TJB | About Texas Courts | Juror Information | Jury Service in Texas
A Law concerning the Jury entered into force on January 1, and lasted until , where juries were again disbanded with the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. The actual Constitution of permits the Cortes Generales to pass legislation allowing juries in criminal trials.
The provision is arguably somewhat vague: "Article — Citizens may engage in popular action and participate in the administration of justice through the institution of the Jury, in the manner and with respect to those criminal trials as may be determined by law, as well as in customary and traditional courts. Jury trials can only happen in the criminal jurisdiction and it is not a choice of the defendant to be tried by jury, or by a single judge or a panel of judges. For all other crimes, a single judge or a panel of judges will decide both on facts and the law.
Spanish juries are composed of 9 citizens and a professional Judge. Juries decide on facts and whether to convict or acquit the defendant. In case of conviction they can also make recommendations such as if the defendant should be pardoned if they asked to, or if they think the defendant could be released on parole, etc.
One of the first jury trial cases was that of Mikel Otegi who was tried in for the murder of two police officers. After a confused [ clarification needed ] trial, five jury members of a total of nine voted to acquit and the judge ordered the accused set free. This verdict shocked the nation.
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In press libel cases and other cases concerning offenses against freedom of the press, the question of whether or not the printed material falls outside permissible limits is submitted to a jury of 9 members which provides a pre-screening before the case is ruled on by normal courts.
In these cases 6 out of 9 jurors must find against the defendant, and may not be overruled in cases of acquittal. Sweden has no tradition of using juries in most types of criminal or civil trial. The sole exception, since , is in cases involving freedom of the press, prosecuted under Chapter 7 of the Freedom of the Press Act, part of Sweden's constitution.
These cases are tried in district courts first tier courts by a jury of nine laymen. The jury in press freedom cases rules only on the facts of the case and the question of guilt or innocence. The trial judge may overrule a jury's guilty verdict, but may not overrule an acquittal. A conviction requires a majority verdict of 6—3. Sentencing is the sole prerogative of judges. Jury members must be Swedish citizens and resident in the county in which the case is being heard. They must be of sound judgement and known for their independence and integrity.
Combined, they should represent a range of social groups and opinions, as well as all parts of the county. It is the county council that have the responsibility to appoints juries for a tenure of four years under which they may serve in multiple cases. The appointed jurymen are divided into two groups, in most counties the first with sixteen members and the second with eight.
From this pool of available jurymen the court hears and excludes those with conflicts of interest in the case, after which the defendants and plaintiffs have the right to exclude a number of members, varying by county and group. The final jury is then randomly selected by drawing of lots. Juries are not used in other criminal and civil cases. For most other cases in the first and second tier courts lay judges sit alongside professional judges. Lay judges participate in deciding both the facts of the case and sentencing.
Lay judges are appointed by local authorities, or in practice by the political parties represented on the authorities. In England and Wales jury trials are used for criminal cases, requiring 12 jurors between the ages of 18 and 75 , although the trial may continue with as few as 9. The right to a jury trial has been enshrined in English law since Magna Carta in , and is most common in serious cases, although the defendant can insist on a jury trial for most criminal cases.
Jury trials in complex fraud cases have been described by some members and appointees of the Labour Party as expensive and time-consuming. Jury trials are also available for some few areas of civil law for example defamation cases and those involving police conduct ; these also require 12 jurors 9 in the County Court.
During the Troubles in Northern Ireland , jury trials were suspended and trials took place before Diplock Courts. These were essentially trials before judges only. This was to combat the intimidation of juries. Scottish trials are based on an adversarial approach. First the prosecution leads evidence from witnesses and after each witness the defence has an opportunity to cross examine. Following the Prosecution case, the defence may move a motion of no case to answer if the worst the prosecution has been able to lead in evidence would be insufficient to convict of any crime.
If there remains a case to answer, the defence leads evidence from witnesses in an attempt to refute previous evidence led by the prosecution, with cross examination being permitted after each witness. Once both prosecution and defence have concluded leading evidence, the case goes to summing up where firstly the prosecution and then the defence get to sum up their case based on the evidence that has been heard. The jury is given guidance on points of law and then sent out to consider its verdict.
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Juries are composed of fifteen residents. In criminal law in federal courts and a minority of state court systems of the United States, a grand jury is convened to hear only testimony and evidence to determine whether there is a sufficient basis for deciding to indict the defendant and proceed toward trial. In each court district where a grand jury is required, a group of 16—23 citizens holds an inquiry on criminal complaints brought by the prosecutor to decide whether a trial is warranted based on the standard that probable cause exists that a crime was committed , in which case an indictment is issued.
In jurisdictions where the size of a jury varies, in general the size of juries tends to be larger if the crime alleged is more serious. If a grand jury rejects a proposed indictment the grand jury's action is known as a "no bill. This is so because a grand jury cannot convict a defendant.
It can only decide to indict the defendant and proceed forward toward trial. Grand juries vote to indict in the overwhelming majority of cases, and prosecutors are not prohibited from presenting the same case to a new grand jury if a "no bill" was returned by a previous grand jury. A typical grand jury considers a new criminal case every fifteen minutes. In some jurisdictions, in addition to indicting persons for crimes, a grand jury may also issue reports on matters that they investigate apart from the criminal indictments, particularly when the grand jury investigation involves a public scandal.
Historically, grand juries were sometimes used in American law to serve a purpose similar to an investigatory commission. Constitution and the Sixth Amendment require that criminal cases be tried by a jury. However, the Fourteenth Amendment extended this mandate to the states. Although the Constitution originally did not require a jury for civil cases, this led to an uproar which was followed by adoption of the Seventh Amendment , which requires a civil jury in cases where the value in dispute is greater than twenty dollars. Under the law of many states, jury trials are not allowed in small claims cases.
The civil jury in the United States is a defining element of the process by which personal injury trials are handled. In practice, even though the defendant in a criminal action is entitled to a trial by jury, most criminal actions in the U. In the Supreme Court held that the jury must be composed of at least twelve persons, although this was not necessarily extended to state civil jury trials. There is controversy over smaller juries, with proponents arguing that they are more efficient and opponents arguing that they lead to fluctuating verdicts.
Traditionally the removal of jurors based on a peremptory challenge required no justification or explanation, but the tradition has been changed by the Supreme Court where the reason for the peremptory challenge was the race of the potential juror. Since the s " scientific jury selection " has become popular. Unanimous jury verdicts have been standard in US American law.
This requirement was upheld by the Supreme Court in , but the standard was relaxed in in two criminal cases. As of over thirty states had laws allowing less than unanimity in civil cases, but Oregon and Louisiana are the only states which have laws allowing less than unanimous jury verdicts for criminal cases. The practice generally was that the jury rules only on questions of fact and guilt; setting the penalty was reserved for the judge. This practice was confirmed by rulings of the U. Supreme Court such as in Ring v.
Arizona ,  which found Arizona's practice of having the judge decide whether aggravating factors exist to make a defendant eligible for the death penalty, to be unconstitutional, and reserving the determination of whether the aggravating factors exist to be decided by the jury. However, in some states such as Alabama and Florida , the ultimate decision on the punishment is made by the judge, and the jury gives only a non-binding recommendation. The judge can impose the death penalty even if the jury recommends life without parole.
There is no set format for jury deliberations, and the jury takes a period of time to settle into discussing the evidence and deciding on guilt and any other facts the judge instructs them to determine. Deliberation is done by the jury only, with none of the lawyers, the judge, or the defendant present.
The first step will typically be to find out the initial feeling or reaction of the jurors to the case, which may be by a show of hands, or via secret ballot. The jury will then attempt to arrive at a consensus verdict. The discussion usually helps to identify jurors' views to see whether a consensus will emerge as well as areas that bear further discussion. Points often arise that were not specifically discussed during the trial.
The result of these discussions is that in most cases the jury comes to a unanimous decision and a verdict is thus achieved. In some states and under circumstances, the decision need not be unanimous. In a few states and in death penalty cases, depending upon the law, the trial jury, or sometimes a separate jury, may determine whether the death penalty is appropriate in "capital" murder cases. Usually, sentencing is handled by the judge at a separate hearing. The judge may but does not always follow the recommendations of the jury when deciding on a sentence.
Jury sentencing is the practice of having juries decide what penalties to give those who have been convicted of criminal offenses. The practice of jury sentencing began in Virginia in the 18th century and spread westward to other states that were influenced by Virginia-trained lawyers. Alabama , Georgia ,  Indiana , Illinois ,  Mississippi , Montana ,  Tennessee ,  and West Virginia had jury sentencing in times past, but then abandoned it. Canadian juries have long had the option to recommend mercy, leniency, or clemency , and the Criminal Code required judges to give a jury instruction , following a verdict convicting a defendant of capital murder , soliciting a recommendation as to whether he should be granted clemency.
When capital punishment in Canada was abolished in , as part of the same raft of reforms, the Criminal Code was also amended to grant juries the ability to recommend periods of parole ineligibility immediately following a guilty verdict in second-degree murder cases; however, these recommendations are usually ignored, based on the idea that judges are better-informed about relevant facts and sentencing jurisprudence and, unlike the jury, permitted to give reasons for their judgments.
Proponents of jury sentencing argue that since sentencing involves fact-finding a task traditionally within the purview of juries , and since the original intent of the founders was to have juries check judges' power, it is the proper role of juries to participate in sentencing.
The impetus for introducing jury sentencing was that in the late 18th century, punishment options expanded beyond shaming sanctions and the mandatory death penalty and came to include various ranges and modes of imprisonment, creating more room for case-by-case decisionmaking to which juries were thought to be well-suited. Virginia was the first state to adopt jury sentencing.
The state's first constitution was enacted in , and shortly thereafter, in , Thomas Jefferson proposed to the Virginia General Assembly a revised criminal code that would have eliminated pardons and benefit of clergy , abolished capital punishment for most offenses, and allowed juries to decide punishments when the penalty was discretionary. This bill failed, however, both in and , after James Madison had reintroduced it while Jefferson was in France. Sentencing by jury was, however, successfully enacted in Virginia's penal code, which like the bill replaced capital punishment with terms of imprisonment for most felony offenses.
Kentucky adopted a penal reform bill introduced by John Breckenridge that implemented sentencing by jury in While in Virginia, magistrates continued to have misdemeanor sentencing power possibly because of the political influence of magistrates who served in the General Assembly , in Kentucky, this power was given to juries. Kentucky juries tried and sentenced slaves and free blacks, and even decided cases involving prison discipline , imposing punishments such as flagellation or solitary confinement for infractions.
In contrast, northern states such as Pennsylvania , Maryland , New Jersey , and New York allowed judges to determine penalties, with Pennsylvania also allowing judges to pardon prisoners who, in their view, had evidenced sincere reformation. One hypothesis is that Virginia opted for jury sentencing because Federalists like George Keith Taylor distrusted the Republican district court judges; while in Pennsylvania, the Constitutionalists sought over the objections of Republicans to put sentencing power in the hands of the judges because the bench was populated by Constitutionalists.
North Carolina , South Carolina , and Florida , which did not establish penitentiaries until after the American Civil War , also left sentencing to judges' discretion. The adoption of jury sentencing happened at the same time that the movement for an elective judiciary gathered speed, with at least four states, Alabama, Mississippi, Montana, and North Dakota switching to judicial elections around the same time that they adopted jury sentencing.
Both reforms may have been due to a mistrust of unelected judges. During the ten years of the Republic of Texas , judges determined sentences. The change to jury determination of the penalty was brought about by one of the first laws passed by the first legislature of the State of Texas in , which empowered the jury to sentence the defendant in all criminal cases except capital cases and cases for which punishment was fixed by law.
Indiana, Illinois, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and West Virginia adopted jury sentencing later in the 19th century. The U. Supreme Court ruling in Sparf v. United States reflected growing concern that letting juries decide whether or how the law should be applied in particular cases could be detrimental to the rule of law.
By , the role of juries in determining penalties was being eroded by the professionalization of sentencing, as many states passed laws that created parole and probation systems.
These systems were based on a consequentialist philosophy that it would be more useful for society to focus on finding ways to prevent future crime than on fixing blame for crime that had occurred in the past. Criminal behavior was viewed as the result of such factors as heredity , social circumstances, random breeding, and Darwinian struggle , rather than an abuse of divinely-granted free will. Psychology and sociology would determine the causes of crime and what social reforms and treatment programs would correct them.
Probation officers gathered and analyzed information about the defendant's character and prepared a presentence report that served as the basis for the ultimate sentence. Probation provided opportunities for treatment in the community for juveniles and adults. In the prison system, parole commissioners , trained in penology and insulated from political pressures, determined when prisoners had been rehabilitated and could be reintegrated into society.
It would, therefore, not be possible for juries to sentence the defendant at the time of conviction, if the jury needed to rely on a presentence report in making its sentencing decision; rather, the jury would need to be broken up and reassembled later, which could be unworkable if the delay between verdict and sentencing is substantial.
Furthermore, jury control procedures typically provide that during the trial, information about the defendant's background that is not relevant to the issue of guilt is not to be presented in the presence of the jury, lest it prejudice him. The assumptions that presentence reports would be more informative than presentence hearings, and that training and experience were required to intelligently consider the data and assess sanctions, militated in favor of having a judge rather than a jury do the sentencing.
Supreme Court held that alleged juvenile delinquents have no right to a jury trial, with Harry Blackmun and three other Justices opining that an adversarial system would put an end to the prospect of an intimate, informal protective proceeding focused on rehabilitation. Georgia and Tennessee both had periods from —, and from —, respectively in which they briefly abandoned jury sentencing while experimenting with indeterminate sentencing. By , fourteen states gave juries sentencing powers in non-capital cases, although by , that number had dropped to thirteen.
By the s and s, determinate sentencing , a new intellectual current that repudiated the rehabilitative model with its focus on using mathematical models and grids to determine sentences, had made inroads, making jury sentencing seem like more of an anachronism. Oklahoma abolished jury sentencing but reinstated it in In Canada, a faint hope clause formerly allowed a jury to be empanelled to consider whether an offender's number of years of imprisonment without eligibility for parole ought to be reduced, but this was repealed in According to some commentators, the time is ripe for a revival of jury sentencing, because flaws in the determinate sentencing systems are becoming increasingly apparent.
Lawmakers drafting legislation such as the Sentencing Reform Act have had difficulty mustering the political will to make clear choices among opposing moral and ideological viewpoints, instead delegating these decisions to agencies that lack the representativeness and democratic origin of legislatures. Prosecutors have routinely circumvented the sentencing guidelines through their charging and plea bargaining decisions, creating a new set of disparities, despite the intent of the guidelines to curtail disparities.
Also, some juries have been acquitting guilty defendants to save them from what they regard as overly harsh mandatory minimum sentences , such as those imposed by the Rockefeller Drug Laws and California's three-strikes law. There have been movements to abolish sentencing commissions and guideline systems and inform jurors of their right to nullify. Decisions like Apprendi v. New Jersey requiring a jury, rather than a judge, to find any facts that would increase a defendant's maximum sentence and Ring v. Arizona requiring a jury, rather than a judge, to find whether there are aggravating factors justifying capital punishment have also signaled a willingness by the judiciary to expand the role of the jury in the legal process.
Jury sentencing has been seen as a way to in many cases render moot the questions raised by Apprendi and related cases such as Blakely v. Washington and United States v. Booker  about the differences between elements of an offense and sentencing factors by letting the jury decide all the facts.
Alabama and Graham v. Florida banning mandatory life imprisonment without parole, and life imprisonment without parole in non-homicide cases, respectively, for juveniles, as contrary to the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution 's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment also raise a question of whether the Supreme Court logically should allow only a jury, rather than a judge, to determine a juvenile should receive such a sentence, given the parallels between adult capital punishment case law and juvenile life imprisonment with parole case law.
In Virginia, under the act, capital punishment remained mandatory for first-degree murder , but the penalty for second-degree murder was any term between five and eighteen years in the penitentiary. The act gave the court in murder cases the authority to "determine the degree of the crime, and to give sentence accordingly" when a defendant was "convicted by confession. In Missouri, informing juries of sentences of defendants in similar cases or the sentences of co-participants in the crime on trial is strictly prohibited under the rules of evidence.
Kentucky courts have also held parole eligibility statistics inadmissible. The military at one time provided jurors with sentencing statistics and guidelines was the military, but this practice ended in the late s as the military's judicial philosophy shifted its emphasis away from sentencing uniformity and towards individualized judgments. The United States Court of Military Appeals held that jurors were not to consider sentences in similar cases or to consult the sentencing manual.
Under Virginia's current system, jurors are controversially not allowed access to the Commonwealth's sentencing guidelines or to information about whether sentences will run consecutively or concurrently,  and until were also not informed that parole had been abolished in Virginia. Less than one-quarter of jury-recommended sentences are modified by judges. States with jury sentencing have often allowed judges to intervene in the sentencing process, e. An argument based on the Sixth and Seventh Amendments to the United States Constitution is that criminal and civil juries have similar societal functions, including checking the abuse of governmental power, injecting community values into legal decisions, and aiding public acceptance of legal determinations; and therefore the criminal system should have juries decide sentences much as the civil system has juries decide judgments.
Arguments that have been raised against sentencing by jury are that juries are not as accountable as judges; that putting them in charge of determining both guilt and the sentence concentrates too much power in one body; and that different juries may differ widely in the sentences they impose. Counterarguments are that the lack of accountability of jurors to a higher authority preserves their judicial independence , and that judges are also capable of differing from other judges in the sentences they impose.
Judges may even deviate from their own usual sentencing practices if the case is high-profile or a judicial election is coming up. Also, disparities are not always a sign of arbitrariness; sometimes they may reflect geographical differences in public attitudes toward a given crime, or a jury's taking proper account of the individual circumstances of each offender.
It is sometimes argued that an unreasonable juror may force the rest of the jury into an undesirable compromise to find the defendant guilty but impose an overly light sentence. A counter-argument is that whether this is bad or good is a matter of perception since "one juror's principled holdout is another juror's irrational nullification. One jury's 'compromise' is another jury's perfectly appropriate give-and-take deliberations.
According to University of Chicago Law School lecturer Jenia Iontcheva, sentencing decisions are well-suited to being made through a process of deliberative democracy rather than by experts such as judges, since they involve deeply contested moral and political issues rather than scientific or technical issues. She argues that since sentencing requires individualized, case-by-case assessments, sentences should be decided through small-scale deliberation by juries, as opposed to having lawmakers codify general policies for mechanical application by judges.
An advantage Iontcheva cites of having juries come together to deliberate on sentences is that the jurors may alter their preferences in the light of new perspectives. She argues that the hearing and consideration of diverse opinions will give the sentencing decisions greater legitimacy, and that engaging ordinary citizens in government through this process of deliberative democracy will give these citizens confidence about their ability to influence political decisions and thus increase their willingness to participate in politics even after the end of their jury service.
Racial and other minorities may also benefit from having greater representation among jurors than among judges. In jurisdictions that do not have any statutory provisions formally allowing jury sentencing, judges have sometimes consulted with the jury on sentencing anyway.
At the federal level, the practice of polling the jury and using their input in sentencing was upheld on appeal by the 6th U. Circuit Court of Appeals. Sentencing is said to be more time-consuming for jurors than the relatively easy task of ascertaining guilt or innocence,  which means an increase in jury fees and in the amount of productivity lost to jury duty. Concerns about jury tampering through intimidation by defendants were also raised.
Civil rights leader James Bevel was sentenced to 15 years in prison pursuant to the recommendation of a Virginia jury that found him guilty of having sex with his teenage daughter in the s when they lived in Leesburg. The sentencing range had been 5 to 20 years. After James Alex Fields Jr. Jurors are selected from a jury pool formed for a specified period of time—usually from one day to two weeks—from lists of citizens living in the jurisdiction of the court. The lists may be electoral rolls i. When selected, being a member of a jury pool is, in principle, compulsory. Prospective jurors are sent a summons and are obligated to appear in a specified jury pool room on a specified date.
However, jurors can be released from the pool for several reasons including illness, prior commitments that can't be abandoned without hardship, change of address to outside the court's jurisdiction, travel or employment outside the jurisdiction at the time of duty, and others. Often jurisdictions pay token amounts for jury duty and many issue stipends to cover transportation expenses for jurors. Work places cannot penalize employees who serve jury duty.
Payments to jurors varies by jurisdiction. In the United States jurors for grand juries are selected from jury pools. Selection of jurors from a jury pool occurs when a trial is announced and juror names are randomly selected and called out by the jury pool clerk. Once the list of prospective jurors has assembled in the courtroom the court clerk assigns them seats in the order their names were originally drawn.
At this point the judge often will ask each prospective juror to answer a list of general questions such as name, occupation, education, family relationships, time conflicts for the anticipated length of the trial. The list is usually written up and clearly visible to assist nervous prospective jurors and may include several questions uniquely pertinent to the particular trial.
These questions are to familiarize the judge and attorneys with the jurors and glean biases, experiences, or relationships that could jeopardize the proper course of the trial. After each prospective juror has answered the general slate of questions the attorneys may ask follow-up questions of some or all prospective jurors. Each side in the trial is allotted a certain number of challenges to remove prospective jurors from consideration. Some challenges are issued during voir dire while others are presented to the judge at the end of voir dire.
The judge calls out the names of the anonymously challenged prospective jurors and those return to the pool for consideration in other trials. A jury is formed, then, of the remaining prospective jurors in the order that their names were originally chosen. Any prospective jurors not thus impaneled return to the jury pool room.
Scholarly research on jury behavior in American non-capital criminal felony trials reveals that juror outcomes appear to track the opinions of the median juror, rather than the opinions of the extreme juror on the panel, although juries were required to render unanimous verdicts in the jurisdictions studied. Another issue with jury trials is the potential for jurors to be swayed by prejudice, including racial considerations.
Infamous cases include the Scottsboro Boys , a group of nine African-American teenagers accused of raping two White American women on a train in , for which they were indicted by an all-white jury , the acquittal of two white men Roy Bryant and J. Milan by an all-white jury for the murder of year-old Emmett Till in they admitted killing him in a magazine interview a year later , and the trial in the Rodney King case in California , in which white police officers were acquitted of excessive force in the violent beating of a black man by a jury consisting mostly of whites without any black jurors.
The positive belief about jury trials in the UK and the U. Consider Japan , for instance, which used to have optional jury trials for capital or other serious crimes between and The defendant could freely choose whether to have a jury or trial by judges, and the decisions of the jury were non-binding. During the Tojo regime this was suspended, arguably stemming from the popular belief that any defendant who risks his fate on the opinions of untrained laymen is almost certainly guilty. Jury trials in multi-cultural countries with a history of ethnic tensions may be problematic, and lead to juries being unduly biased and partial.
A major issue in jury trials is the secretive nature of the process. While proponents may say that secrecy allows the jury to remain impartial by protecting it from undue pressure or attention, opponents contend that this prevents there from being a transparent trial. The fact that juries do not often have to give a reason for their verdict is also criticized, since opponents argue it is unfair for a person to be deprived of life, liberty or property without being told why it is being done so.
In contrast where there is a decision by a judge or judges, they are required to provide often detailed reasons of both fact and law as to why their decision was made. One issue that has been raised is the ability of a jury to fully understand statistical or scientific evidence. It has been said that the expectation of jury members as to the explanatory power of scientific evidence has been raised by TV police procedural and legal dramas, in what is known as the ' CSI effect ' after the American television programme.
In at least one English trial the misuse or misunderstanding or misrepresentation by the prosecution of statistics has led to wrongful conviction. Argentina is one of the first countries in Latin America that has implemented the Trial by Juries. Although it has a Civil Law process, since November , it now has Jury system for serious crimes cases.
The Australian Constitution provides that: " The trial on indictment of any offence against any law of the Commonwealth shall be by jury, and every such trial shall be held in the State where the offence was committed, and if the offence was not committed within any State the trial shall be held at such place or places as the Parliament prescribes. The voir dire system of examining the jury pool before selection is not permitted in Australia as it violates the privacy of jurors. Therefore, though it exists, the right to challenge for cause during jury selection cannot be employed much.
Peremptory challenges are usually based on the hunches of counsel and no reason is needed to use them. All Australian states allow for peremptory challenges in jury selection; however, the number of challenges granted to the counsels in each state are not all the same. Until New South Wales had twenty peremptory challenges for each side where the offence was murder, and eight for all other cases. In this was lowered to three peremptory challenges per side, the same amount allowed in South Australia. Eight peremptory challenges are allowed for both counsels for all offences in Queensland.
Victoria , Tasmania and the Northern Territory allow for six. Western Australia allows five peremptory challenges per side. Since South Australia has permitted majority verdicts of , and or where the jury has been reduced, in criminal trials if a unanimous verdict cannot be reached in four hours. Victoria has accepted majority verdicts with the same conditions since , though deliberations must go on for six hours before a majority verdict can be made. Western Australia accepted majority verdicts in for all trials except where the crime is murder or has a life sentence. A verdict is accepted.
Majority verdicts of have been allowed in Tasmania since for all cases except murder and treason if a unanimous decision has not been made within two hours. Since verdicts of " not guilty " for murder and treason have also been included, but must be discussed for six hours. The Northern Territory has allowed majority verdicts of , and since and does not discriminate between cases whether the charge is murder or not. Deliberation must go for at least six hours before delivering a majority verdict.
The Queensland Jury Act s 59F allows majority verdicts for all crimes except for murder and other offences that carry a life sentence, although only or majorities are allowed. Majority verdicts were introduced in New South Wales in Austria, in common with a number of European civil law jurisdictions, retains elements of trial by jury in serious criminal cases. Belgium, in common with a number of European civil law jurisdictions, retains the trial by jury through the Court of Assize for serious criminal cases and for political crimes and for press delicts except those based on racism or xenophobia , and for crimes of international law , such as genocide and crime against humanity.
Under Canadian law, a person has the constitutional right to a jury trial for all crimes punishable by five years of imprisonment or more. The Criminal Code also provides for the right to a jury trial for most indictable offences , including those punishable by less than five years' imprisonment, though the right is only constitutionally enshrined for those offences punishable by five years' imprisonment or more.
Generally, it is the accused person who is entitled to elect whether their trial will proceed by judge alone or by judge and jury; however, for the most severe criminal offences— murder , treason , alarming Her Majesty, intimidating Parliament, inciting to mutiny , sedition , and piracy —trial by jury is mandatory unless the prosecution consents to trial by judge alone. Jury panel exhaustion Criminal Code Section 1 : If a full jury and alternate jurors cannot be provided, the court may order the sheriff or other proper officer, at the request of the prosecutor, to summon without delay as many people as the court directs for the purpose of providing a full jury and alternate jurors.
Section 2 : Jurors may be summoned under subsection 1 by word of mouth, if necessary. Section 3 : The names of the people who are summoned under this Section shall be added to the general panel for the purposes of the trial, and the same proceedings with respect to calling, challenging, excusing and directing them shall apply to them.
These powers are conferred specifically upon the judge, and the section does not confer a further discretion to delegate that power to others, such as the sheriff's officer, even with the consent of counsel. The Court said that to hold otherwise would nullify the rights of the accused and the prosecution to object to a person being excused inappropriately, and may also interfere with the rights of the parties to challenge for cause.
The selection of an impartial jury is the basis of a fair trial. The Supreme Court of Canada also held in Basarabas and Spek v The Queen SCR that the right of an accused to be present in court during the whole of his trial includes the jury selection process. In Tran v The Queen 2 SCR , it was held that an accused only has to show that they were excluded from a part of the trial that affected their vital interests, they do not have to demonstrate actual prejudice, just the potential for prejudice.
As well, a valid waiver of such a right must be clear, unequivocal and done with full knowledge of the rights that the procedure was enacted to protect, as well as the effect that the waiver will have on those rights. In France, a defendant is entitled to a jury trial only when prosecuted for a felony crime in French. The only court that tries by jury is the cour d'assises , in which three professional judges sit together with six or nine jurors on appeal.
Conviction requires a two-thirds majority four or six votes. The country that originated the concept of the jury trial retains it in an unusual form. Certain Felonies, such as terrorism , are exempt, due to their nature, from the jurisdiction of the "Mixed Courts" and are tried instead by the Court of Appeals both in first and second instance. Being a Common Law jurisdiction, Gibraltar retains jury trial in a similar manner to that found in England and Wales , the exception being that juries consist of nine lay people, rather than twelve. Hong Kong, as a former British colony has a common law legal system.
Article 86 of Hong Kong's Basic Law, which came into force on 1 July following the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China provides: "The principle of trial by jury previously practised in Hong Kong shall be maintained. Criminal trials in the High Court are by jury. The juries are generally made of seven members, who can return a verdict based on a majority of five. There are no jury trials in the District Court, which can impose a sentence of up to seven years' imprisonment. This is despite the fact that all court rooms in the District Court have jury boxes. The lack of juries in the District Court has been severely criticized.
Clive Grossman SC in a commentary in said conviction rates were "approaching those of North Korea". Many complex commercial cases are prosecuted in the District Court rather than before a jury in the High Court. Justice Wright in the Court of First Instance held that there was no absolute right to a trial by jury and that the "decision as to whether an indictable offence be tried in the Court of First Instance by a judge and jury or in the District Court by a judge alone is the prerogative of the Secretary for Justice. In civil cases in the Court of First Instance jury trials are available for defamation, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution or seduction unless the court orders otherwise.
A jury can return a majority verdict in a civil case. The first case decided by an English jury in India happened in Madras in , for which Ascentia Dawes probably a British woman was charged by a grand jury with the murder of her slave girl, and a petty jury, with six Englishmen and six Portuguese, found her not guilty. After the Crown Government of India Raj adopted the Indian Penal Code and the Indian Code of Criminal Procedure , amended in , , , the criminal jury was obligatory only in the High Courts of the Presidency Towns; elsewhere, it was optional and rarely used.
The jury found no place in the Indian Constitution, and it was ignored in many Indian states. Parsis in India can legally use Jury System to decide divorces wherein randomly selected members called 'delegates' from the community decide the fact of the matrimonial disputes of Parsis. The acquittal of Kawas Nanavati in K. Nanavati v.
State of Maharashtra , was overturned by higher courts on the grounds that the jury was misled by the presiding judge and were susceptible to media and public influence. A study by Elisabeth Kolsky argues that many "perverse verdicts" were delivered by white juries in trial of "European British subjects" charged with murder, assault, confinement of Indians. In the Republic of Ireland , a common law jurisdiction, jury trials are available for criminal cases before the Circuit Court , Central Criminal Court and defamation cases, consisting of twelve jurors.
Juries only decide questions of fact; they have no role in criminal sentencing in criminal cases or awarding damages in libel cases. It is not necessary that a jury be unanimous in its verdict. In civil cases, a verdict may be reached by a majority of nine of the twelve members. In a criminal case, a verdict need not be unanimous where there are not fewer than eleven jurors if ten of them agree on a verdict after considering the case for a reasonable time.
Juries are selected from a jury panel, which is picked at random by the county registrar from the electoral register. The principal statute regulating the selection, obligations and conduct of juries is the Juries Act as amended by the Civil Law Miscellaneous Provisions Act , which scrapped the upper age limit of Juries are not paid, nor do they receive travel expenses.
They do receive lunch for the days that they are serving; however, for jurors in employment, their employer is required to pay them as if they were present at work. For certain terrorist and organised crime offences the Director of Public Prosecutions may issue a certificate that the accused be tried by the Special Criminal Court composed of three judges instead of a jury, one from the District Court , Circuit Court and High Court. The Corte d'Assise is composed of 2 judges and 6 laypersons chosen at random among Italian citizens 30 to 65 years old.
Only serious crimes like murder can be tried by the Corte d'Assise. On May 28, , the Diet of Japan enacted a law requiring selected citizens to take part in criminal court trials of certain severe crimes to make decisions together with professional judges, both on guilt and on the sentence. The saiban-in system was implemented in May The Kuba Kingdom , in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo , developed trial by jury independently prior to the arrival of Europeans in The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act provides a defendant with the right to a jury trial if they are charged with a criminal offence punishable by two years' imprisonment or more.
For most offences, the defendant can choose to forego a jury trial in favour of a judge-alone bench trial. Serious "category 4" offences such as murder, manslaughter and treason are always tried by jury, with some exceptions. New Zealand previously required jury verdicts to be passed unanimously, but since the passing of the Criminal Procedure Bill in the Juries Act  has permitted verdicts to be passed by a majority of one less than the full jury that is an 11—1 or a 10—1 majority under certain circumstances.
Norway has a system where the lower courts tingrett is set with a judge and two lay judges, or in bigger cases two judges and three lay judges. All of these judges convict or acquit, and set sentences. Simple majority is required in all cases, which means that the lay-judges are always in control. The judges have no say in the jury deliberations, but jury instructions are given by the chief judge lagmann in each case to the jury before deliberations.
The voir-dire is usually set with 16 prospective jurors, which the prosecution and defense may dismiss the 6 persons they do not desire to serve on the jury. This way the laymen are in control of both the conviction and sentencing, as simple majority is required in sentencing. The three-judge panel can set aside a jury conviction or acquittal if there has been an obvious miscarriage of justice.
In that event, the case is settled by three judges and four lay-judges. In May , the Norwegian Parliament asked the government to bring an end to jury trials, replacing them with a bench trial meddomsrett consisting of two law-trained judges and three lay judges lekdommere. In the judiciary of Russia , for serious crimes the accused has the option of a jury trial consisting of 12 jurors. Lawmakers are continuously chipping away at what types of criminal offenses merit a jury trial. They are similar to common law juries , and unlike lay judges , in that they sit separately from the judges and decide questions of fact alone while the judge determines questions of law.
Trial by jury was first introduced in the Russian Empire as a result of the Judicial reform of Alexander II in , and abolished after the October Revolution in Singapore fully abolished the jury system in ,  though jury trials for non-capital offenses had already been abolished a decade earlier. Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew , a former trial lawyer, explained why he supported the policy to the BBC and in his memoirs, saying, "I had no faith in a system that allowed the superstition, ignorance, biases, and prejudices of seven jurymen to determine guilt or innocence.
The last jury trial to be heard was in the District of Kimberley. Some judicial experts had argued that a system of whites-only juries as was the system at that time was inherently prejudicial to 'non-white' defendants the introduction of nonracial juries would have been a political impossibility at that time. More recently it has been argued that, apart from being a racially divided country, South African society was, and still is, characterized by significant class differences and disparities of income and wealth that could make re-introducing the jury system problematic.
Arguments for and against the re-introduction of a jury system have been discussed by South African constitutional expert Professor Pierre de Vos in the article "Do we need a jury system? If a person is accused of e. This applies also in civil tort cases under the fundamental laws. A majority of at least six jurors must find that the defendant has committed the alleged crime. If it does not, the defendant is acquitted or, in a civil case, held not liable.
A jury acquittal may not be overruled after appeal. In Swedish civil process, the " English rule " applies to court costs. Earlier, a court disagreeing with a jury acquittal could, when deciding on the matter of such costs, set aside the English rule, and instead use the American rule , that each party bears its own expense of litigation.
This practice was declared to violate the rule of presumption of innocence according to article 6. As of , only the code of criminal procedure of the Canton of Geneva provides for genuine jury trials. Because the unified Swiss Code of Criminal Procedure set to enter into force in does not provide for jury trials or lay judges, however, they are likely to be abolished in the near future.
The United Kingdom consists of three separate legal jurisdictions , but there are some features common to all of them. In particular there is seldom anything like the U. Controversially, in England there has been some screening in sensitive security cases, but the Scottish courts have firmly set themselves against any form of jury vetting. In England and Wales which have the same legal system , everyone accused of an offence which carries more than six months' imprisonment has a right to trial by jury. Minor "Summary only" criminal cases are heard without a jury in the Magistrates' Courts.
Middle-ranking "triable either way" offences may be tried by magistrates or the defendant may elect trial by jury in the Crown Court. Serious "indictable" offences, however, must be tried before a jury in the Crown Court. Juries sit in few civil cases, being restricted to false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, and civil fraud unless ordered otherwise by a judge. Juries also sit in coroner 's courts for more contentious inquests. All criminal juries consist of 12 jurors, those in a County Court having 8 jurors and Coroner's Court juries having between 7 and 11 members.
Jurors must be between 18—75 years of age, and are selected at random from the register of voters. In the past a unanimous verdict was required. This has been changed  so that, if the jury fails to agree after a given period, at the discretion of the judge they may reach a verdict by a majority. This was designed to make it more difficult for jury tampering to succeed.
In the then Home Secretary Jack Straw introduced a controversial bill to limit the right to trial by jury. Preparation of Jury Rolls. Actions Tried by Jury. Drawing Jury at Trial. Every legally qualified medical practitioner and veterinary surgeon who is actively engaged in practice and every coroner. A part listing the persons who appear, by the returned jury questionnaires, to speak, read and understand English. A part listing the persons who appear, by the returned jury questionnaires, to speak, read and understand French.
A part listing the persons who appear, by the returned jury questionnaires, to speak, read and understand both English and French. See: , c. Local sheriff for the jury area must ascertain that there are no prisoners in custody. Note: On a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor, clause 37 b. Home page Laws Juries Act, R. Juries Act, R. Print Download. Definitions Eligibility 2. Eligible jurors 3. Ineligibility to serve as juror 4. Ineligibility for personal reasons 4. Duty of local sheriff to determine number of jurors on roll 6. Jury questionnaires 7.
Jury Sheriff to prepare jury roll 8. Entry of names in jury roll 9.
Certification of roll Extension of times Additions to roll by Jury Sheriff Issuance of precepts Two or more sets of jurors Additional jurors