Jury Duty Essay, Research Paper
If you are the defendant, make no mistake that your so called jury of peers has made their decision within seconds of laying eyes on you, maybe not your final verdict, but the verdict they want to give you. Forget any technical information you might have heard. It is all simple human nature, as a species we are notorious for jumping to conclusions. Our skin color, clothing we wear, tattoos, piercings and hair styles all contribute. Look back to the fifties when a black man could not get a fair trial for his life. Today the same injustices occur but we will not be aware of them until years in the future when we look back upon unfounded stereotypes and prejudices. I am not saying that a verdict is passed on sight, but a person knows whether they want you to go free or go to jail.
Look at our jurors today. It is rare to see a doctor, scientist or philosopher on a jury because it is so easy to get out of jury duty. During one summer I was called on for jury duty, but I said I was a student and they let me off. I was not even taking summer classes. This is my hypothesis/stereotype: 75% of all jurors are there either because they want to be or because they are not smart enough to get out of it. This is important in determining when a jury makes its decision because operating on this theory allows one to determine with a higher percentage of certainty when these people make their decision.
Beyond the makeup of the jury and human nature itself come the actual facts of the case, which are much less significant than one might think after passing through the filters of human nature and the jury selection process, both, utterly flawed processes. Let us assume that the jury pool was actually a legitimate sample of our peers and humans did not make irrational decisions, when then has a jury made up its mind? Once again I say that it is impossible to tell. There are no averages because each case is a mutually exclusive event. There is no average point where the key facts are introduced because it is in the eyes of the jury. Intensive surveys and interviews would have to be conducted and even if they were they would probably be wrong because how intelligent or qualified is the person whose job would be to solely interview jurors and their thoughts on the case. Even if 95% of all jurors in murder cases decided at the closing statements whether the person was guilty or not still has no bearing on the facts of the next case, which negates the usefulness of any number crunching or averages.
When has a jury decided whether a person is guilty or innocent? When the judge reads it.