a) Outline the basic rules regarding qualification for jury service
A juror is an individual serving on a jury. One has to meet certain qualifications for one to be considered to join the jury. The first requirement is one must to be a United States’ national, and has lived in the country for a period of one year before the summons to the service commission. The person is supposed to be 18years of age and above as well as fluent in English language. He should not have faced charges in a court of law and is both physically and mentally fit to carry out the duties to be bestowed upon the individual. There are certain groups of people exempted from serving on the jury. Any member, of the armed forces who has a contractual obligation does not stand a chance as a jury.
Lastly, members from the police department and fire brigade are exempted from the services of the jury. In circumstances whereby an individual has served in the jury or a federal court of law one is automatically disqualified as a jury. Oregon law states that every interested person who meets the requirements will not be deprived of the chance to serve on the jury. An individual will not be discriminated on the basis of religious ideologies, gender, age, profession, race and the country of origin. It is illegal for any individual to solicit for a place in the jury or offer bribe in exchange for a position in the commission.
b) The process by which a jury is selected in an individual case
The first step is the court clerk chooses randomly from a larger pool consisting of other juries. The selection takes place when they are seated in a court of law. The clerk puts slips with the names of individuals in a box. The box is shaken forcefully to enhance complete overhaul of the contents in the box. The clerk calls out the names from and when the clerk has enough names they are sworn in. This marks the beginning of a crucial state termed ‘voir dire’. It means being honest and speaking the truth in French. The process involves choosing jurors after they are questioned. It begins with an explanation from the judge in the case that is on trial and the list of the attorney, together with both parties implicated in the hearing. The jurors take an oath to respond honestly to queries. The judge starts the session by asking common queries.
The judge mostly asks if anyone is familiar with the parties involved in the case or if the potential jury knows about the case. The attorneys of both parties are given an opportunity to question the selected juror one after another. The questions to be asked help the lawyers to have information on the background, values and ideologies of the chosen jurors. The questions might be personal, but they are appropriate and vital. The parties involved together with their attorneys have the right to know the people dealing with their case.
What are the problems of ensuring a representative jury and how important is this for justice to be done/be seen to be done?
A representative jury has been known to experience challenges when it comes to efficient delivery of service. In circumstances where a juror is physically or mentally challenged and performing of one’s duty is a problem, then it needs thorough consideration. In a situation where the jury has ties with any of the parties involved in the case in court, this happens to be a challenge in relation to the outcome of the case. Some juries act against their professional code of ethics when dealing with a case. This has always influenced the judgment of the case promoting justice to be applied. Emotions at times may be put into action especially in a situation whereby the juror has blood relations with the guilty party. It becomes challenging when the jury in question has served in past trials involving similar parties.
In order to promote justice, transparency should be the guiding factor in the whole process of selection. Biasness would lead to an unfair trial and discrimination of a party involved in a case. The judgment of a case should consider the evidence of the two parties involved. This enhances credibility in the case. This is the reason why it is necessary and important to put the right people in the efficient delivery of justice.
From a crime control point of view, jury trial is an expensive charade and a chronically inefficient method by which to suppress crime. This is because the process is expensive and many resources are used. Expenses such as hiring interpreters to act in a case are in the budget. Many trials have been known to be biased, disregarding transparency as they are easily influenced on the outcome of the case by mostly the government of the day. Corruption at the judiciary delays justice in the courts. The outcome of cases is determined by ones willingness to dig deeper in the pocket. Suspects have to contend with delays in mentioning of their cases resulting in them staying in prison for a long time.
Why were the Diplock courts introduced in Northern Ireland in 1973? What criticisms have been made of these?
Diplock courts were introduced by in the year 1973. The trials which did not involve juries were mostly applied to persons accused of terror campaign in the Northern Ireland. The main reason for proposing the courts was because the government felt the juries might be intimidated, and they were susceptible to giving out judgments favoring a specific community. The system was widely criticized by the groups related to human rights. This is because it was believed that the system used forced confessions in courts. It is mostly dependent on the evidence given out by the police disregarding the accused person evidence. The sole judge has the responsibility of determining the outcome of a serious offence
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What circumstances may trial without jury be permitted under the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 2003?
In some instances when there is suspicion that there is tampering of evidence in a trial, juries might not be of any help at that time. At times, the evidence may pose a real danger, regardless of the protection of the police; a case without a jury is encouraged so as to enhance justice. Certain provisions in the constitution, allows for trying of convicts charged with domestic aggressions
“The assumption is that the presence of twelve lay persons, arbitrarily introduced into the trial process to be trendsetters of the facts of the case, strengthens the legitimacy of the legal system” (Slapper & Kelly, 2010). Examine the case for and against the trial by jury in the context of this statement.
It has always been viewed that having 12 persons chosen randomly in a trial case strengthens the credibility of the trial in the court of law. The juries have the responsibility of listening to the verbal evidence presented in court and look into related evidence given by the defense team and the prosecution party. Their responsibility is also to asses the integrity of a witness and taking into account the weight of the piece of evidence presented in relation to the case.
At the end, they are supposed to give out their own judgment based on whether a person is innocent or guilty. This has helped a great deal in introducing an independent humanizing component in the case. The result is the reduction of the special authority given to the experts who would want to determine and control the result of the court cases. Although it is a good step, juries have been known to be influenced thus affecting the outcome of the case. Some take bribes or act in favor of a party. Lastly, individual opinion of a jury is ignored as what matters is the belief of the majority of the people in the jury.
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