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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 200821 Find in a Library
Title: Danish Jury
Journal: International Review of Penal Law  Volume:72  Issue:1-2  Dated:2001  Pages:87-120
Author(s): Peter Garde
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 34
Type: Legislation/Policy Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: France
Annotation: This article discusses the jury and lay assessor courts in Denmark.
Abstract: The jurisdiction of the mixed court with lay assessors is determined by the hypothetical penalty. If the alleged offense carries by law only imprisonment, or the alleged offense carries both imprisonment and fine and the prosecution demands a prison sentence, whether actual or suspended, then the case is tried in a mixed court. If the case concerns only a fine, a fine agreed to in court, or the acceptance of a warning, it is tried before a single judge. The right to trial by jury or a court of lay assessors is determined by law and cannot be waived with a few exceptions. The choice between a single judge, mixed court, or jury depends on the penalty requested by the prosecutor whether it is fine, imprisonment, or imprisonment for 4 years or more. In jury court, the jury decides the question of guilt that encompasses both the facts and the application of the relevant law to the proven acts. In lay assessor court, lay assessors have a vote equal to that of the professional judge or judges except for some formal questions left expressly to the president of the court. During deliberation in jury court, the presiding judge may be invited in to the jury room to answer questions if 5 jurors (of 12) so demand. In lay assessor court, the law does not determine the procedure of deliberation. A jury verdict can be appealed to the Supreme Court by either part on questions of law and sentence. A lower court may be appealed to the High Court as a court of appeal by either party on all questions without exception. Lay assessors are generally praised, though criticism is heard because of their lack of complete representativeness. The lack of reasoned judgments and the limited appeal are the main points of criticism for juries. Some proposed reforms of jury trials include the right to waive trial by jury and opt for a court with lay assessors, and the sequestering of the jury from the judges until deliberations. 140 footnotes
Main Term(s): Denmark; Juries; Lay judges
Index Term(s): Court personnel; Judges; Jury decisionmaking; Mixed court system; Trial procedures; Verdicts
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