So I have always thought about how our judicial system has some weak points. I feel like one of them is our pool of jurors. The Constitution does not specify that we have a right to a jury of our “peers”. It only specifies that we have a right to an impartial jury. We potentially have 12 people who are not at all impartial, nor have any idea whats going on in the courtroom, the world, or their own head. Why do we leave the pool to chance? I understand the lawyers pick and choose who they want out of a much larger group, however, each one tries to pick certain types of people designed to give them the verdict they desire. My ideal jury would be 6 people that actually know whats going on in a courtroom, people that are trained to be impartial, and most importantly people that know about the human condition, who are less likely to blindly believe everything they hear and see.
The complexity of law, the courtroom, and the people involved can be overwhelming for people. The desire to agree and to go with the flow has been taught to us for a very long time (remember back in school as a child? stand in line and don’t talk). We need people who question things, and don’t believe everything that a lawyer says. People that understand what reasonable doubt is, and when a judge tells the jury to disregard something, they actually know how.
So what I’m proposing is a pool of jurors that are properly trained, and who are being paid to be jurors as a full time job. I think this will improve the judicial system immensely. Yes, I do realize that jury’s are composed of 12 people, but in this new system, I think only 6 would be needed. Now obviously there needs to be a lot of things ironed out here. Maybe the jurors would have to go through some sort of entrance exam by a panel of judges and lawyers. Maybe they sit in a different room and just listen to the audio of a courtroom (justice is supposed to be blind). Maybe said audio is delayed so that a judge can manually edit out things the jury should not hear. I always thought it odd that a lawyer can look into a jurors eyes and watch them and try to interpret if what they are saying is swaying them one way or another. Being impartial is about looking at facts, NOT being emotional. And how can you not be emotional when you are taking part in something so intense?
I would love to hear any comments and criticisms, or any other idea’s people have.