, he supported the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII.

Judges are just as human as anyone else.
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sweetheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 10:01 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. And yet, OJ simpson's jury
Were suspicious that the police planted a bloody glove, and put blood
from a blood test on his carpet. :eyes: Gretna Green was a very
exclusive neighborhood, and drugs dealers simply did not drive by there
and knife anonymous people.... a jury was duped.

When the concept of "fact" and proof are not very clear to the public,
a public with an attention span of 5 minutes... what trust is there?
A trial can take months... and only judges are knowledgeable enought
to weigh the complex equation presented during those months and see
thought the hype.
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rzemanfl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 09:26 PM
Response to Original message
4. Wouldn't care who. I would call two witnesses, the woman who
had to drink her own breast milk to get through airport security and a doctor to testify that drinking gasoline can kill you.
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alarimer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 09:32 PM
Response to Original message
5. I'd take my chances with the judges
too many people are just like sheep, easily swayed by the fear tactics of the prosecution with no critical thinking skills whatsoever. Besides "peers" is sort of misleading- people who have no college degree are not my "peers"; neither are people with PHds.
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WillowTree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 09:36 PM
Response to Original message
7. Might depend on jurisdiction...
....but I don't think that you have the option to go for a panel of judges in most places. You either request a jury of 12 citizens, of a bench trial with one judge. Conventional wisdom is that you're always better off with a jury trial and the combined judgement of twelve individuals. Guess it would depend on the circumstances and the particular case.
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sweetheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 09:42 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. So i've added some things that are common in other nations
In the netherlands, it is a panel of judges (thanks for that word
:-) )... and it is common in other nations as well, though i cannot
speak as to how many or what the rules of a trial are.

As the law gets more and more complex with our society, there are fewer
and fewer cases where i myself would choose a jury of peers. Rather i
would hope, that even a biased panel of judges would be more able to
dispense law without emotion or politics.

There is an argument for retiring the trial by jury, and i'm simply
asking, if your own neck were on the line, are you so in love with the
idea that you'd rather test it out?
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Sandpiper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 09:51 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. Denial of Trial by Jury was one of the things that Revolutionary America
Considered worthy of revolution.

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sweetheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 09:57 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. That was in a different paradigm of the world
where law was very different in complexity from what it is today,
and as well, "peers", in a world of low population where people knew
each other, is a very different thing than it is today.

People wanted justice, and i don't believe for a second that a jury
of peers has enough braincells to dispense justice... nor judges for
that matter, but at least they've got to pass a few tests.
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Sandpiper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 10:00 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. If you want to surrender your Constitutional Rights, feel free
But, I'll hang on to mine.

And I'll take my chances with twelve people rather than a single judge (most of whom happen to be former prosecutors btw).
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sweetheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 10:14 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. What rights?
Freedom of the press... bzzt... one down.

Right to bear arms... distorted grossly... 2 down.

No soldiers in my house... hmmm... but the amendment was before
an income tax was instituted that i am coerced to quarter soldiers
with my living.... 3 down

Illegal search and seisure.... no longer valid someone just
arrested by their safeway card.... 4 down.

double indemnity... gitmo... 5 down.

speedy trial with council... ha! speedy my bum... 6 down.

Trial by a jury of my peers.... no, a jury of ignorant idiots who
haven't a clue as to common law and a reasonale person... 7 down.

Excessive bail, cruel and unusual... police taking property from people
with cannabis convictions.... 8 down

unennumerated rights.... no longer understood... what rights?.. 9 down

states rights... ha! yea right... 10 down.

Well there's your glorious bill of rights, in the dustbin... and
aint it great that you can still get a jerry springer trial.... so
exactly WHEN, did you ever have those rights? Its a scam, and you
have to make up lies to pretend the rights are still in force...
I'm looking forward to your explanation of that.

I don't even mention the heinous perversion of the 14th that it was
used to pervert an election where slave-descendents votes were not
counted.... 14 down.

uuuuhhhh beavis... WHAT rights?

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Sandpiper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 10:21 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Self Delete
Edited on Sat Jan-29-05 10:59 PM by Sandpiper
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Jack_DeLeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 04:59 AM
Response to Reply #8
22. As laws get more complex...
I want a jury trial.

Because if laws are so complex then the people on the jury are thinking "I cant fucking understand what the point of this law is" so why should I sentance someone as being guilty for a law that makes no sense.
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Hamlette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 10:06 PM
Response to Original message
14. if I'm guilty, the jury, if I'm innocent, the judges
goes for any "crime" in my opinion. Sometimes juries get confused and let the guilty go free.
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imenja Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 11:41 PM
Response to Original message
17. In our system we only have two choices
Trial by jury or a single judge. What is the point of including the rest? If we're being hypothetical, I would prefer not to be charged at all.
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American Tragedy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 02:53 AM
Response to Original message
18. At least a judge would be more obliged to justify their decision
in terms of the law.

Although I support it in theory, I am extremely skeptical of trial by jury in certain social climates. Two good ole boys in Mississippi were acquitted by a jury of their peers after they confessed to brutally torturing and murdering a young black boy, allegedly in order to "send a message".

Juries seem dangerously prone to ruling arbitrarily and emotionally. A judge might be more likely to take into account the actual laws, and consider their future professional reputation.
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Sandpiper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 03:15 AM
Response to Reply #18
20. Hypothetically speaking
If you had the choice of a jury of 12 ordinary citizens or a panel of William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas, who would you choose?
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Jack_DeLeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 03:11 AM
Response to Original message
19. Always a jury of 12.
Its much easier to convince 1 person out of 12, than it is 1 out of 1, or 1 out of 5.
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Sandpiper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 03:16 AM
Response to Reply #19
21. It only takes one to hang a jury
If it's a panel of judges, it takes a majority.
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sweetheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 07:28 PM
Response to Original message
23. seems a jury trial is indeed an anachronism, even on DU
The poll stands at 52% for a panel of judges...

Despite some admirable arguments by jury trial supporters... interesting.
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mitchum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 07:35 PM
Response to Original message
24. Only if I were guilty...
hey, I'm a misanthrope and I would be willing to have my attorney attempt to manipulate the "reasoning skills" of my fellow dolts.

Not guilty? I'm going with the judges.
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