21. Jury Reform

Jurors should not be chosen from out of a random sampling of citizens of the community. Being a juror should be a profession that requires a great deal of schooling, just like being a lawyer. A juror should be expected to know a great deal about the legal and scientific worlds so that they know everything about DNA evidence, fingerprints, what the law says, and virtually everything else that is necessary to know in order to make accurate and quick judgments in trials that may cover a wide range of scientific disciplines and legal regulations. Professional jurors should be trained to see right through various tactics employed by lawyers and others who may try to make their cases artificially compelling.

Choosing jurors for a trial should be done at random to eliminate the possible complaint of fixing juries with jurors sympathetic to one side or the other. Since jurors would all be professionals, the prosecutors, plaintiffs, defendants, public defenders, and the general public should be more confident that these trained, intelligent people are much more likely to decide cases fairly without easily falling victim to emotions or other deceitful tactics employed by one side or the other. Perhaps up to 18 jurors should be called for each case so that at least 12 jurors are guaranteed to remain on the jury through the end of the case. Complete reports or profiles of each juror should be made available to the judge and perhaps the lawyers for both sides so that conflict of interest issues or other disqualifiers are known right at the beginning and appropriate measures can be taken beforehand without threatening the integrity of the trial. These reports should include a fairly detailed personal and professional history and also include things like previous cases with which the juror was involved. These records, filtered of any personally identifying information, should also probably be made available to the public.
Felony cases should require a unanimous verdict while misdemeanor cases should require an 11-12 majority (at least 90%) vote of the jurors. Civil cases should require a 10-12 majority vote (at least 80%).

Jury Decisions

Jurors should be free to choose absolutely any verdict they see fit, as long as it is guided by the law. Jurors should not be limited to simply deciding whether the prosecution’s charges are valid or not. The charges brought against a defendant should only be viewed as suggested criminal offenses. Juries should be required to freely choose absolutely any types and number of charges on which to convict a defendant, regardless of whether such charges are at all related to what the prosecution originally intended on which to convict the defendant.

Peremptory Challenge

Peremptory challenges should ideally never be allowed under a system of where a purely random selection of trained, qualified jurors is used because there will always be the option to remove jurors for just cause. However, many lawyers still really think that peremptory challenges are a valuable tool to help please both sides in a trail and its use will likely lead to fewer retrial requests. However, these challenges should be limited to 3 jurors per side.

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