Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Todd Pettys on Jury Autonomy and Exclusionary Rules

Todd Pettys of the University of Iowa has posted a paper on an odd-sounding but interesting question: whether exclusionary rules are "immoral" because they infringe on jury autonomy. See Todd E. Pettys, "The Immoral Application of Exclusionary Rules," University of Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-08 (March, 2008). The abstract of the paper informs the reader that Professor Pettys makes some use of Kant's categorical imperative and Kant's injunction that people be treated as ends rather than means. If Professor Pettys does not put an absolutist spin on the notion of jury autonomy, his paper likely makes an important contribution to thinking about exclusionary rules. Indeed, even if he does advocate a categorical version of Kant's categorical imperative, his paper likely makes an important contribution. (I have not yet read the paper.) The interests of jurors and the role of juries -- pedagogical, exemplary, and otherwise -- in the larger society are matters worth considering. (If it also turns out that giving juries more autonomy also increases -- at an acceptable price -- the accuracy and the justice of jury decisionmaking, so much the better.)
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