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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 92336 Find in a Library
Title: Participation in Courts - American Jurors and German Lay Judges (From Comparative Criminology, P 121-134, 1983, Israel L Barak-Glantz and Elmer H Johnson, ed. - See NCJ-92329)
Author(s): N T Wolfe
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study compares the methods of selecting American jurors and German lay judges as well as the impact of selection and assignment on the prospective juror or lay judge.
Abstract: In the Federal Republic of Germany, persons are chosen from the community to serve on the bench with professional judges. In this capacity they have full powers of interrogation, deliberation, voting, and sentencing. The methods of selection of American jurors and German lay judges differ sharply. In the United States, statute and case law require the use of procedures which emphasize random selection. German law also specifies that lay judges are to be representative of the population; yet limited empirical research suggests that selection is a more personal procedure than in the United States. The willingness of laypersons to serve hinges on the degree to which the prospective jurors or lay judges are inconvenienced during the selection phase. Americans are often called into court for long periods of idle time, but a candidate for lay judge need not appear in court unless he/she wishes to apply for excuse from service. At the point of assignment to hear a case, prospective jurors in the United States are often questioned extensively before being qualified to sit on a jury, a process that focuses on their individual experiences and characteristics, while in German lay judges are assigned in a random manner, with the possibility of disqualification if partiality is indicated. Also, in sharp contrast is the amount of time consumed in American voir dires (as long as 4 or 5 months in felony cases). American studies indicate that laypersons object strongly to the time consumed by selection practices, uncertainty concerning dates and lengths of service, and the process of sequestration. The German system is less disruptive to the lives of lay judges. Still, it is likely that the tenure of a German lay judge, who serves about 1 day per month for 4 years, will exceed that of an American juror, who is obligated for a term of court or the length of a trial. Fourteen notes and 48 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Comparative analysis; Germany; Jury selection; Lay judges; United States of America; Voir dire
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