Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The "Glitch" Jury.

Consider the possible outcomes if we allow for personalities to take precedence over evidence in trials. This could lead to many citizens having unfairly tried cases. Also with practically no restriction on appeals, this could lead to a large number of appeals cases flooding the courts system. The courts already have enough cases to deal with. Furthernore, the corruption in court cases is a highly publicized issue. There is a lot of support and information, thanks to the media, that surfaces about today's trials. This media presence allows citizens and lawyers alike to become invested in cases, as well as, find discrepencies within them. When controversy arises about a specific verdict or there is questions surrounding a verdict, an appeal usually follows. Eventually, the verdict prejudice in some cases will gradually become noticeable and many defendants will inturn appeal verdicts. This infrigement on the law will permeate through the entire court system, thus causing question to the credibility of the court system, but more specifically, the jury. If the issue of personalities affecting the overall verdicts in trials is not dealt with to some degree, then the corruption in the American court system could be broadened even further than it currently is. There is enough corruption as it already stands in this country concerning bias; however, the courts are supposed to rely on the free and equal treatment of the American public. As the situation continues, the United States draws further and further away from the duties and promises cited in our constitution.
The problem with personalities affecting the overall outcome has really only one conclusion. It is in the best interest of justice that, in cases where there is obvious question, that the cases be given a second trial. However, in verdicts resulting in acquittal this would be a clear breech of the 5th Amendment clause “double jeopardy”. Therefore the only way to ensure to the best of our countries ability that the convicted are truly being convicted for thoughts of unreasonable doubt or that the innocent are being pardoned because they are truly innocent, the procedures in which we judge must be altered. There must be a trial by trial study of each case prior to it being tried, as well as during the trial. This could ensure that all the facts are brought out of cases that are indeed significant to the case at hand. This type of solution would require a modification to the procedure of law in the court systems.

A possible solution could be creation of second confidential Jury, personally referred to as the Glitch Jury. There job isn’t to declare guilt or innocence, but they are specifically used to seek out the problems that the other jury is barred from or swayed toward. The idea of the second jury or Glitch jury comes from the procedure of jury nullification. Jury nullification is the jury’s decision to acquit a defendant despite explicitly violating the law because the jury felt that the law or evidence was not applicable to the case. The jury would take the law into their hands. Therefore, a judge would call for a second jury to hear the case because the first jury’s individual feelings toward certain happenings were obviously prevalent. In this type of nullification; however, the second jury would not be brought post verdict. They would act during the trial. The second jury would get the chance to hear all evidence, including that in which the first jury was prohibited from hearing (circumstantial evidence). If something questionable surfaces, the Glitch jury would be allowed to confer with the first jury about suspicions. However, this would not be face t face and it would be under strict supervision. I think that bringing the Glitch jury in as a second ear would add more validity to any case. They would serve as a more valid impartiality in the court. Although, they would too have their prejudices, the fact that they are not declaring guilt or innocence allows them to look at the case from truly all sides.

There are already some methods being used to halt certain interferences, specifically by jury bias in jury nullification. Such practices include the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruling
Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure 23 (b), stating that jurors who individually are practicing jury nullification can be removed by the judge. Also, in some cases Judges have called for second juries to try cases when there is obvious jury bias affecting verdicts or neglecting laws. If a solution is not found, then there is a higher possibility on the infringement of the right of citizens and the unjust freedom for those who deserve them least. Court systems that stand on justice should act upon justice also. Furthermore, the United States will not be abiding by its constitutional standards.


Vahini said...

You pose a very interesting idea of a "glitch" jury. I agree that if a jury did not have to make a verdict they would think in a much different way than an actual jury. They will probably have an opportunity to view the case more rationally considering all viewpoints and will not feel as pressured by officials and media. It will also be very advantageous for the second jury to hear even confidential parts of the case that is usually not heard by the actual jury. However, there is a possibility that the second jury not take the case seriously because they do not determine the verdict. I would also advise that the "glitch" jury be confidential in order for their role in the case to be more effective.

Jan said...

Your argument is very sound but I personally thought that the introduction was little confusing but that may be because I haven't read all of your posts consecutively. The ideas that you present are excellent yet I feel like you squashed the idea of the glitch jury immediately after you presented it. Perhaps you could let the reader consider whether or not such a system would work, rather than saying in your own argument that it probably wouldn't.

hanghang said...

Like Jan I haven't read all your posts together so it takes reading awhile into your post before the audience can figure out what point you're trying to argue. I think you should dive into the issue sooner and use a lot of what is your current intro to explain the topic afterwards.

And on the actual issue: I definitely see how the "glitch" jury can make be extremely useful in curbing jury bias. However, in such cases like West Memphis 3, where the whole town had an overwhelming consensus of the boys' guilt, a second jury wouldn't make a difference at all. I think there would also have to be additional assurances in the glitch jury to ensure they don't share the same biases as the original.

Yeo!!! said...

Hi.. I understand what you are trying to say because I read your previous posts. However, you might want to rewrite your first an second sentence - "Consider the possible outcomes if we allow for personalities to take precedence over evidence in trials. This could lead to many citizens having unfairly tried cases" - because I believe that as long as people are judging other people, this statement cannot be accurate since all of us have personalities. I think you should think of another word to replace personality like 'ideologies' or 'values' etc. However, this leads to another problem: as much as 'personalities' are bad in the attempt to be objective, human reasoning based on values are also critical for judgment. We don't place a computer to judge us simply because it lacks the human reasoning and moral reasoning. In the same way, although we need objectivity, we need morality, values and wisdom, which are very much embedded in 'personalities' of judges and juries. A contradiction there i guess.