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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 200828 Find in a Library
Title: Reasons for Reintroducing Trial by Jury in Russia
Journal: International Review of Penal Law  Volume:72  Issue:1-2  Dated:2001  Pages:253-258
Author(s): Sergey A. Pashin
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 6
Type: Legislation/Policy Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: France
Annotation: This article describes the process of reintroduction of jury trials in Russia.
Abstract: The jury trial was established for the first time in 1864. The criminal investigation was delegated to investigators that were the members of the circuit courts. The judges became non-removable and formally independent. A system of Justices of the Peace was created. Local courts represented by a judge and two lay assessors, as well as revolutionary tribunals, were established in 1917. During the next 70 years there were no attempts to reintroduce jury trials, which were criticized by Soviet scientists as being a bourgeois invention that was in contradiction with ideals of socialist legality. In 1990, independence and sovereignty of the Russian Federation as well as reforms were declared. One of the major aspects of court reform was the reintroduction of trial by jury. The advantages of a jury trial were more collective nature, unquestionable independence, and lower risk of abuse and mistake. Any citizen of the Russian Federation that is at least 25 years old, has no criminal record, is fully competent, and included in the electoral lists, can become a juror. All cases that the krai and oblast courts are authorized to handle fall within the jurisdiction of the jury court. Jury trials have the following features: distribution of competence between a judge and jurors; organizational separation of the jury from the professional bench; possibility to acquit an accused that violated the criminal law if not guilty; and binding nature of verdicts returned by juries. A mixed form of legal proceedings is preserved. Investigation is carried out on an inquisitorial basis with intermediate results being kept secret. In the Russian legal system, the decision on punishment is made by a judge at the same proceedings, but without the participation of the jurors. The preliminary investigation of criminal cases that are later forwarded to jury trials is carried out more thoroughly and with better observance of the law. However, the potential gained with the introduction of jury trials has not been fully realized.
Main Term(s): Juries; Russian Federation
Index Term(s): Foreign courts; Jury selection; Mixed court system; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Trial procedures; Verdicts
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