The existence of the jury system in the United States criminal justice system

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In the United States, anyone charged with a crime punishable by more than six months in prison has a constitutional right to a jury trial. Judges in some states are selected by registration. A prequalification form will be sent to the prospective jury, asking the candidate to answer questions about nationality, disability, understanding of English, and if she has any prerequisites or reasons for being a jury member. If they qualify, a call will be made. 2934b2f1dde3309a52ceccafef2eeeb1fa497ea1

In the U.S

Understandably, a jury generally considers evidence and testimony to determine issues of fact, while judges generally decide legal issues. or the irregularities of justice that they practice. As fact finders, the jury is expected to play the role of the lie detector.

According to British tradition, American juries typically consist of 12 jurors and the jury’s decisions are expected to be unanimous. However, in many jurisdictions, the number of jurors is often reduced to a smaller number (such as five or six) by law. In some jurisdictions, a verdict can also be rendered even if there is a disagreement between one, two, or three jurors. During a trial, lawyers resist the questioning side of witnesses called to testify. Attorneys also make opening and closing statements to the jury. Finally, the judge makes a final statement to the jury.

According to US law

a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The jury does not have to be absolutely sure that the person is innocent. They just need to have a reasonable question in mind. Unless they are sure that the person is guilty as the accused, they must find the accused innocent. The jury meets in person to reach a verdict. Most states require that all jurors in criminal cases approve the verdict.

The American jury system has been criticized. Some relate to issues that divide American citizens in general. One of those problems is race. A common example is the case of O.J. Simpson, actor and former soccer player. Simpson is a black citizen. He was indicted in Los Angeles for the murder of his ex-wife and a friend of his, a white citizen. In 1995, an African-American jury ruled that O.J. Simpson is not guilty of any criminal charges. Subsequently, a white jury ruled against him in a civil case that would be presented to the victim’s family. The jury sentenced him to pay millions of dollars in damages. Public opinion polls found that the majority of white Americans believed that the black jury had acquitted the guilty. Whereas the majority of black Americans believe that the white jury convicts innocent people.

Generally, in the United States criminal justice system, the process consists of multiple parties, namely judges, prosecutors, attorneys, defendants, victims, witnesses, and judges. The role of each party in the process, in summary:

  1. The judge who opens and explains the trial.
  2. The prosecutor has explained to the jury about the case that it arose with the intention of influencing that the defendant was the culprit.
  3. The lawyer explains to the jury that the defendant is innocent.
  4. The evidence process, through the incorporation of multiple witnesses, including the possibility of hearing the testimony of the accused. However, in the United States criminal justice system, defendants cannot testify at trial.
  5. The jury decides in a short conclusion whether the defendant is guilty or not. In the jury system, the jury cannot question the suspect, witness, or victim. The jury only has the opportunity to decide whether the defendant is guilty or not. If the jury cannot decide whether the defendant is guilty or not, the jury will meet in a room to decide the case unanimously.
  6. The judge determines the severity of the sentence for the suspect.

Although the jury system has advantages compared to the criminal justice system implemented in Indonesia, where this system prioritizes the community as a sovereign social element and limits the power of government exercised by judges and prosecutors. The adage the United States has followed for years is that “it is better to acquit 10 guilty than arrest 1 innocent.” These two principles are the foundation for the United States to adopt the jury system.

The discussion grew out of the activities of the Speakers Program “Comparison of the Criminal Justice System of the United States and Indonesia,” an activity conducted by the American Corners Institution, which is a collaborative institution between the United States Embassy and several leading universities in the United States. Indonesia. This institution provides access to the provision of accurate and precise information on political, economic, cultural, educational and social developments in the United States in a collection of books, periodicals and magazines, CD-ROM, DVD and Internet access, as well as as online databases.

This activity was completed by a speaker from the United States, Steven Kessler, an official of the United States Department of Justice, who worked in Jakarta as legal advisor at the United States Embassy. He has been a prosecutor in New York for 20 years.

At the event, the speaker also explained that it was possible that the jury was heavily influenced by kinship and other psychological factors, and it cannot be denied that in some cases the jury made a mistake in deciding whether or not the defendant was. guilty. As in the case of O.J. Simpson above.

The participants in this activity also gave their answer, why Indonesia does not use the jury system, because based on its legal system, although there has been an association with the Common Law Legal System, the Indonesian legal system still has nuances in the law civil, where legal security comes first, that is, what is in the legal system. a legal arrangement. Unlike the justice system in the United States, which prioritizes justice, which is the sense of justice that lives in society at any given time, the judge himself only carries out what the jury has decided, which is the duration of the prison sentence. . On the other hand, the condition of the Indonesian people, made up of different ethnic groups, will greatly influence the composition of the trial jury. On the other hand, it is assumed that although the United States has a jury system with various advantages, in reality crime rates in the United States are the highest.

In the case, it can be concluded that the jury system implemented in the United States has its own advantages over the legal system applied in Indonesia, which is to prioritize the sovereignty of the community (civil society) in the implementation of its criminal law and limit the arbitrary acts that the police can carry out. prosecutor or judge in the judicial process in the United States.