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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 75474 Find in a Library
Title: Trial by Jury in Criminal Cases - The Case for Abolition
Author(s): G Richards
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 20
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: Trial by jury is looked upon generally as being a safeguard of the people's liberties, yet a strong case can be made for the abolition of the jury system in the United Kingdom.
Abstract: The jury system is of fairly recent origin and has never ensured everyone a trial by peers. Juries regularly contain incompetent members, have a tendency to interpret facts in accordance with 'jury law' as opposed to legal principles, and show marked prejudice against some laws. Jury standards vary from area to area and are tampered with by the use of jury challenge. The jury system is costly, and juries are not publicly accountable for their verdicts because deliberations are conducted in secret. Some juries arrive at unchallengeable perverse verdicts or have their deliberations distorted by press publicity, group behavior, the fear of harsh sentences, and sympathy for defendants. Two alternatives to the jury trial are suggested: providing a summary trial by magistrate and dealing with more serious offenses by a panel of three judges or by a judge and a panel of trained assessors possessed of specialized knowledge for particular types of cases. Bibliographical footnotes and a list of information sources are provided.
Index Term(s): Juries; Right to trial by jury; United Kingdom (UK)
Note: Part of the Bramshill, (England) Police College Inspectors Course, 77/3, 1977.
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