Is the right to a “jury of one’s peers” still meaningful to most people? When citizens cannot afford the cost of a trial or the court cannot find enough people able and willing to serve on a jury, I question whether the right to a jury of one’s peers has lost its significance. A right that is only theoretical becomes empty.
In California, it takes five years for a case to come to trial, assuming the litigants can afford the cost of a trial. If judges are so swamped, they cannot give timely and proper review of matters like restraining orders, we need to reform the administration of justice. A right that is only theoretical becomes empty.
While corporations and people of means can afford to hire private judges, the rest of the population is effectively denied justice. France and Italy have professional jurors, who take the place of judges.
What I am suggesting retains the advocacy system and our judges. The professional jurors would take the role that juries have traditionally played. I believe a minimum number – perhaps five or seven – to assure a diversity of opinion. It’s also conceivable that litigants might choose between a jury of professional jurors or a citizen panel. What’s clear is our justice system needs reform.
Comments on the substance of the blogs are welcome. If you have other questions, please contact me directly. Paul offers consulting through Google Helpouts and as a SBDC consultant.