Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thom Brooks on "The Right to Trial by Jury"

Thom Brooks, "The Right to Trial by Jury," Journal of Applied Philosophy 21(2) (2004): 197-212. (subscription-only)


This article offers a justification for the continued use of jury trials. I shall critically examine the ability of juries to render just verdicts, judicial impartiality, and judicial transparency. My contention is that the judicial system that best satisfies these values is most preferable. Of course, these three values are not the only factors relevant for consideration. Empirical evidence demonstrates that juries foster both democratic participation and public legitimation of legal decisions regarding the most serious cases. Nevertheless, juries are costly and, therefore, economically less efficient than competing modes of trial. I do not argue that all human beings possess an inalienable legal right to be tried by a jury. However, it is my hope that this analysis will make clear what we might gain or lose when we propose jury reforms.

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