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Thread: Professional Jurors

  1. #1
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    Professional Jurors

    As if we do not have enough controversy floating around, thought I would throw some more into the mix.
    Would you support moving to a professional juror system as opposed to the current jury of one's peers? Would that have made a difference in this case and if so would it have been at the expense of our current judicial values?
    Many people feel this trial was a case in point regarding moving to a professional juror system.

    Personally the thought of professional jurors makes me cringe.


  2. #2
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    No. It should stay. For the most part it does work as is.
    It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.

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  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBean View Post
    As if we do not have enough controversy floating around, thought I would throw some more into the mix.
    Would you support moving to a professional juror system as opposed to the current jury of one's peers? Would that have made a difference in this case and if so would it have been at the expense of our current judicial values?
    Many people feel this trial was a case in point regarding moving to a professional juror system.

    Personally the thought of professional jurors makes me cringe.
    I agree with your last sentence. A poster on another thread suggested using a jury split between professional jurors and non-pro citizen jurors.I kind of like that idea but maybe it would lead to more hung jury's?Pros voting one way and non-pros the other.

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  6. #4
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    I have given this some thought over the years, however, I always come to a No decision. Biggest reason is, once exposed to a number of cases one becomes callous. That means instant guilty verdict.

    I have more reasons, but will keep it brief.

    I did see someone suggest 1 seasoned juror to help out during deliberations. I suggest 2 seasoned employees, State chooses one, Defense the other, to be in with the jurors to explain the instructions further, show where the evidence is to be handled, posted outside the door for any questions to take to the Judge along with the requisite Deputies.

    Still working on this issue in my head though.

    P.S. Thanks for the thread, I was too chicken to start it. Looking forward to the ideas posted.
    Last edited by 21merc7; 07-09-2011 at 12:28 PM.

    Unless I have included a link, it is my opinion and only my opinion that I am expressing.

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  8. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBean View Post
    As if we do not have enough controversy floating around, thought I would throw some more into the mix.
    Would you support moving to a professional juror system as opposed to the current jury of one's peers? Would that have made a difference in this case and if so would it have been at the expense of our current judicial values?
    Many people feel this trial was a case in point regarding moving to a professional juror system.

    Personally the thought of professional jurors makes me cringe.
    The idea makes me cringe too. Do we really have so little faith in one another that we don't feel safe being judge by a jury of our peers? I know I would take it very seriously and have been truly appalled since the outcome of the trial at the vile being spewed at the jury. The anger should really be directed at the prosecution, not the jury.

  9. #6
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    I have thought about this before and I think it might to the opposite of what we would hope for. In my opinion eventually they would get careless in the decision making process. Just like when we start a job and we are e x t r a careful after learning your job you just do it. I think eventually they would look at it as a days work and think they already know the guilt or innocence of a person.

    As someone stated I think most juries take their job with seriousness. These people as stated by many just got a bit lazy. Maybe lazy is a bit of a strong word but I think they made decision on emotion. Poor ICA emotion and her mean ole dad.
    Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

    Psalm 37:3

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  11. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by gladiatorqueen View Post
    The idea makes me cringe too. Do we really have so little faith in one another that we don't feel safe being judge by a jury of our peers? I know I would take it very seriously and have been truly appalled since the outcome of the trial at the vile being spewed at the jury. The anger should really be directed at the prosecution, not the jury.
    Really ? The State put on an excellent CIRCUMSTANTIAL evidence case and was not required to prove how or why Caylee died ... the jury must make inferences from circumstantial evidence (see Scott Petersen) and eliminate reasonable doubt through those inferences. They were looking for the smoking gun and did not understand a circumstantial evidence case.


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    i'm not sure about professional jurors, but i think that this shows that some changes need to be made. people keep saying that the great thing about our justice system is that it would prefer for the guilty to go free rather than the innocent to be imprisoned. well, there ARE innocent people imprisoned, and when the guilty go free it endangers the innocent. so i do think we could use some changes.... although i'm not entirely sure what.

    one idea i had was that there should be at least one neutral third-party, well-instructed in the law as well as in explaining the law to laypersons, in the room during deliberations. if this person could serve to define reasonable doubt for the jury, remind the jury to base decisions on whether they feel the defendant is guilty or not guilty versus their feelings on the punishment (which they are not to consider), and ensure that they are properly deliberating and not bullying others into a certain verdict, i feel that something like that could have been helpful in this case.
    *******

    casey anthony on 7/16/08.



    pretty much everything i post is my opinion only

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  14. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hisimage View Post
    As someone stated I think most juries take their job with seriousness. These people as stated by many just got a bit lazy. Maybe lazy is a bit of a strong word but I think they made decision on emotion. Poor ICA emotion and her mean ole dad.
    Interesting. I think they did the absolute opposite and took their emotion out of the equation. My guess is that is really at the root of why the masses are so upset with the outcome. MOO

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  16. #10
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    Ugh, no thank you, no way. The country is bloated with goverment employees already. I can't imagine a world with 'trial by buracrat'.

    This is not the first irresponsible jury in our nation's history. One need only look at some of the cases up infill the 70's where juries dissmised the overwhelming evidence, as this irresponsible jury did, and aquitted white supremisits who murdered blacks.

    It's gone the other way too, when people have been found guilty on all counts despite the state not presenting even 1 piece of circumstansial eveidence, ( google Martin Tankleff ).

    Yes, this was a gross miscarriage of justice. Yes, it's not a perfect system. BUT no, it shouldn't be changed. It is still the finast, most close to perfect justice system in the entire history of mankind. Which is a long time !

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  18. #11
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    No to professional.

    Yes to severely restricting one's ability to dodge jury duty.

    First 12 names called are jurors (unless there are untenable circumstances -- eg relative of defendant or attorneys; one of attorneys represented your spouse in a divorce, etc.)

    You would have a mix of age, experience, education, vocation, intelligence, gender, race, etc.

    Much better than ending up with a group of 12 like this jury.

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  20. #12
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    Eh, I wouldn't want professional jurors, but I'd like to see potential jurors take a competency test-- especially for the comprehension of legal terms and concepts. I think this jury didn't understand what "reasonable" doubt was.


    eta: Also, I think there was a problem with the sequestration, it was just too long for these people to be together and away from home. I'm not sure what the solution to that is, but it needs to be looked at. Perhaps not having them all at the same place and taking every meal together. idk

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  22. #13
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    I think they should just put a stiff jail penalty for juror who makes any financial gain before and after the case .. They shouldnt accept any freebies, hotels , etc- for any interviews or should not even write a book at all about the case they are in...

    Being a juror is a citizen duty not a part time job IMO

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  24. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mysterious View Post
    Really ? The State put on an excellent CIRCUMSTANTIAL evidence case and was not required to prove how or why Caylee died ... the jury must make inferences from circumstantial evidence (see Scott Petersen) and eliminate reasonable doubt through those inferences. They were looking for the smoking gun and did not understand a circumstantial evidence case.
    So the question is would you prefer professional jurors?

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  26. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBean View Post
    So the question is would you prefer professional jurors?
    Professional, like a Grand Jury becomes, I would. In my neck of the woods they serve for one year... they get experienced, but don't necessarily arrive experienced. jmo

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  28. #16
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    A professional jury is not a jury of one's peers. The potential for corruption with professional jurists would be huge!

    One or two professional jurists on the panel? IMO, absolutely not. That would lead to the domination of the lay jurists by one or two individuals.

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  30. #17
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    I'm not convinced professional jurors is the way to go. However, I do think there need to be adjustments made to the present jury system.

    I'd like to see more discussion about the idea of random jury selection, making only a few allowances for people who would not be able to be impartial due to relationships with people involved in the case. I also think if we go this route, the payment for jurors needs to be increased because no one should face a financial hardship when doing their civic duty.

    I also like the idea of one or two legal minded people present during deliberations to answer questions, keep them on topic (like at WS! ... lol) and to be sure no one's voice overwhelms any other viewpoints.

    I really think jury instructions are much too complicated. I don't think it's necessary to dumb them down to text speak level but they could be made easier to understand. Perhaps the judge needs to meet with the jury every morning of deliberations to answer any questions and to monitor that deliberations are following instructions.

    Honestly, I don't know what needs to be done to fix this but I do believe something MUST change. I'm glad we're having the discussion and I hope it spreads much further than WS.

    JMO

    ETA ... also need to eliminate anyone profiting from their involvement with the case. In my mind, that is just as dangerous a motivation as it could be if jurors were bribed ahead of serving. JMO
    Last edited by Mandy113; 07-09-2011 at 12:47 PM. Reason: added

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  32. #18
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    I am undecided ... there are both "pros" and "cons" to this argument.

    But let me say this:

    It is pretty much "common knowledge" that the majoriy of the people DO NOT WANT JURY DUTY ...

    Besides it being a serious "financial burden" for some to serve on a jury because they may not get paid by the employers if they are serving on a jury, it also says to me that:

    The majority really do NOT understand the "basic principles of our judicial system" that this country was founded upon.

    Our system may not be one of the best ... but it is certainly not the worst. Think about it : would you rather have a "jury of your peers" instead of a "panel of judges" that some countries have ? would you rather have the "presumption of guilt" that some countries have instead of the "presumption of innocence" ?

    I will take the US system of justice any day over other countries ...

    But I do believe our system is "seriously flawed" in CHOOSING jurors ...

    Reforming the way jurors are chosen is needed NOW ... before any more murderers are allowed to go free ...

    MOO MOO MOO ...

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  34. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mysterious View Post
    Really ? The State put on an excellent CIRCUMSTANTIAL evidence case and was not required to prove how or why Caylee died ... the jury must make inferences from circumstantial evidence (see Scott Petersen) and eliminate reasonable doubt through those inferences. They were looking for the smoking gun and did not understand a circumstantial evidence case.
    Here we go again. I guess that is a very subjective point of view. I don't believe they provided enough evidence either. Are you suggesting that I don't understand a circumstantial evidence case? I beg to differ on that one.

    I actually think it would be dangerous to have professional jurors for this very reason. You want individuals with the least amount of bias as possible in each and every jury.

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  36. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBean View Post
    So the question is would you prefer professional jurors?
    I see nothing wrong with having professional jurors sit on a case. At least they would understand what circumstantial evidence represents and what constitutes reasonable doubt. I'm not sure how you would establish the qualifications for a professional juror, but it could work.

    Some kind of jury reform is needed, whether it be in the way of jury instructions or juror education in what reasonable doubt really means and when it's OK to convict based on circumstantial evidence. Some folks will argue that we'll have more guilty convictions as the pro jurors would be employees of the state, but I would counter that by saying that judges are supposed to be impartial and also employees of the state. I am also mulling the idea someone posted about reducing the number of ways one can escape jury service.

    In this case, I would wager that a professional jury would have gone through all of the evidence with a microscope, requesting readbacks and evidence displays where necessary. How could the Anthony jury have done that given 6+ weeks of testimony and only 10 hours of deliberation. My suspicion is that they made up their minds after the first 4 hours. Why did they come to court dressed up the 2nd day ?

    Professional jurors are certainly a concept that could be tried in Florida by picking a county, establishing qualifications for professional juror certification, conducting an exam for certification, and filling the available positions.

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  38. #21
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    the selection process should stay as it is as i would like ti have a chance to sit on a jury for an interesting case... having professional juries would take the randomness of being called up... however, would still leave room for 'jury influencing' as apparently happened in this case... i think one or two biased (against the death penalty) got through... since they were in all probablity 'professional debaters' on the subject, they were able to sway the fence sitters/followers... i was surprised during the jury selection process how and why they picked certain jurors... i think they went for strong 'against' and 'weak or follower' others knowing what the result would be... the prosecution should have paid their jury selection consultants a bit more to get a more even mix... jmho...

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  40. #22
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    I would not be in support of this. For one, what kind of training would be required? Any sort of training would move it more toward a decision made by a panel of judges rather than a jury of peers.

    As someone who served on a murder trial, I would be in support of something like a court appointed mediator that sits down with the jury before and perhaps during the trial to answer questions and help them better understand the process and their duties. Yes, the judge technically serves that role but I think people are hesitant to speak up because it's not a quick Q&A with the system of having to send a note, have it read in open court and answered without the opportunity for immediate follow up questions.

    This may not be the right place for this, but I have to say that I was surprised that this jury was allowed to take notes. We weren't because the judge said we'd miss new things while we were busy writing down what we just heard.

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  42. #23
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    We wouldn't even be having this discussion if it was a guilty verdict. I think it's a crying shame that this issue only becomes a concern when the masses don't get the outcome they think they deserve or are hankering for. It's not trial by popular demand, but trial based on sufficient evidence. There wasn't sufficient evidence, circumstantial or otherwise. I am not convinced that professional jurors would make a difference on that point--they are still human.

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  44. #24
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    Who would flock to and dominate this profession? Wannabe prosecutors? Wannabe judges?
    Wannabe enforcers? Unequivocally, NO, to professional juries.

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  46. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by gladiatorqueen View Post
    We wouldn't even be having this discussion if it was a guilty verdict. I think it's a crying shame that this issue only becomes a concern when the masses don't get the outcome they think they deserve or are hankering for. It's not trial by popular demand, but trial based on sufficient evidence. There wasn't sufficient evidence, circumstantial or otherwise. I am not convinced that professional jurors would make a difference on that point--they are still human.
    Of course we would have this discussion. This question has been on the table for a long time. Conversely, there are those that feel people are unfairly convicted because jury did not understand the evidence. I personally support this jury and the current system 100%; but many do not and that is understandable.This is a 2 way street.


    So the question continues- would this be a reasonable alternative to our current system?

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