Jury Decisions

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In a criminal case, I do not believe the answer is as simple as a yes or no to whether one opts for a jury trial or leave it up to a judge. Recently, in Baltimore, six police officers were charged with criminal offenses by the district attorney in the death of Freddie Gray. One officer resulted in a hung jury and later all charges were dropped. All other officers had a judge either dismiss charges or find them not guilty. Politics were at play in this heavily covered case by national media. I remember watching the news and was surprised to learn that many of the officers were allowing a judge to rule on their case. I think a particular jurisdiction has a lot to do with what is the right decision. Unfortunately, many judges do not represent …show more content…

Too many variables and too many politically charged jurisdictions to make a simple decision from one case to another. I did learn some interesting facts on this subject that may give me reason to opt for a judge to decide. One of the biggest problems with a jury is that they are so rarely used anymore, our citizens would be considered rusty in that capacity (Dzur, 2013). Even though the public retains a high opinion utilizing juries, the rare times they are needed, the jurors feel unimportant to the process (Dzur, 2013). A legal scholar named Judith Resnik conveyed an amazing fact about a courthouse in Boston that opened in 1998 (Dzur, 2013). This remarkable courthouse only hosted approximately seven trials in its first year and since then has dropped even lower (Dzur, 2013). The early 20th century was the last time a jury was considered the normal process for dealing with criminal cases, and now the plea deal is king (Dzur, 2013). Simple fact is, today juries hear only a very few cases across the nation (Dzur, 2013). High-ranking members working in the justice system fear that the competence of a jury today is declining with the scientific evidence that is now available (Dzur, 2013). The statistics seem to support this fear. “In 2005 the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that juries heard 4 percent of all alleged criminal offenses brought before federal courts. State courts match this trend” (Dzur, 2013, p. 31). Legal scholars also noted that state courts over the past 30 years have dropped 15 percent when utilizing a jury for a criminal trial, while only a 10 percent drop when a judge decides the case (Dzur, 2013). These statistics are dramatically higher for civil cases (Dzur,

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