Allow juries to do their own research

I believe that juries should be allowed to do their own research into any case that they are hearing and deciding on. If you are on a jury and have to decide on something then surely you should be allowed to investigate the facts yourself. One of the key reasons this wasn't possible before is that the courts weren't allowed to talk about previous convictions. Now, most previous convictions are unveiled to them anyway. So why shouldn't juries be allowed to do their own research into the evidence and facts in the case?

Why is this idea important?

I believe that juries should be allowed to do their own research into any case that they are hearing and deciding on. If you are on a jury and have to decide on something then surely you should be allowed to investigate the facts yourself. One of the key reasons this wasn't possible before is that the courts weren't allowed to talk about previous convictions. Now, most previous convictions are unveiled to them anyway. So why shouldn't juries be allowed to do their own research into the evidence and facts in the case?

jury service

Some time ago the law was changed which had previously granted an exemption to Catholic priest from being summoned for jury service.  I think the previous  situation should be restored because we (and perhaps other clergy too) should never be required in law to be in a situation of passing judgment on others.  It also compromises the perception that people should have of us as ministers of the CHurch.

Why is this idea important?

Some time ago the law was changed which had previously granted an exemption to Catholic priest from being summoned for jury service.  I think the previous  situation should be restored because we (and perhaps other clergy too) should never be required in law to be in a situation of passing judgment on others.  It also compromises the perception that people should have of us as ministers of the CHurch.

house of lords: allocate peerages like jury service

The current system: http://lordsappointments.independent.gov.uk/

My repeal would not be to the system but to its workload, by trialling another system.

Allocate one jurer in a million a life peerage, or some variation on this theme:

  • the oldest child of one jurer in a million
     
  • the elected top 50% of a group of randomly chosen jurers, if 50% stand for life peerage in a mainly online and TV hustings system.
     
  • the system that arrises after a few trials of different ideas as above and popular comment. It could be that some of these new lords, like pools winners, wish they never had the chance to make fools of themselves and have suggestions for changing the system more.
     
  • hereditary peers who have been refused their former membership, and have below average income or have an unusual career, possibly with a change to old laws to make peerages unisex. This last idea is coming from a different direction but you get the gist of the first few.

Why is this idea important?

The current system: http://lordsappointments.independent.gov.uk/

My repeal would not be to the system but to its workload, by trialling another system.

Allocate one jurer in a million a life peerage, or some variation on this theme:

  • the oldest child of one jurer in a million
     
  • the elected top 50% of a group of randomly chosen jurers, if 50% stand for life peerage in a mainly online and TV hustings system.
     
  • the system that arrises after a few trials of different ideas as above and popular comment. It could be that some of these new lords, like pools winners, wish they never had the chance to make fools of themselves and have suggestions for changing the system more.
     
  • hereditary peers who have been refused their former membership, and have below average income or have an unusual career, possibly with a change to old laws to make peerages unisex. This last idea is coming from a different direction but you get the gist of the first few.

Reform of the Juries Act 1974

To give the background:

I am the the Technical Manager for Medical Devices at a major UK firm supplying surgical gloves to the NHS.  I am a member of the Royal Society of Medicine and The Royal Society of Chemistry.  I am an acknowledged United Kingdom expert on medical device legislation and have lectured on the subject at the request of the Malaysian government.  I have assissted the HSE in writing critical safety documentation and regularly give advice to both the Health Service and Industrial safety equipment users that, if incorrect, could endanger their lives.

I also suffer from bipolar depression and therefore I am not considered to be mentally capable of serving on a jury.

My condition is fully controlled by the medication I take and I am entrusted with life or death situations in other spheres.  However, the blanket banning of all people being treated for a mental condition as part of the juries act 1974 means that I cannot do my civic duty in this regard.  i strongly object to this degree of disenfranchisement and feel the act should be reformed.

This argument applies equally not to a minority of the mentally unwell but to a majority.

Thank you.

Why is this idea important?

To give the background:

I am the the Technical Manager for Medical Devices at a major UK firm supplying surgical gloves to the NHS.  I am a member of the Royal Society of Medicine and The Royal Society of Chemistry.  I am an acknowledged United Kingdom expert on medical device legislation and have lectured on the subject at the request of the Malaysian government.  I have assissted the HSE in writing critical safety documentation and regularly give advice to both the Health Service and Industrial safety equipment users that, if incorrect, could endanger their lives.

I also suffer from bipolar depression and therefore I am not considered to be mentally capable of serving on a jury.

My condition is fully controlled by the medication I take and I am entrusted with life or death situations in other spheres.  However, the blanket banning of all people being treated for a mental condition as part of the juries act 1974 means that I cannot do my civic duty in this regard.  i strongly object to this degree of disenfranchisement and feel the act should be reformed.

This argument applies equally not to a minority of the mentally unwell but to a majority.

Thank you.

MAKE JURIES EXPLAIN THEIR DECISIONS

Juries make life altering decisions, sometimes to the extreme detriment of defendants, especially innocent defendants. In every guilty verdict that is passed by the jury,we need to know how and why they reached that verdict.

Why is this idea important?

Juries make life altering decisions, sometimes to the extreme detriment of defendants, especially innocent defendants. In every guilty verdict that is passed by the jury,we need to know how and why they reached that verdict.

Re-exempt Police and court officers or secretaries from jury service

As of 2004 a blanket law was passed allowing almost no exemptions from jury service. This included police officers, parole officers, and secretarial staff in various courts.

Such people, however, can have significant influence upon a jury unrelated to the facts of the case at hand. I have witnessed this first-hand in a jury where a parole officer was present. The Officer insisted that they knew what guilty people were like because they worked with such people and the defendant of the case was guilty.

The facts of the case had no bearing on the officers opinion, nor did it matter whether or not the crown prosecution service actually proved the case at hand.

Had any other jurist said these lines they would have been ignored.

There are good reasons to keep most everyone in the jury roles, but those whose profession puts them in regular contact with the criminal legal system should ALL be automatically excluded from jury service.

Why is this idea important?

As of 2004 a blanket law was passed allowing almost no exemptions from jury service. This included police officers, parole officers, and secretarial staff in various courts.

Such people, however, can have significant influence upon a jury unrelated to the facts of the case at hand. I have witnessed this first-hand in a jury where a parole officer was present. The Officer insisted that they knew what guilty people were like because they worked with such people and the defendant of the case was guilty.

The facts of the case had no bearing on the officers opinion, nor did it matter whether or not the crown prosecution service actually proved the case at hand.

Had any other jurist said these lines they would have been ignored.

There are good reasons to keep most everyone in the jury roles, but those whose profession puts them in regular contact with the criminal legal system should ALL be automatically excluded from jury service.

Make Judges responsible for their mistakes in courtrooms.

Give victims the right of appeal when something goes wrong.  I sat through my brothers murder and heard lie after lie, I heard the thing that brutally stabbed my brother to death tell the court he was not provoked by anything my brother said or did, So why did a High Court Judge give the jury an option of Provocation?  Why was it allowed.  He stood in court and admitted killing my brother in an unprovoked attack, how can this be allowed, and then a jury return a verdict of manslaughter with provocation?

Why is this idea important?

Give victims the right of appeal when something goes wrong.  I sat through my brothers murder and heard lie after lie, I heard the thing that brutally stabbed my brother to death tell the court he was not provoked by anything my brother said or did, So why did a High Court Judge give the jury an option of Provocation?  Why was it allowed.  He stood in court and admitted killing my brother in an unprovoked attack, how can this be allowed, and then a jury return a verdict of manslaughter with provocation?

No House Arrest Without Jury

The Government should not be allowed to put people under house arrest, without them being tried and found guilty in front of a jury of their peers. The same system as is required for imprisonment in jail should be done for imprisonment within your house, the punishment is no less severe.

Why is this idea important?

The Government should not be allowed to put people under house arrest, without them being tried and found guilty in front of a jury of their peers. The same system as is required for imprisonment in jail should be done for imprisonment within your house, the punishment is no less severe.

Right to trial by jury.

Many look up to the justice system in the USA with its chain gangs, hard labour and death sentence but they also have an absolute right to trial by jury which they can evoke for any arrestable offence including public intoxication. This system works perfectly well, mainly because most don't demand a jury trial for minor offenses such as public intoxication.

The point of jury trial is to keep the power to sentence away from the state and with the people, which is a fundimental protection from a police state.

Many people do not know but juries have the right to disregard the law, it's called jury nullification in the USA, if they see fit. Lawyers however are sworn to uphold the law so are not allowed to inform the jury of this even if they believe their client warrants it; this would be where the client is technically guilty of a crime but the public may sympathise sufficiently to actually let him off.

In this country we have no right to trial by jury and so we have such things as fixed penalty notices.

Juries may not be perfect, they may not understand the law, but that is the whole point, they keep the human eliment in the legal system. If a lawer cannot explain in simple terms why a persons' liberty should be removed then it has to be questioned.

 

Why is this idea important?

Many look up to the justice system in the USA with its chain gangs, hard labour and death sentence but they also have an absolute right to trial by jury which they can evoke for any arrestable offence including public intoxication. This system works perfectly well, mainly because most don't demand a jury trial for minor offenses such as public intoxication.

The point of jury trial is to keep the power to sentence away from the state and with the people, which is a fundimental protection from a police state.

Many people do not know but juries have the right to disregard the law, it's called jury nullification in the USA, if they see fit. Lawyers however are sworn to uphold the law so are not allowed to inform the jury of this even if they believe their client warrants it; this would be where the client is technically guilty of a crime but the public may sympathise sufficiently to actually let him off.

In this country we have no right to trial by jury and so we have such things as fixed penalty notices.

Juries may not be perfect, they may not understand the law, but that is the whole point, they keep the human eliment in the legal system. If a lawer cannot explain in simple terms why a persons' liberty should be removed then it has to be questioned.

 

Abolish Magistrates’ Courts

The US started the war of Independence for the sake of Jury trial, as it is so obvious that no lesser trial system is capable of delivering real justice to the people.

The UK Magistrates' court system encourages police misbehaviour – as well as misappropriation of arbitrary powers that no parliament has given them – is a complete lottery for everyone involved, emphasising speed, arbitrariness, incomplete/sloppy investigation, over justice, careful consideration, due process, etcetera.

There is now a recognition that there should be a presumption against prison sentences of less than 3 months; a Magistrates' Court's basic sentencing power is limited to 6 months, more serious cases being referred up to the Crown Court; less serious cases, those where a non-custodial sentence would be a matter of course, should virtually all be ripe for a pruning of petty offences, so that we recognize that as a general rule, no criminal law is worthwhile unless 12 citizens are prepared to devote their time to listening to the evidence.

There would necessarily be a rôle for a Traffic Court, to handle driving offences, as well as, perhaps, a very minor behaviour court – the original notion of the 'police court' that morphed into a Magistrates' court; naturally the 2 minimal courts could be effectively one court.

A simple guide could be that all imprisonable offences be tried in the Crown Court.

Why is this idea important?

The US started the war of Independence for the sake of Jury trial, as it is so obvious that no lesser trial system is capable of delivering real justice to the people.

The UK Magistrates' court system encourages police misbehaviour – as well as misappropriation of arbitrary powers that no parliament has given them – is a complete lottery for everyone involved, emphasising speed, arbitrariness, incomplete/sloppy investigation, over justice, careful consideration, due process, etcetera.

There is now a recognition that there should be a presumption against prison sentences of less than 3 months; a Magistrates' Court's basic sentencing power is limited to 6 months, more serious cases being referred up to the Crown Court; less serious cases, those where a non-custodial sentence would be a matter of course, should virtually all be ripe for a pruning of petty offences, so that we recognize that as a general rule, no criminal law is worthwhile unless 12 citizens are prepared to devote their time to listening to the evidence.

There would necessarily be a rôle for a Traffic Court, to handle driving offences, as well as, perhaps, a very minor behaviour court – the original notion of the 'police court' that morphed into a Magistrates' court; naturally the 2 minimal courts could be effectively one court.

A simple guide could be that all imprisonable offences be tried in the Crown Court.