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SaganRitual's avatar

If you were wrongly charged with a crime, would you feel ok with a jury of 18-year-olds (details)?

Asked by SaganRitual (2072points) June 13th, 2019

Never mind the rules about “jury of peers” and “cross-section of the community”. Just this: do you think you could get a fair ruling from a random selection of 18-year-olds from your area?

If not, how many 18-year-olds could you accept, and with what age jurors would you balance your jury?

Would your answer change if the details of the case were complex?

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15 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

I see no reason to think otherwise.

chyna's avatar

I don’t know any 18 year olds, so I don’t know how open minded they would be.

zenvelo's avatar

Having dealt with that age group recently, and observing them in action (my kids are in their early twenties now) i think they would be more than fair, and probably better at guilt or innocence than a panel of 50 somethings.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think I would be.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

~Only if I were found innocent.

Darth_Algar's avatar

“do you think you could get a fair ruling from a random selection of 18-year-olds from your area?”

As fair as I would from any other age group.

Zaku's avatar

The age by itself isn’t necessarily a problem.

JLeslie's avatar

Probably not, but my gut feeling about it might be way off.

As far as forgetting about jury of your peers, I just think having a variety of people is important. A friend of mine was the lone voice on a jury that believed the man on trial to be innocent. Once she pointed out why everyone changed their mind. That could happen with all 18 year olds also, but I just think a wide variety of people is likely to be more just.

SaganRitual's avatar

In case anyone is still following this question, I think I wasn’t clear, and I made it sound like my concern is about the fair-mindedness of the jurors. I should clarify: I’m talking about their critical thinking skills. I’m not one of these old guys who thinks the young are idiots, but I do know that we in the US put so little value on critical thinking that we don’t teach it to our students, but instead they must be bashed around by life for a while in order to learn.

Also, the part of the brain that makes complex decisions does not come fully online until around age 25. So, perhaps imagine that the case is somewhat complex.

That is, if anyone is still following, and feels like posting a follow-up answer.

Peace and luck

Darth_Algar's avatar

And whatever makes you think that older people have better critical thinking skills?

ragingloli's avatar

Younger people might even be better at it, since they are used to writing essays for school.
And court is a similarly controlled environment, as opposed to the savage wilds of everyday life.

zenvelo's avatar

@SaganRitual I took that into account with my answer. I agree with @Darth_Algar and @ragingloli , a group of 18 year olds would be great.

Zaku's avatar

@SaganRitual As someone who went to a very good private grade school that taught well (including critical thinking), and who has known at least a fair number of teenagers who went to public grade schools who were also sharp, I wouldn’t say that being age 25, or being bashed around by living in the USA, are necessary to being a good juror.

That’s what I meant by “age by itself isn’t necessarily a problem” in my original answer.

But I think all of your concerns are potential problems.

The late-end cognitive development tends to be about moral thinking IIRC, so, that could be an issue for some people. But it’s not like everyone under the age of 25 is morally deficient.

The mostly-abysmal US public education system is a concern. But I don’t agree that living in the USA from ages 18–25 is necessarily going to teach most people a whole lot to make up for that.

Far too many Americans do lack fundamental critical thinking skills, and many have horrifying judgement and tons of anger bottled up waiting to project judgement on others. But again, I’m not sure that’s going to be less the case at 25+ than it was at 18.

SaganRitual's avatar

@Zaku You’re right, now that I think of it, I would be afraid of pretty much any jury of random people from my county, no matter their age. Jeez, we sure are adrift as a society.

I flatter myself that my critical thinking skills are far superior to those I had at age 18. I have always assumed that it had something to do with the usual hardships of life, but now that you mention it, maybe I should give more credit to my ex.

Dutchess_III's avatar

True but we were also much more passionate and less jaded at 18. I do think they are capable of weighing the evidence.

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