The process of a trial is defined as the "the formal examination before a competent tribunal of the matter in issue in a civil or criminal cause in order to determine such issue". It is a legal procedure and also an eminent political event which is deeply rooted in societies and has to be adequate with their ideal of justice. In spite of the obvious features differentiating Anglo-Saxon Common Law and French-inspired Civil Law traditions, some processes and instruments are used by both legal systems. The jury is of English origin. It had been exported and fully used in the Commonwealth and was adopted by the French judicial system, mainly for criminal cases, in 1791. This instrument of "popular justice" gathers supposedly anonymous and randomly-selected citizens, usually from six to twelve, to take part in the judgment in criminal cases, and sometimes even, civil cases. The jury is usually given the duty to decide on facts, when the law and instructions remain in the hands of professional judges. The oath they swear, the secrecy of their deliberation and, usually, the unanimity they have to reach are supposed to give the jurors' decision the necessary power to ensure that it is just. However, according to The Chambers Dictionary, a trial which is "just" would be "fair, impartial; according to justice" or "in accordance with facts, valid, well-grounded". Therefore, one can question the presence of a jury in the decision-making process and how it can influence the justice of the trial, regarding both its fairness and its accordance with facts.
[...] Next, regarding the large awards that juries tend to grant plaintiffs, research found two interesting explanations. First, jurors, who are more realistic than judges, take better into account the high American lawyer's fees when calculating the award; second, their animosity against certain categories of defendants such as hospitals or companies may represent better the attitude of society as a whole. That is why they can decide over any situation, before the Law, and their word is meant to remain the last one TOCQUEVILLLE A. [...]
[...] Moreover, jurors' lists remain racially skewed in some areas given their geographic boundaries; and even if they are in effect on the lists, the poorest minorities have more difficult access to effective jury participation, given transportation costs or absence of a permanent address. When social issues interfere in the process of the trial, justice clearly is impeded. More particularly, the process of selection and composition of the jury, corresponding to the voir dire stage, is today particularly challenging for ideals of justice and independence, mostly in the UnitedStates. [...]
[...] That is why the judge only has to apply the law, not to interpret it. As a result, to restate Royer-Collard's defense of the jury's institution in 1817 in a case challenging the freedom of the press, leaving the first part, the mineure concerning facts, to average citizens representing society and choosing for it, allows judges to be only the bouches de la Loi : the declaration the facts [ ] is the freedom of the press as a whole. [...]
[...] It is another way to socialize and to understand how one's societal system works. It is the best way to make citizens understand the interaction of private and general interests, and correct their own individualistic tendencies. But it is also a way to educate citizens who see with their own eyes that justice is rendered in their country: “Everyone, when judging their neighbor, knows that they may be judged themselves one day”.4 That is why Tocqueville advocated for the jury system to be extended also to civil cases in France. [...]
[...] It stems from the 1 definition by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary 1 specific process of intime conviction that the jurors will feel when deliberating. Indeed, in order to judge one's peer, it is not legal knowledge or any kind of technical skills which is required but rather a reference to common sense and a deep quest within the “sincerity of one's consciousness”2. To a certain extent, the better way to get the “more just” decision in a trial would be to stand in for the defendant, to understand his motives, to imagine and share his experiences, in order to feel guilt or innocence; finally the decision which is taken about the facts is supposed to replace the defendant's confession. [...]
Lecture en ligneet sans publicité !
Contenu vérifiépar notre comité de lecture