Jury Duty Essay

1162 words - 5 pages

Serving on a jury is a civic duty and an American tradition. However, some people view jury duty as a chore or as an event that negatively interrupts their lives. Some independent studies have shown that even jury duty has a devastating effect on married life. Due to this and other extraneous situations, there are only a few people who actually want to serve on a jury. This may lead to efforts by potential jurors to, in some way get out of their duty in a jury. What we know of as the current jury duty system should be changed so citizens are not forced to serve in this capacity and can still be regarded as a responsible civilian. As per the status quo, a trial jury is a constitutional right, a jury of ones peers or equals. However, ordinary people with little or no formal knowledge of the law should not be allowed to make a decision that would change a person's life.

In order to be seated as a juror, a variety of trial lawyers will ask questions to each perspective juror. If the juror seems to fit the profile of the "perfect juror," it is likely that in the current system that this person will sit on the jury. More often than it should, this means that because someone has the same beliefs as the trial lawyers, they will be selected because they will most likely be sympathetic to the correct client. Even though most of the time it is the evidence that convicts, the law should also be considered when jury reaches a verdict. It is a struggle to have Twelve people, with different personalities and beliefs come to a just vote for conviction or acquittal, especially with little to no background in the practice of law.

The current system has many unforeseen flaws. It is not the best. It is possible for jurors to lie so that they can get on the jury. It is easy for a potential juror to say that he or she can be fair and impartial when being questioned by the attorneys. However when it is time to deliberate and come to an important verdict, these same people have a hard time making impartial and fair decisions because the many prior misconceptions that they possess. It is impossible for anyone to be completely impartial and fair, especially with inadequate knowledge of the law. It can take only one partial, and unfair person to change the whole outcome of the verdict.

"Today, jurors sometimes leave courtrooms in tears after convicting people they believed were morally (if not legally) innocent, or after witnessing the harsh sentences handed down by judges at the sentencing phase of seemingly minor cases. That is exactly the sort of travesty trial by jury was intended to prevent. If the law were just and justly applied, jurors would have no reason to regret their verdicts, or the sentences that are meted out later by judges." (Trial by Jury Website) This would seemingly encourage the American judicial system to adapt the jury system to meet the needs of our current American society. It is unpleasant for the jurors to make very...

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