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ragingloli's avatar

Do you think the "Jury" is the greatest weakness of the american justice system?

Asked by ragingloli (41991points) May 30th, 2009

Think about it. Jurors are people who have next to no legal expertise, and are easy to manipulate by a skilled lawyer.
There even is an entire industry with the sole purpose of spying on the jurors to make it easy for the lawyer to find out who is more likely to decide against his client and thus should be dismissed. This puts poorer people at a severe disadvantage and in essence means that you can essentially buy your victory in court, and it makes it entirely possible for criminal to be set free even after admission of guilt, by simply manipulating the jury emotionally so that they can’t reach an unanimous decision.

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10 Answers

SirBailey's avatar

The jury system is not perfect, but it’s the best we’ve got at this time.

I’ll tell you what I think is a bigger problem (and I just posted to another question similarly) and I’m not sure everyone is aware of this. Do you know it is possible for someone to find a lawyer that takes no money until the client gets money (either through a settlement or the legal win) and LIE to this lawyer about someone or some company. The defendant (who can be totally innocent) winds up paying the lying plaintiff good money, to avoid the even LARGER legal fees in going to trial. THIS is a travesty. Something should be done about THIS.

FLUTH3R's avatar

I think the Jury is the greatest strength of the American justice system.

The weakness of the American justice system is that no one can AFFORD a jury. I.E. if I was caught with pot, I would probabally be forced to plea “No Contest” because I could not afford to pay a lawyer for a full-fledged jury trial.

That is why most trials don’t even go to Jury. Most are either “plead down” andor are decided by a judge.

There is also the stipulation where you could
“Take a plea bargin for manslaughter and you will only do 5 years or risk going to Jury trial and being tried for 1st degree murder.”
Even if I did not do it, but there is strong evidence against me, I may be forced to take the plea as sad as it seems.

EDIT: @SirBailey: Kind of what I was getting at. Good answer

ragingloli's avatar

@SirBailey
I think this could be avoided by the state paying for the expenses that only have to be repaid in case of a loss.

ragingloli's avatar

@FLUTH3R the problem with an easy to manipulate jury is that you could be convicted for murder even if there isn’t much evidence against you.

SirBailey's avatar

@FLUTH3R, thanks for the complement. I think there should be LEGAL insurance, the way there is MEDICAL insurance, or FLOOD insurance, etc. to avoid high bills should the need arise.

ragingloli's avatar

I would feel much better if my fate is decided by a well trained impartial Judge/board of Judges, who can not be manipulated by the attorneys, who knows the law like the back of his hand, than a bunch of people, filtered for their views by the opposing attorney, without any legal knowledge and easy to manipulate.

FLUTH3R's avatar

@SirBailey. There is. Look at “PrePaidLegal” A friend of mine used to sell their insurance products. It is the same concept as medical insurance but I have heard mixed reviews about them. I am honestly thinking about signing up though, because I do know that one day I may get popped for SOMETHING. It is very comforting to know I have a lawyer on my side. Also not to mention being able to threaten lawsuits AND back it up :).

SirBailey's avatar

I often say, “If I ever won the lottery or became rich and famous, I wouldn’t tell a soul”. People would sue you KNOWING you’d settle out of court. Sad.

FLUTH3R's avatar

@SirBailey. Yup, or you’de be paying MORE to the attorney trying to fight it. So sad.

Does make me want to go sue some corperations though :) (Ohh theres a finger in my chili)

alive's avatar

even though jurists do not have legal experience everything is laid out for them. they just have to make a “yes or no” decision, and if they can’t then you get a hung jury and try again.

most cases that go to trial are not ones where a person “might” have done it. A LOT of work goes into charging the right person for the crimes that person committed.

police investigate, then it moves to the district attorney’s office, then it has to face a judge or grand jury to see that it is reasonable to charge the person, then it goes back to the district attorney’s office and they decide how much can be legally proven, then they offer pleas. the jury is the last resort, and they are the last people to look at the case.

jury trials often come down to very small technicalities. and it is not always the charge itself that is being disputed, but rather if all the laws were followed (like search and seizure laws… esp. with murder trials or other extreme crimes. in a murder trial the defense is most likely trying to prove ‘that one police officer messed up one tiny thing in evidence, and on that technical mess up the whole trial should be dismissed’)

the point is that any case has gone through a number of different filters to be as sure as possible that the right person is charged with the right crime. obviously there are some problems with the judicial system, but i think the jury is the least of our problems.

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