Probably the scariest article
I've read this year.
It amply demonstrates the fundamental weaknesses of the jury system:
1 The finding of facts, marshalling the findings, and coming to conclusions from those facts is a highly specialised and difficult job.
Even a lot of the best lawyers in the country would not be up to the task.
The US system, as with all common law jurisdictions, delegates this job to rank amateurs. And in the most serious and most complicated cases, too.
In England, fortunately, jury trial in civil cases has been quite rare since the mid 1930s. Law and fact are both decided by judges. There is no regret, that I am aware of, that the change was made.
One only needs to look at some of the judgements
of English trial judges to see the complexity of the process laid bare.
2 Juries, as well as being amateurs, do not give reasons for their decisions.
Reasons are vital in regulating any intrusion of the state upon the individual. Government departments (in the UK, certainly) are often bound by statute to give reasons for their decisions. Judges almost inevitably do so.
Reasons serve two main functions: they require the decider to come up with an explanation that will sound reasonable when read out in court; and give tribunals with appellate jurisdiction a much better chance of identifying errors of law and fact whereby those decisions deserve to be struck down.
And, for the most vital decisions, sometimes affecting whether the state is to kill a man, we have no reasons at all. We deliberately put ourselves in the dark. As some bizarre medieval act of faith, making as much sense as trial by combat.
In England, the situation is worse, in that any research into jury deliberations constitutes a criminal offence! At least, US jurors are allowed to condemn themselves out of their own mouths.
It's high time this antique institution was consigned to the junkyard.
Never going to happen? Think slavery: in 1720, everyone in England thought it was fine - even that eventual vanguard of anti-slavery, the Quakers; in 1833, it was abolished in British colonies. That, I reckon, is about the timetable for the demise of the jury......