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Juries

December 4, 2008

I finally finished In Cold Blood earlier this week. It really is a masterpiece, and Capote’s writing is amazing.

But what struck me, when reading it, is the utter nonsense of the of the jury system. The law is so complicated and nuanced, how can a random assortment of people possibly interpret and understand it in a way that is fair and consistent? It makes no sense.

I don’t know what the alternative could be- I’m not sure if there is one- but it irks me, much in the way compulsory voting does. It seems to me people who are making really big decisions should be required to have some knowledge, some understanding of the issues at stake. I understand that a trial lays out evidence, but understanding what the law actually requires for a conviction seems to be something that requires some expertise.

I very well could be wrong, and I’m sure there’s more to it. This is a mere zygote of a thought. But I am genuinely confused as to how it can be just…

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2 comments

  1. I have thought along these lines on many occasions. Check out the documentary “The Staircase” – I think they’ve got it at the Broadway blockbuster.


  2. The point of having a jury made up of the public is that the law should be accessible to all. The jury is given a lot of instruction about what they are deciding, and are meant to represent the ‘average’ person. I think it is a fantastic system.
    But then, I also agree with compulsory voting and, as much as it makes my life difficult, I believe that local Councillors and other politicians should come from an array of backgrounds and not all MBA graduates. Its this vibrancy, dynanicism and inclusion that makes democracy work. I think we have one of the most robust democratic systems in the world, for these very reasons.



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