There is a hot debate surrounding whether or not juries should be abolished and removed from our justice system. Readily what comes up is what happens to all the cases where those who are now serving time were proven guilty through trial by jury? What would that process look like?
A trial by jury is a constitutional right. It is the sixth amendment brought about through the judicial branch of government. Trial by jury was not within the original constitution. Therefore the constitution was amended in order to include this right, and amendments are not likely to be amended. If it were to be done it would be a lengthy and historical process. Juries are therefore a part of the American fabric.
In the case of the grand jury it has been said a prosecutor can persuade a jury to indict a ham sandwich. Sol Wachtler, former chief judge of New York state, derived this popular phrase during a January 1985 interview with the New York Daily News.
He used this to indicate the persuasive ease on the part of the prosecution to get an indictment (or not) from the grand jury. It is this process we may see changing in the future, there will be a balance in hearing both arguments from the prosecution and the defense before a decision is made whether or not to go to trial. With all we have seen in the case of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, where officer Darren Wilson was not indicted there is a likelihood that a different outcome might have occurred had the grand jury been given the opportunity to hear from both sides.
Understandably, some uphold fears of the thoughts prejudices jurors enter the courtroom with. It has also been noted, those who on jury duty, at times have come in disgruntled with an unwillingness to be there due to inconvenience-they perceive it presents in their life, or simply the lack of interest in serving as a juror. All humans however, come with faults of some kind, all of which we ideally hope will be left at the door when entering a courtroom.
Since the founding of our nation it has not been about placing sole power in one person or a select group of people. When it comes to our federal government and judicial system, America strives to uphold a balance of power. Being judged by a jury of your peers is fundamental to American culture. Jury’s have found accused persons innocent that the American public perceived as guilty. While it is not the most accurate system, juries allow for persons up for trial to be judged by a panel of their peers. While all of the individuals serving on the jury may not be legal experts they are presented with the facts of the case and hold the responsibility to make a decision and participate in the judicial process as American citizens.