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Jury Duty

Jury Duty 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. 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.

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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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