Friday, December 29, 2006

Lay Participation in Trials: Diverging Trends

The U.K. has been cutting back on trial by jury for years. Japan, however, seems to be going in a different direction: it is reintroducing a mixed court system for some criminal cases. See Robert E. Precht, "Japan, the Jury," New York Times Section A, Column 2, Editorial Desk, p. 31 (Dec. 1, 2006).

Extract:

Beginning in 2009, Japan will institute a jury system called saiban-in. Juries consisting of three law-trained judges and six citizens chosen by lottery will decide criminal cases by majority vote. Japan had an American-style jury system for 15 years, but it was abolished by Japan's military government in 1943. Since then, verdicts have been decided by three-judge panels, leaving citizens with no voice in a system in which virtually all criminal trials end in a conviction. ...

&&&

According to surveys conducted by a sociologist, Hiroshi Fukurai, the prospect of jury service intimidates many Japanese; other polls show 70 percent of them don't want to be on juries. ...

Post a Comment