One more argument in support of the jury is certainty, which the jury adds to the law, since it bestows a common verdict of ‘Guilty’ or ‘Not Guilty’. These two verdicts are unambiguous and cannot give rise to a misunderstanding. Juries offer protection against harsh and unjust laws and also harsh and unjust prosecutions. Sometimes, a jury will come to a verdict that is just rather than legally correct. Juries are a measurement of public expressions on the state of the law.
The Jury protects the citizen against the use of arduous laws, because it has a right to pardon a defendant according to its conscience, even if the law requires a conviction. An additional argument in support of the jury is that Juries can judge according to what their conscience rather than the evidence. This means that the jury goes with what they think is morally acceptable depending on the circumstances rather than the evidence given in court.They can take into account and sometimes even relate to the defendant’s feelings and situation. Another big argument for Juries is that they can get harsh laws changed if they acquit defendants who are up against them.
This freedom of the Jury can in turn lead to amendment. Moreover, Juries are capable of making common sense conclusions. Deciding the facts of a case is frequently a matter of common sense and therefore does not oblige legal training. Ordinary members of the public are able to state whether they think someone was mendacious.A Jury is made up of twelve members and therefore, if twelve people think that the defendant is guilty then it would be unusual for people to disagree and oppose to the decision made by the twelve members. This is an argument in support of the Jury. In addition, there is a chance that Judges may become case-hardened in a sense that they progress to become misanthropic about defence arguments and may not give credence to the defendant that what is put forward is actually the truth.
Juries however, are not as jaded as Judges are as for most of them, this is the first time they have ever been in the situation to sentence somebody.Lastly, it is argued the Jury is less prosecution minded than several Judges and Magistrates. This means that the Jury is less slanted to believing that the prosecutions evidence as necessarily being right. Even though there are many arguments in favour of the Jury, there are also many arguments and criticisms against the Jury. People believe that Juries lack legal skills and experience. People presume that the as the Jury are ignorant to many aspects of the law then they will get confused and unable to weigh evidence correctly in complex cases. Another criticism against the Jury is that it might be dominated with strong-minded individuals.This means that if there is a strong-minded individual as a member of the Jury then this individual has the ability and power to persuade the other members to agree with what this individual thinks and believes.
Many people deem that the Jury is too easily impressed with appearances and performances. The characters and presentations of barristers who have a certain amount of charisma may convince jurors and this may have an effect on the Jury out of ratio to the strength of the case. One of the main arguments and criticisms against the Jury is that Jury service is compulsory.This can cause exertion and hostility. Hostile Jurors might produce inadequate decisions, many Jurors are keen to get away as soon as possible and this might result in them going along with what the preponderance say rather than what they think is right. Also, the Jury process is expensive and time-consuming for all involved. Some severe, serious cases might cause the Jurors distress if the cases involve commodities such as child abuse, rape, murder, etc.
This could also cause Jurors to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, which is long-term.Another vast criticism of the Jury is that it isn’t representative of the community as a whole as there are a lack of different ethnic groups, genders and classes on the bench. This is very correlated to there being a variety of races sitting as the Jury as statistics show that there is a low percentage of ethnic minorities on the bench. This is unfair as a great deal of our population is made up of ethnic minorities. As this is the case, they should get to have their say and express what they believe is morally right and acceptable just like everybody else.In addition, random selection of Juries may make a Jury less likely to be representative.
For example a woman might have childcare difficulties and therefore be excused however summoning twice as many women as men might help consummate a representative section of the community. As Juries do not give reasons behind why they convicted somebody as being guilty or not guilty, this makes it difficult to appeal against a Jury. When Judges sit alone their judgement is very detailed which makes it easier to appeal against them. One more debate against the Jury is Jury nobbling -intimidation of Juries.For example, in 1984 Jurors had to have police protection to and from court and all of their telephone calls intercepted. Members of the public shouldn’t have to suffer from this as it could cause adversity to the Jurors.
Also, the media is a large influence on the Jurors. Even though Jurors shouldn’t confer the case it is hopeless to elude and ignore the media coverage of the case which consists of the opinions of reporters and newsreaders. These opinions might persuade members of the Jury when they should be giving their own opinions and not the opinions of others.A criticism to the Jury is that they often contradict the evidence by going against it, particularly in acquittals.
The Home Office Research and Planning Unit has implied that Juries are twice as likely as Magistrates to acquit. However, this is a difficult region to research because the Contempt of Court Act 1981 forbids questioning Jurors about the justification on which they reached their decisions. In addition, it could be argued that the contrast in conviction rates between Magistrates and Juries could be due to Magistrates convicting the innocent rather than Juries pardoning the guilty.