Presentation on theme: "LAW 120 MHS MR. BINET Juries and Jury Selection. Although the jury system is not perfect, it usually satisfies the public more than trial by judge. A."— Presentation transcript:
Although the jury system is not perfect, it usually satisfies the public more than trial by judge. A jury lets the public see conflicts resolved by peers, rather than by a judge alone. A jury also reflects the conscience of the community. Juries are expensive, however, and they are used only for more serious indictable offences. For certain less severe indictable offences, the accused can choose between trial by judge or trial by judge and jury. A judge alone will try the accused for summary offences.
Advantages of Trial by Jury Trial by jury involves the public in the administration of justice, which also helps educate the public. The use of juries means that judges do not have to make all court decisions. Juries are composed of people from many different backgrounds, who bring a fresh perspective to the courtroom and who can reject oppressive laws. As well, a jury may base its decision on current social values, rather than strict legal precedent.
Advantages of Trial by Jury Trial by jury also has advantages for the accused. The defence needs to convince only one juror to favour the accused or have reasonable doubt; a jury’s decision must be unanimous. Dramatic rhetoric may be more likely to move a juror than a judge, who hears lawyer’s arguments routinely. Moreover, a jury may feel empathy for the accused, especially if the charge is one with which they identify.
Offences Requiring Trial by Jury MurderPiracy or piratical acts TreasonInciting to mutiny Alarming her MajestyAttempting or conspiring to commit any of the above offences Bribery Seditious (or subversive) offences
Advantages of Trial by Judge Trial by judge also has advantages. Judges may be less prejudiced than some jurors, who may look down on an accused who is poorly dressed, for example. Some jurors may also allow disgust for an offence – such as child abuse or impaired driving – to cloud their judgement. Legal technicalities may also confuse jurors. A jury may be convinced by the eloquence of a good Crown prosecutor or defence counsel as by actual evidence. A judge is trained to make a decision based on the facts and the law. Finally, a judge presents reasons for the decision – a jury does not. These reasons may help either side to determine grounds for an appeal.
Jury Empanelling the process of selecting the 12 jurors – can take many days. First, a list of jurors is created from a list of all people living in the area where the court is located. The list is usually computer generated according to scientific criteria. A selection committee headed by the sheriff then randomly picks 75 to 100 names from the list. The people selected are summoned to appear at the court by notice from the sheriff. The more controversial the case, the more people are called. A prospective juror who des not appear can be issued a warrant and can even be criminally charged.
Jury Empanelling At the start of a trial, prospective jurors assemble in the courtroom. Cards bearing each name are placed in a barrel, and each person steps forward after his or her name is drawn. The judge may exempt anyone with a personal interest in the case, a relationship with a trial participant, or a personal hardship. The judge can also direct a juror to stand aside for any reasonable cause. If a full jury cannot be selected from the remaining prospective jurors, those asked to stand aside with be called again. The defence and the Crown prosecutor can then accept or reject them as jurors.
Jury Empanelling The judge decides what questions prospective jurors can be asked. In selecting a jury, the Crown and the defence must consider the value systems of prospective jurors. For example, how might an older male, a feminist, an older female, or a young bachelor view the accused in a case involving obscenity? Ethnicity, religion, age, financial status, occupation, sexual orientation, intelligence, and gender are only a few characteristics that are considered.
Jury Selection Each province or territory determines who can serve on a jury. Generally, prospective jurors must be Canadian citizens between the ages of 18 and 69, and speak either English or French. The following are usually exempt from jury duty: MP’s, senators, members of provincial legislatures and municipal governments judges, justices of the peace, lawyers and law students doctors, coroners, veterinarians law enforcement officers, special constables, sheriffs, prison wardens and guards and their spouses people who are visually impaired people with a mental or physical disability that seriously impairs their ability to complete jury duty anyone who has served on a jury within the preceding two or three years anyone convicted of an indictable offence that has not pardoned
Challenges The Crown prosecutor and the defence counsel each want a jury responsive to their position. So, they can challenge, eliminate, or accept various prospective jurors. The defence has the first right to challenge a prospective juror. After that, the prosecutor and the defence alternate the first right of challenge. Three types of challenges can be used to eliminate prospective jurors
Challenge of Jury List Either side can challenge the jury list. Usually, this will only succeed if it can be shown that the sheriff or selection committee was fraudulent or partial, or showed wilful misconduct in selecting prospective jurors. For example, the selection committee may have excluded any citizens from a particular ethnic group. However, there is no requirement that there must be a person on the jury that has the same ethnic origin as the accused.
Challenge for Cause A challenge for cause is made on the basis that prospective jurors do not meet the provincial or territorial requirements governing juries. For instance, perhaps they are not on the jury list or are in an exempted category. They may have formed an opinion, or they may not speak or understand French or English. Any number of challenges for cause can be made, as long as the judge rules the causes are valid. If the defence does challenge for cause, the Crown can try to prove the cause is untrue. The judge will appoint the last two of the jurors who have already been selected, or two other persons, to decide if the challenge should be accepted
Peremptory Challenge A challenge for cause is made on the basis that prospective jurors do not meet the provincial or territorial requirements governing juries. For instance, perhaps they are not on the jury list or are in an exempted category. They may have formed an opinion, or they may not speak or understand French or English. Any number of challenges for cause can be made, as long as the judge rules the causes are valid. If the defence does challenge for cause, the Crown can try to prove the cause is untrue. The judge will appoint the last two of the jurors who have already been selected, or two other persons, to decide if the challenge should be accepted