In my post reviewing the Hindi film Rustom, I had mentioned “Incidentally, the jury system was abolished in India after this case wound up.”
Reading that a friend of mine had suggested that I read The Humanity Of Justice by Burke Strunsky to understand the jury system in the USA. While reading the book, I came across a lead to the film 12 Angry Men which brings out the role of the American Jury system so well which is elaborated in the book.
While I could not immediately get a DVD of the film, on investigating, I found that I could see a play on youtube. I saw it earlier this evening and I was zapped and I could well understand that the film must have been more powerful.
Reading the book and seeing the play, I have come to the conclusion that we in India have gravely erred giving up the jury system. I wish that we could go back to it but it is a pipe dream.
I give below the link to the play and if you have not seen the film or the play, it would be worth your while to see it at your leisure.
12 thoughts on “The Jury System.”
What do you do instead of juries? The judge decides?
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Yes, the judge decides.
There was an Indian version “Ek Hua Faisala” that was an copy.
I remember watching it on Doordarshan back in the eighties but couldn’t understand the concept of juries until much time later.
That sounds very interesting. I shall try and get a DVD. Thank you.
We have a jury system as well, but I don’t know under what circumstances a suspected criminal is within them – and you can be called up for jury service – I have a permanent excusable due to my health issues. I know that the people inside the case, can reject anyone – all are paraded before someone…they are usually mixed gender juries as well..
Actually I’m not sure how the system works at all…I could have it all very wrong 🙂
The book The Humanity of Justice that I have mentioned in the post elaborates in detail how the jury system works.
I’ve seen the film, and it’s an ingenious plot. I’ve done jury service twice and the first time was very similar to the film. Just one juror opted for a not guilty verdict and she gradually persuaded the rest of us to agree with her.
I didn’t realise India doesn’t have juries. My personal opinion is that the crucial issue isn’t whether you have a jury or a judge, it’s simply the strength of evidence on each side. If the prosecution evidence is more convincing, they win. And vice versa. I suspect that on that basis, in most cases a jury or judge would come to the same decision.
It is based on the same logic that you share in the second paragraph that India decided to do away with the jury system as the jury in the Nanavati case had given a not guilty verdict in the case due to the highly charged atomosphere outside the court and the trial by media as it were.
Money talks. Jury selection in some cases – very wealthy defendants – leads to jury consultants that can and do select juries that are beneficial to the defendant \. I have no stats on these matters buttheir influence is such that we have a new TV series coming based upon one former jury consultant – Dr. Phil in his previous life. It seems as if almost any good idea can be corrupted by money.
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The book I have mentioned in the post, The Humanity of Justice discusses this phenomenon in detail with an excellent case discussion.
I once served as the foreman of a jury here in the UK, but unlike in the USA the jurors were not selected after questioning, but purely on appearance. A prospective juror sitting next to me suggested that I remove my tie if I wanted to be selected and he was right. How stupid was that ? Half those selected did not have a clue about what was going on during the trial which lasted for nearly two weeks. I would dread to be an innocent man facing ‘a jury of one’s peers’, but then again, not all of our judges are that bright.
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Not all our judges are bright here either. Our legal processes can take forever to resolve.
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