Agenda item 7: Juries

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Patroklus Murakami
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Post by Patroklus Murakami »

[quote="Beathan":3v3kc4hy]The way you are describing juries, there will be an inherent cultural bias on juries. If we only sit juries based on comparable timezone, then we will have juries of Americans (to the exclusion of others; of Europeans (to the exclusion of others); of Japanese and Koreans (to the exclusion of others). This strikes me as a problem. The way to avoid this problem is to disregard timezone. This strikes me as a problem.[/quote:3v3kc4hy]No more so than in any RL jurisdiction where the jury is exclusively American, European etc etc. Unless you think that jury trials in all RL jurisdictions have an 'inherent cultural bias'.

[quote:3v3kc4hy]However, I don't think that we should necessarily rule out juries, even though I think that they will prove unworkable. We should test them in SL, just like we should test all possible procedures in SL, before we accept or reject them.[/quote:3v3kc4hy]I'm glad we agree they should be given a chance. I think they will prove to be workable and valuable. But the proof will come, as with everything, with what happens in practice.
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Post by Ashcroft Burnham »

For all Beathan's and others' talk of experimentation, this assumption that there will be a real division between "civil" and "criminal" is lacking in lateral thinking. The structure of this system, as I had made expressly clear right from my original post in August, was to be a single court and a single procedure for what in other places are called "ciminal" and "civil" matters, and to deal with issues of punishment by requiring that penal orders cannot be made without a finding of culpability.
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Post by Aliasi Stonebender »

[quote="Patroklus Murakami":2sq19ts7][quote="Beathan":2sq19ts7]The way you are describing juries, there will be an inherent cultural bias on juries. If we only sit juries based on comparable timezone, then we will have juries of Americans (to the exclusion of others; of Europeans (to the exclusion of others); of Japanese and Koreans (to the exclusion of others). This strikes me as a problem. The way to avoid this problem is to disregard timezone. This strikes me as a problem.[/quote:2sq19ts7]No more so than in any RL jurisdiction where the jury is exclusively American, European etc etc. Unless you think that jury trials in all RL jurisdictions have an 'inherent cultural bias'.
[/quote:2sq19ts7]

Actually, Pat, they do. Witness how a lawyer in RL might try to rig a jury for the most sympathetic (to his goals) group possible; A lower-class black man being tried by a jury of "peers" who are all upper-middle-class whites is far from an unknown occurance in the US.

I could see a few ways juries here could be rigged in such a similar manner; if the matter was large enough (perhaps small by RL claims court standards, but major in SL) it is not inconcievable a few citizens might be paid to develop a sudden case of Tibetan Death Flu.

Yes, this would be blatantly illegal for someone to do. Illegality never stopped anyone.
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Ashcroft Burnham
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Post by Ashcroft Burnham »

[quote="Aliasi Stonebender":216h7i7t]Actually, Pat, they do. Witness how a lawyer in RL might try to rig a jury for the most sympathetic (to his goals) group possible; A lower-class black man being tried by a jury of "peers" who are all upper-middle-class whites is far from an unknown occurance in the US.[/quote:216h7i7t]

That is largely a function of the flawed US practice of jury vetting. In England, jurors may not be questionsed, and are only discharged for very strong reasons.

[quote:216h7i7t]I could see a few ways juries here could be rigged in such a similar manner; if the matter was large enough (perhaps small by RL claims court standards, but major in SL) it is not inconcievable a few citizens might be paid to develop a sudden case of Tibetan Death Flu.

Yes, this would be blatantly illegal for someone to do. Illegality never stopped anyone.[/quote:216h7i7t]

That seems to me rather far-fetched: certainly no less far-fetched than bribing a judge.
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Patroklus Murakami
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Post by Patroklus Murakami »

[quote="Aliasi Stonebender":1fv3kwz9]Actually, Pat, they do. Witness how a lawyer in RL might try to rig a jury for the most sympathetic (to his goals) group possible; A lower-class black man being tried by a jury of "peers" who are all upper-middle-class whites is far from an unknown occurance in the US.

I could see a few ways juries here could be rigged in such a similar manner; if the matter was large enough (perhaps small by RL claims court standards, but major in SL) it is not inconcievable a few citizens might be paid to develop a sudden case of Tibetan Death Flu.

Yes, this would be blatantly illegal for someone to do. Illegality never stopped anyone.[/quote:1fv3kwz9]Yes, we know that juries are imperfect. But, if I was charged with a serious offence, and I had the option of trial by jury I know that I would want to be judged by my peers in preference to a judge, deciding my fate alone. But to dismiss the very idea of jury trials in SL, 'because we all live in different time zones' or 'someone might try to nobble the jury' just seems to write the idea off without giving it a fair chance.
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Post by Fernando Book »

I understand that trial by jury is deeply rooted in the Anglo-American tradition, but, putting aside the practical problems (and I think they are great), it's enough for me to imagine what a real person is doing when his avatar is attending a trial as a jury (specially if he is compelled to attend) to beg for a trial by a judge.
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Post by Aliasi Stonebender »

[quote="Patroklus Murakami":1mjinb96]Yes, we know that juries are imperfect. But, if I was charged with a serious offence, and I had the option of trial by jury I know that I would want to be judged by my peers in preference to a judge, deciding my fate alone. But to dismiss the very idea of jury trials in SL, 'because we all live in different time zones' or 'someone might try to nobble the jury' just seems to write the idea off without giving it a fair chance.[/quote:1mjinb96]

On the contrary. The first is a very real problem of getting any true "jury of peers". The second is a flaw that, while a bit hyperboled up on my part (humor, it's what I do) is a pragmatic one when looking at the nature of SL, rather than blindly aping meatspace. A judge has (in theory) gone through a further test of committment and screening. A judge that takes bribes is unlikely to remain a judge once found out. A business owner in the CDS may not wish to lose their investment here, but the common citizenry for whom many of which SL is "just a game" may well not find banishment to be a great deterrent. If this means they get away with a minor crime and then are banished, that's the cost of living in this Second Life. If it means they have the potential to carry out a serious miscarriage of justice... that bothers me more.
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Post by Ashcroft Burnham »

Juries were always going to be difficult. It is somewhat amusing to see that the Judiciary Act has created such a heated debate on juries, when the Act actually means that there should be [i:1b893e92]fewer[/i:1b893e92] jury trials than under the old constitution, in which jury trial was compulsory.

A possible alternative idea would be to have what some have described as opt-in juries. In England, minor criminal cases (those punishable by up to six months imprisonment) are dealt with by magistrates' courts. Unless there is a District Judge sitting, magistrates' courts are presided over by three lay magistrates. In many respects, this is a very poor arrangement (it is not changed because it is cheap given the huge number of minor criminal offences out there, and people tend to notice the procedure more critically in the more serious cases), since it involves laypeople making legal decisons (which they often get very badly wrong, even though they are assisted by a legally trained advisor).

However, something useful can be taken from the system. Magistrates are volunteer members of the community who sit without being paid because they choose to do so. They sit part-time and rotate. We could conceivably do a similar thing with our juries: have people volunteer to be jurors and sit in rotation. That would not be as good as far as justice is concerned, because it would be less random, and people would become case-hardened more quickly, but it would at least be better than judge-only trials, and could conceivably be more practical than an ordinary jury. I am not sure that it would work, but comments would be appreciated.
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Pelanor Eldrich
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We should have the possibilty of jury trial.

Post by Pelanor Eldrich »

Perhaps opt-in by potential jurors? Perhaps a jury made up of members of the PJSP? In all likelihood, these would be for serious ban or large forfeiture type cases in which parties opted against ADR (arbitration).
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