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Old 10th December 2020, 11:11 AM   #1
Chanakya

 
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Questions about juries in trials specific E&W

I've never actually been a part of, or directly seen, how the jury thing works, except in fiction. My understanding is these guys don't spell out their reasons. This case probably illustrates why that's a terrible idea!

You don't expect a random set of folks off the street to present detailed nuanced explanations for their judgments, which is what you expect (and often do get) from judges, but surely knowing why the jury decided what they decided -- and in fact what exactly they meant by it -- adds some entirely necessary context to the decision.

Last edited by Darat; 16th December 2020 at 02:30 AM.
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Old 10th December 2020, 11:18 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
I've never actually been a part of, or directly seen, how the jury thing works, except in fiction. My understanding is these guys don't spell out their reasons. This case probably illustrates why that's a terrible idea!

You don't expect a random set of folks off the street to present detailed nuanced explanations for their judgments, which is what you expect (and often do get) from judges, but surely knowing why the jury decided what they decided -- and in fact what exactly they meant by it -- adds some entirely necessary context to the decision.
UK jury discussions are kept secret, jurors are not allowed to speak about anything that happened or was discussed in the jury room.
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Old 10th December 2020, 11:40 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
UK jury discussions are kept secret, jurors are not allowed to speak about anything that happened or was discussed in the jury room.

But why? OK, I can understand that what some specific individuals said might need to be kept secret to protect them as individuals, that's fine. But a brief explanation of what it is they mean, presented officially, as necessary part of their decision itself, that much seems entirely necissary; and not saying that much seems downright bizarre!

Take this judgment. What were they actually saying, what exactly did they mean to say? We don't even know that. Did they decide that the woman didn't do what we're all thinking she did? Did they decide she thought that the boy wasn't underage? Did they decide that although neither of the above two, but punishing her would serve no purpose? Or what? We're speculating away in this thread, but we don't know. Not knowing even that much seems bizarre. I can see no reason why a basic explanation of jury decisions shouldn't be given out, and every reason why it should.
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Old 15th December 2020, 06:21 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
I've never actually been a part of, or directly seen, how the jury thing works, except in fiction. My understanding is these guys don't spell out their reasons. This case probably illustrates why that's a terrible idea!

You don't expect a random set of folks off the street to present detailed nuanced explanations for their judgments, which is what you expect (and often do get) from judges, but surely knowing why the jury decided what they decided -- and in fact what exactly they meant by it -- adds some entirely necessary context to the decision.

Originally Posted by Darat View Post
UK jury discussions are kept secret, jurors are not allowed to speak about anything that happened or was discussed in the jury room.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
But why? OK, I can understand that what some specific individuals said might need to be kept secret to protect them as individuals, that's fine. But a brief explanation of what it is they mean, presented officially, as necessary part of their decision itself, that much seems entirely necissary; and not saying that much seems downright bizarre!

Take this judgment. What were they actually saying, what exactly did they mean to say? We don't even know that. Did they decide that the woman didn't do what we're all thinking she did? Did they decide she thought that the boy wasn't underage? Did they decide that although neither of the above two, but punishing her would serve no purpose? Or what? We're speculating away in this thread, but we don't know. Not knowing even that much seems bizarre. I can see no reason why a basic explanation of jury decisions shouldn't be given out, and every reason why it should.


Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Apparently, there were seven males and the rest female (five?). It is very clear why they decided the way they did. The defence QC made a lot of 'wink wink nudge nudge' type innuendo in his closing submissions. About how the young adult liked 'to present himself as older' and the fact the defendant's defence was he told her he was sixteen.

IMV the jury decided this constituted doubt and therefore they must acquit. This is why I think juries should have pre-trial training in the difference between BARD and 100% no doubt at all. Juries think any doubt and you must acquit. They do not comprehend 'reasonable doubt'.


Like I'd said earlier, while the age of consent thing is one aspect of this issue, one thing that stands out, for me, is the bizarreness of jury decisions that not only don't deign to offer reasons for their decisions, but also don't clearly spell out what it is they've decided.

I'm not really familiar, in any depth at all, with how juries operate, in different parts of the world -- for that matter, in any part of the world! But why on earth would juries not be required, by law, to clearly spell out what they've decided (for instance, have they decided that this woman did not, for all intents and purposes, force herself on the boy; or that she actually did believe that the boy was of age; or, like some have been saying here, that her doing this did not really harm the boy, and that punishing her would serve no purpose -- that is, just WTF did they decide, exactly, those jurors there?), as well as on what basis they've decided that. This kind of thing is so entirely ...counter-intuitive, so unnecessarily confusing, so unnecessarily ...random and arbitrary!

Tried some quick google search on this. The question wasn't really answered (I hardly expected it to, so readily and easily), but apparently in Europe, juries were (are?) indeed required to clearly give a point-by-point answer to questions about the case, rather than just a simple guilty/not-guilty decision; even if actual reasons aren't needed to be spelt out.

Here's an interesting article about just this.

Brief excerpt:

The Grand Chamber of the ECtHR issued its opinion in Taxquet on November 16, 2010, holding, in general, that "the Convention does not require jurors to give reasons for their decision and that Article 6 does not preclude a defendant from being tried by a lay jury even where reasons are not given for the verdict."

... However, the Grand Chamber qualified this assertion with the following language:
Nevertheless, for the requirements of a fair trial to be satisfied, the accused, and indeed the public, must be able to understand the verdict that has been given; this is a vital safeguard against arbitrariness ... .[T]he rule of law and the avoidance of arbitrary power are principles underlying the convention [citation omitted].In the judicial sphere, those principles serve to foster public confidence in an objective and transparent justice system, one of the foundations of a democratic society ...

"Arbitrary" is exactly what the decision in this case seems to have been, this decision about that woman and the young boy. Not to mention inscrutable. It seems we can do no more than wildly guess at their reasons, and indeed their exact decision, what they exactly meant to have conveyed. Which is ...bizarre, not quite ...rational.

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Old 15th December 2020, 06:51 AM   #5
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You may want to also familiarize yourself with the notion of jury nullification, as it's called in the USA, or various similar names in other countries. Essentially the jury can deliver any verdict whatsoever, as their conscience dictates, no matter what the facts of the case were.

Which really is a core concept in the whole idea that you can only be convicted by a jury of your peers. If there were any such thing as someone else than the jury deciding what is the "right" or "wrong" verdict -- no matter if we're talking the judge, the general public, or whatever -- and any pressure on the jury to reach that one, then really you're more like tried by whoever decides that than by the jury.

So basically you can only tell the jury that they're supposed to judge the evidence presented in court, but you can't tell them what conclusion follows from it. They can reach any conclusion they wish. Even one that is contrary to the facts.

Which in practice means that essentially they can even overrule the law.

At least in theory, it's not even a bad thing anyway. I mean, a jury could decide not to convict an activist like Rosa Parks, because they just think the law is unjust and shouldn't be applied.

Or equally they can decide that in this case the defendant just did the teenage boy a favour, and he should just count his lucky stars instead of making a fuss about it. You get the idea by now that not only some think that way, but some would only use it at most to argue that a 14 year old girl should be fair game too. It's not hard to imagine the possibility that you could get enough who think that way in a jury, and the rest is history.


At least in the USA there is some counter balance in that it starts with a larger pool of candidates for jury duty, which get interviewed, and both sides (typically the lawyer and the DA, unless the guy wants to represent himself) can ask that a certain candidate be removed from the pool. So if a guy comes across as some rabid men's rights type, you could ask to exclude him from a rape case.

IIRC, up to a certain number, you can even remove even without saying why. Like, if you're the defense lawyer in a rape case, you can simply remove some women; be aware though that the DA will likely do the same with men.

And if it looks like you can't possibly get an impartial jury -- e.g., because you're trying a black guy in a small and rabidly racist town -- you can even ask to have the case tried somewhere else. It may or may not be actually granted, but if you think you could make that case in any other court, you may want to get your objection on record (along with anything else you can object to), just for use when you file an appeal.

So in most cases it's at least not that probable a problem that you get a jury prejudiced against one side from the start. Well, not unless the defense lawyer or DA REALLY suck at their job.


NB: I'm not saying that this is necessarily what happened here. If indeed the law says that you're innocent if you genuinely misunderstood how old that guy or gal is(*), and they thought that there is indeed reasonable doubt that this is what happened, this could be their very sincere verdict.

(*) Cue the Family Guy gag:
Quagmire: Hey there sweetie, how old are you?
Connie: 16.
Quagmire: 18? All right!
Connie: Mom!
Quagmire: I like where this is goin'. Giggety, giggety, gig-get-ty
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Old 15th December 2020, 06:59 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
You may want to also familiarize yourself with the notion of jury nullification, as it's called in the USA, or various similar names in other countries. Essentially the jury can deliver any verdict whatsoever, as their conscience dictates, no matter what the facts of the case were.

Interesting.


Quote:
Which really is a core concept in the whole idea that you can only be convicted by a jury of your peers. If there were any such thing as someone else than the jury deciding what is the "right" or "wrong" verdict -- no matter if we're talking the judge, the general public, or whatever -- and any pressure on the jury to reach that one, then really you're more like tried by whoever decides that than by the jury.

So basically you can only tell the jury that they're supposed to judge the evidence presented in court, but you can't tell them what conclusion follows from it. They can reach any conclusion they wish. Even one that is contrary to the facts.

Which in practice means that essentially they can even overrule the law.

At least in theory, it's not even a bad thing anyway. I mean, a jury could decide not to convict an activist like Rosa Parks, because they just think the law is unjust and shouldn't be applied.

Or equally they can decide that in this case the defendant just did the teenage boy a favour, and he should just count his lucky stars instead of making a fuss about it. You get the idea by now that not only some think that way, but some would only use it at most to argue that a 14 year old girl should be fair game too. It's not hard to imagine the possibility that you could get enough who think that way in a jury, and the rest is history.


At least in the USA there is some counter balance in that it starts with a larger pool of candidates for jury duty, which get interviewed, and both sides (typically the lawyer and the DA, unless the guy wants to represent himself) can ask that a certain candidate be removed from the pool. So if a guy comes across as some rabid men's rights type, you could ask to exclude him from a rape case.

IIRC, up to a certain number, you can even remove even without saying why. Like, if you're the defense lawyer in a rape case, you can simply remove some women; be aware though that the DA will likely do the same with men.

And if it looks like you can't possibly get an impartial jury -- e.g., because you're trying a black guy in a small and rabidly racist town -- you can even ask to have the case tried somewhere else. It may or may not be actually granted, but if you think you could make that case in any other court, you may want to get your objection on record (along with anything else you can object to), just for use when you file an appeal.

So in most cases it's at least not that probable a problem that you get a jury prejudiced against one side from the start. Well, not unless the defense lawyer or DA REALLY suck at their job.


NB: I'm not saying that this is necessarily what happened here. If indeed the law says that you're innocent if you genuinely misunderstood how old that guy or gal is(*), and they thought that there is indeed reasonable doubt that this is what happened, this could be their very sincere verdict.

(*) Cue the Family Guy gag:
Quagmire: Hey there sweetie, how old are you?
Connie: 16.
Quagmire: 18? All right!
Connie: Mom!
Quagmire: I like where this is goin'. Giggety, giggety, gig-get-ty


My (general) point was, shouldn't the jury be required to clearly spell out just what the **** they've decided? So that, in discussing the judgment -- as opposed to discussing the general issue of AoC, for instance -- one knows what it is one is agreeing with, or disagreeing with, or discussing?

(Actual question, not rhetorical. I don't really much about this, beyond that brief googling a while back.)

It's ...palapably nonsensical, to let the jury pronounce the judgment, without also clearly spelling out WHAT exactly they're saying they've decided, right?

(Ideally that, as well as their reasons; but if not their reasons, then at least that?)



eta:
For instance, in this case, they may have decided that:
  1. The woman actually did not do what we all think she'd done. (Fine, we may agree or not agree, but at least we know that's what they decided.)
  2. Or they could have decided that she sincerely believed, and justifiably believed, that the boy was of age. (Again, fine, agree or not, at least we know, and the boy and his family know, just what that decision was about.)
  3. Or they may have decided that the AoC law, as it applies here, isn't a just law. Like you'd pointed out just now (pointed out generally, not applied it to this specific case).
  4. Or they may have simply decided that in this case punishing the woman would serve no purpose.


Or any other permutation or combination of the above.

I mean, we don't even know just WHAT they've gone and decided here, do we, beyond the fact they found the woman "not guilty"?

And that makes no kind of sense at all.

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Old 15th December 2020, 07:05 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
My (general) point was, shouldn't the jury be required to clearly spell out just what the **** they've decided? So that, in discussing the judgment -- as opposed to discussing the general issue of AoC, for instance -- one knows what it is one is agreeing with, or disagreeing with, or discussing?

(Actual question, not rhetorical. I don't really much about this, beyond that brief googling a while back.)

It's ...palapably nonsensical, to let the jury pronounce the judgment, without also clearly spelling out WHAT exactly they're saying they've decided, right?

(Ideally that, as well as their reasons; but if not their reasons, then at least that?)
Christ, no. The point of the jury is to decide guilty or innocent of the crime charged, using only the cases the prosecution and the defense presented. Full stop. They do not get to go beyond the bounds of that. They do not get to philosophize, analyze, or dig deep into questions like What Is Crime and This Our Society and **** like that. Guilty or not guilty. That's it. The points for the conclusion reached are made by the prosecution and the defense, the juror's job is to agree or disagree with the cases presented. They are not there to construct their own, better case. They aren't an internet message board where everyone imagines he is Solomon or Perry Mason. If we wanted that sort of thing we wouldn't have juries made of randomly selected citizens, we'd just have the judge decide.
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Old 15th December 2020, 07:12 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
My (general) point was, shouldn't the jury be required to clearly spell out just what the **** they've decided? So that, in discussing the judgment -- as opposed to discussing the general issue of AoC, for instance -- one knows what it is one is agreeing with, or disagreeing with, or discussing?

(Actual question, not rhetorical. I don't really much about this, beyond that brief googling a while back.)

It's ...palapably nonsensical, to let the jury pronounce the judgment, without also clearly spelling out WHAT exactly they're saying they've decided, right?

(Ideally that, as well as their reasons; but if not their reasons, then at least that?)
No, because that would mean peer pressure to reach a certain verdict.

Like do you want to be the guy that is shunned by the neighbours because they disagree with your logic there? You can see in this very thread that some of us can get pretty passionate about what conclusion should follow from what premises, or in some cases, from straight making up some bogus premises, or even from no premises whatsoever.

By saying they don't have to explain it to anyone, you remove that pressure.


TL;DR version: it's called being tried by a jury of one's peers, not tried by public opinion and some guys knowing they'll be crucified if their reasoning doesn't follow the herd.
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Old 15th December 2020, 07:18 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Christ, no. The point of the jury is to decide guilty or innocent of the crime charged, using only the cases the prosecution and the defense presented. Full stop. They do not get to go beyond the bounds of that. They do not get to philosophize, analyze, or dig deep into questions like What Is Crime and This Our Society and **** like that. Guilty or not guilty. That's it. The points for the conclusion reached are made by the prosecution and the defense, the juror's job is to agree or disagree with the cases presented. They are not there to construct their own, better case. They aren't an internet message board where everyone imagines he is Solomon or Perry Mason. If we wanted that sort of thing we wouldn't have juries made of randomly selected citizens, we'd just have the judge decide.

Again, I do understand that's how it is. But I'm afraid it makes no sense to me.

Sure, I can understand a jury of your peers pronouncing on something, rather than a judge. But hell, don't we at least need to know just what the hell they've decided?

For instance, take what you've said here: "The point of the jury is to decide guilty or innocent of the crime charged."

To take just an example, it may well not be that at all. It might be that they've just decided that although the woman is guilty, the law itself is unfair (see Hans's post above). Or that although the woman is guilty, and although they don't want to comment on the law generally, they still believe the woman shouldn't be punished.

So what I was saying is, shouldn't they be needed to clearly spell out what it is they're saying here? And ideally 'why' as well, but at least the 'what'?

I can see no reason, no purpose, to not doing this. Unless that purpose is obfuscation and wilful confusion -- which again makes no sense.

(I'm not commenting on the desirability or otherwise of jury trials. I'm merely saying that clarity about their pronouncements would appear to be the bare minimum that one ought to expect from them. One doesn't have to agree with them, but shouldn't one at least know what exactly they're saying?)
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Old 15th December 2020, 07:21 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Again, I do understand that's how it is. But I'm afraid it makes no sense to me.

Sure, I can understand a jury of your peers pronouncing on something, rather than a judge. But hell, don't we at least need to know just what the hell they've decided?
Well, you know WHAT they decided, the moment they announce "guilty" or "not guilty." What you ask to know is HOW they decided that, which is a different thing entirely.
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Old 15th December 2020, 07:25 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
No, because that would mean peer pressure to reach a certain verdict.

Like do you want to be the guy that is shunned by the neighbours because they disagree with your logic there? You can see in this very thread that some of us can get pretty passionate about what conclusion should follow from what premises, or in some cases, from straight making up some bogus premises, or even from no premises whatsoever.

By saying they don't have to explain it to anyone, you remove that pressure.


TL;DR version: it's called being tried by a jury of one's peers, not tried by public opinion and some guys knowing they'll be crucified if their reasoning doesn't follow the herd.

That sort of kind of makes sense.

Except two things:

First, if their reasoning not following the herd's is something we need to protect them from, then wouldn't we also need to protect them from a judgment that doesn't follow the herd, right? Same thing, it seems to me. (If they're able to go against the herd in declaring someone guilty or otherwise, then they ought to be able to go against that herd in some subset of that decision as well, in some intermediate step of reasoning as well, no?)

And two, we seem to be throwing basic clarity to the winds here, and bringing in total arbitrariness and, more, obfuscation as well, to achieve that end. (I'm not disagreeing with jury trials per se, or calling jury decisions per se arbitrary, mind; I'm disagreeing with not even clearly knowing/understanding just what it is, exactly, that those guys have gone and decided.)


---

Anyway, I'm no kind of expert on points of law, so I'll stop flogging this. But if there's some reasonable explanation for this, then that'd be nice to know.
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Old 15th December 2020, 07:28 AM   #12
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Yes, well, to answer that I'll use your own list from before:

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
For instance, in this case, they may have decided that:
  1. The woman actually did not do what we all think she'd done. (Fine, we may agree or not agree, but at least we know that's what they decided.)
  2. Or they could have decided that she sincerely believed, and justifiably believed, that the boy was of age. (Again, fine, agree or not, at least we know, and the boy and his family know, just what that decision was about.)
  3. Or they may have decided that the AoC law, as it applies here, isn't a just law. Like you'd pointed out just now (pointed out generally, not applied it to this specific case).
  4. Or they may have simply decided that in this case punishing the woman would serve no purpose.
Yes, well, technically they're only supposed to judge 2. Number 1 would have merit in other cases, but here it means they did NOT apply the evidence presented in court. (Since both the woman and the boy said that it did happen, and there was no argument or evidence that would say it didn't.) And 3 and 4 it's supposed to simply be not their business.

So essentially they can only say 2 anyway, without effectively announcing to the whole world that they did a mis-trial.

Do you expect people to want to go on record as saying, "yeah, we caused a mistrial because we thought the boy was one lucky dog to already get sex at 14"? Can you see how they'd get crucified by half the population at the very least?
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Old 15th December 2020, 07:28 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Again, I do understand that's how it is. But I'm afraid it makes no sense to me.

Sure, I can understand a jury of your peers pronouncing on something, rather than a judge. But hell, don't we at least need to know just what the hell they've decided?
We do know. They decided in the question of "Is Person X guilty of Crime Y?" the answer "Guilty" or "Not Guilty". It's neither secret nor complicated. They even announce it in open court!

Quote:
For instance, take what you've said here: "The point of the jury is to decide guilty or innocent of the crime charged."

To take just an example, it may well not be that at all. It might be that they've just decided that although the woman is guilty, the law itself is unfair (see Hans's post above). Or that although the woman is guilty, and although they don't want to comment on the law generally, they still believe the woman shouldn't be punished.
The jury is instructed to only answer the question of guilty or not guilty, of only the charges the prosecution argued, using only the information presented by both sides in court. That's their task.

If you are saying sometimes people don't do their tasks as they should, and request mind-reading telepathy be performed to ensure they have done so, then you are welcome to relocate to Imaginationland where truth potions and mindreading computers exist in abundance.

Quote:
So what I was saying is, shouldn't they be needed to clearly spell out what it is they're saying here? And ideally 'why' as well, but at least the 'what'?

I can see no reason, no purpose, to not doing this. Unless that purpose is obfuscation and wilful confusion -- which again makes no sense.

(I'm not commenting on the desirability or otherwise of jury trials. I'm merely saying that clarity about their pronouncements would appear to be the bare minimum that one ought to expect from them. One doesn't have to agree with them, but shouldn't one at least know what exactly they're saying?)
No, they shouldn't. That's not their function. You are wanting to elevate juries to judges. And prosecution as well, in part, that you want them to figure out the charges.
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Old 15th December 2020, 07:33 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, you know WHAT they decided, the moment they announce "guilty" or "not guilty." What you ask to know is HOW they decided that, which is a different thing entirely.

No, those are two separate things.

Sure, it would be great to know the 'why' as well. But at least let us know what the 'what' is, exactly, is what I'm saying.

For instance, like I said earlier, in this case, sure, they've said "Not guilty". But they may have actually said any of the following, the "what" may actually have been any of the following:

1. They decided the woman didn't do the deed at all, not beyond all doubt. False confession, basically.

2. They decided the woman believed, with justification, that the boy was of age.

3. They decided the woman did it, and did it knowing he was underage, but, like you said (said generally, I mean), they believe the law is unfair/inappropriate (perhaps because they have other ideas about AoC, or whatever).

4. They decided she was guilty, they think the law's generally sound, but they still decided that no purpose will be served by punishing the woman.


Just off the top of my head, the "what" could have been any of those four above.

Shouldn't we, and the boy and his family, have the right to know just WHAT that "what" amounts to, exactly? -- is what I was wondering.
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Old 15th December 2020, 07:35 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Interesting.






My (general) point was, shouldn't the jury be required to clearly spell out just what the **** they've decided? So that, in discussing the judgment -- as opposed to discussing the general issue of AoC, for instance -- one knows what it is one is agreeing with, or disagreeing with, or discussing?

(Actual question, not rhetorical. I don't really much about this, beyond that brief googling a while back.)

It's ...palapably nonsensical, to let the jury pronounce the judgment, without also clearly spelling out WHAT exactly they're saying they've decided, right?

(Ideally that, as well as their reasons; but if not their reasons, then at least that?)



eta:
For instance, in this case, they may have decided that:
  1. The woman actually did not do what we all think she'd done. (Fine, we may agree or not agree, but at least we know that's what they decided.)
  2. Or they could have decided that she sincerely believed, and justifiably believed, that the boy was of age. (Again, fine, agree or not, at least we know, and the boy and his family know, just what that decision was about.)
  3. Or they may have decided that the AoC law, as it applies here, isn't a just law. Like you'd pointed out just now (pointed out generally, not applied it to this specific case).
  4. Or they may have simply decided that in this case punishing the woman would serve no purpose.


Or any other permutation or combination of the above.

I mean, we don't even know just WHAT they've gone and decided here, do we, beyond the fact they found the woman "not guilty"?

And that makes no kind of sense at all.
Unfortunately in England and Wales we ended up with the “not guilty” verdict rather than “not proven” which is more accurately what a trial is meant to determine.

A jury in the UK (on this point it covers the Scottish courts as well) is advised on matters of law and they can request further advice on matters of law as they deliberate but are instructed to only decide if the prosecution made their case of the accused being guilty of breaching the law “beyond reasonable doubt”.

There is no utility as to us knowing the actual discussions that went on since we know (in principle) what evidence they heard and we know what case was made by both the prosecution and the defence. No discussion they have can alter what was shown and argued in court.

I think there is a valid argument to be made that if a jury comes back with a perverse verdict some explanation would be useful and meaningful.
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Old 15th December 2020, 07:35 AM   #16
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See my answer in message #771 to exactly that list.
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Old 15th December 2020, 07:39 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
No, those are two separate things.

Sure, it would be great to know the 'why' as well. But at least let us know what the 'what' is, exactly, is what I'm saying.

For instance, like I said earlier, in this case, sure, they've said "Not guilty". But they may have actually said any of the following, the "what" may actually have been any of the following:

1. They decided the woman didn't do the deed at all, not beyond all doubt. False confession, basically.

2. They decided the woman believed, with justification, that the boy was of age.

3. They decided the woman did it, and did it knowing he was underage, but, like you said (said generally, I mean), they believe the law is unfair/inappropriate (perhaps because they have other ideas about AoC, or whatever).

4. They decided she was guilty, they think the law's generally sound, but they still decided that no purpose will be served by punishing the woman.


Just off the top of my head, the "what" could have been any of those four above.

Shouldn't we, and the boy and his family, have the right to know just WHAT that "what" amounts to, exactly? -- is what I was wondering.
But they (and we) do know, that is what the entire trial is about. (Ignoring a perverse verdict - which are rare.) The jury is saying the prosecution hasn’t made their case for a breach of the law beyond a reasonable doubt.
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Old 15th December 2020, 07:43 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Yes, well, to answer that I'll use your own list from before:



Yes, well, technically they're only supposed to judge 2. Number 1 would have merit in other cases, but here it means they did NOT apply the evidence presented in court. (Since both the woman and the boy said that it did happen, and there was no argument or evidence that would say it didn't.) And 3 and 4 it's supposed to simply be not their business.

So essentially they can only say 2 anyway, without effectively announcing to the whole world that they did a mis-trial.

Do you expect people to want to go on record as saying, "yeah, we caused a mistrial because we thought the boy was one lucky dog to already get sex at 14"? Can you see how they'd get crucified by half the population at the very least?

Not really? They may have considered the evidence, but only arrived at a different conclusion that most would, that the herd would? (That's what I was saying, about spelling out what they're saying. We don't even know what they've actually said.)


---

Anyway, like I said, I'll stop flogging this, after this post.

But I'm afraid this thing -- and I say this as someone who doesn't really know all that much about jury trials, or about the law generally -- doesn't seem to make sense to me, this wilful obfuscation of the exact nature of the decision here.

----

And... Tragic Monkey, I understand that's their function, that's what they're tasked to do. That's kind of obvious. I'm questioning the ...rationality, the logic, of setting them the task of pronouncing something without explaining even the basic "why" (or the larger "what") of their decision. [And also the more detailed "why" I suppose, but even if we let that go, at least the basic-why or the larger-what: See that excerpt from that article I'd quoted just a while back, for instance.]
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Old 15th December 2020, 07:55 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Not really? They may have considered the evidence, but only arrived at a different conclusion that most would, that the herd would? (That's what I was saying, about spelling out what they're saying. We don't even know what they've actually said.)
Not in this case, since both parties told them that they did have sex, and none disputed it. To arrive at the conclusion that it didn't, they'd have to have based that on something else than what they were supposed to base it on.
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Old 15th December 2020, 08:00 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
And... Tragic Monkey, I understand that's their function, that's what they're tasked to do. That's kind of obvious. I'm questioning the ...rationality, the logic, of setting them the task of pronouncing something without explaining even the basic "why" (or the larger "what") of their decision. [And also the more detailed "why" I suppose, but even if we let that go, at least the basic-why or the larger-what: See that excerpt from that article I'd quoted just a while back, for instance.]
Sure. In the same way you'd want a soldier, when given an order to do something, to consider the pros and cons, the philosophical implications, the historical impact, the socioeconomic factors, and really do a deep-dive analysis of the matter before deciding to do it or not. Absolutely everything is an essay question that needs to be debated, there are no "yes or no" answers to "yes or no" questions. What color is the sky? Define "sky", and explore the cultural factors involved in the perception of color.
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Old 15th December 2020, 08:17 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Again, I do understand that's how it is. But I'm afraid it makes no sense to me.

Sure, I can understand a jury of your peers pronouncing on something, rather than a judge. But hell, don't we at least need to know just what the hell they've decided?

For instance, take what you've said here: "The point of the jury is to decide guilty or innocent of the crime charged."

To take just an example, it may well not be that at all. It might be that they've just decided that although the woman is guilty, the law itself is unfair (see Hans's post above). Or that although the woman is guilty, and although they don't want to comment on the law generally, they still believe the woman shouldn't be punished.

So what I was saying is, shouldn't they be needed to clearly spell out what it is they're saying here? And ideally 'why' as well, but at least the 'what'?

I can see no reason, no purpose, to not doing this. Unless that purpose is obfuscation and wilful confusion -- which again makes no sense.

(I'm not commenting on the desirability or otherwise of jury trials. I'm merely saying that clarity about their pronouncements would appear to be the bare minimum that one ought to expect from them. One doesn't have to agree with them, but shouldn't one at least know what exactly they're saying?)
I disagree. They're a bunch of random citizens. They're not essayists or pundits or legal theorists (except in the sense that as citizens we're all legal theorists). It's sufficient that they hear the evidence and deliver a verdict. They shouldn't have to sit down and write a diary of their deliberations, laying out the logical sequence of arguments and conclusions that led to their verdict.

What happens in your world if you don't like their explanation? Does the verdict get overturned? Does their diary become evidence in the appeal?

The way I see it, the moment you ask someone to justify, argue, defend, or explain their decision, it puts an additional burden on them. Sometimes this is necessary. Sometimes it's just a wedge to browbeat them into changing their mind.

A jury's decision should not be open to negotiation or debate. They should not have to justify themselves to anyone, or explain anything about their deliberation except that in the end they reached a verdict.

Remember, their verdict isn't for you. It's for the defendant. And even the defendant isn't entitled to an explanation. Just a verdict.
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Old 15th December 2020, 08:34 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Unfortunately in England and Wales we ended up with the “not guilty” verdict rather than “not proven” which is more accurately what a trial is meant to determine.
I guess this is debatable. "Not proven" is more logically sound. But trials take place in courts of law, not courts of science. A guilty verdict is not necessarily more logically sound than a not guilty verdict.

The essential question being asked in a court of law is whether the state has enough evidence to justify taking away the rights of the accused - their freedom, their possessions, etc.

If you don't allow double jeopardy, then from a legal standpoint the jury's verdict is effectively "not guilty" anyway. The state shot its shot, missed the mark, and the jury says they're not allowed to take away the defendant's rights. And they're not allowed to try again. Practically, the defendant is not guilty.

On top of that, I think that the default state of any citizen is "not guilty". All of us are presently not guilty of a plethora of possible crimes. If the government accuses you of a crime and hauls you into court to defend yourself, you continue to not be guilty of the crime (in the eyes of the law) right up until the verdict is read.

Right up until the verdict is read, the claim is "guilty" and the null hypothesis is "not guilty". The verdict of "not guilty" rejects the claim and upholds the null hypothesis. Which is also the accused's default state before the law anyway.

It seems to me that "not proved" just denies the accused their rightful status in society and under the law. It seems to me that it's saying, "we tried to take away your rights, and we couldn't justify it, but we want you to live under the cloud of our unproven allegations anyway."

It privileges the state, which already holds vast power over the life of the accused, for trying to justify applying that power and failing. I think that failure should be clearly resolved in the accused's favor, with a "not guilty" verdict. That's where they were in the eyes of the law before the trial. That's where they should be in the eyes of the law after the trial.

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Old 15th December 2020, 09:16 AM   #23
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I think this post will clarify my POV, which somehow I seem unable to have clearly got across so far.



Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I disagree. They're a bunch of random citizens. They're not essayists or pundits or legal theorists (except in the sense that as citizens we're all legal theorists). It's sufficient that they hear the evidence and deliver a verdict. They shouldn't have to sit down and write a diary of their deliberations, laying out the logical sequence of arguments and conclusions that led to their verdict.

It isn't 0, 1. More like a continuum?

(1) At one far end of the continuum, you've got them simply saying "guilty" or "not guilty". That and nothing else.

(4) At the other end of the continuum, you've got, like you say, them sitting down and clearly recording their deliberations and reasoning and everything, much like judges sometimes/often do with their judgments.

But, in between, you've got at least two other possible stages.

(2) You supply more detail about the what, without going into the why. (In this case, it would amount to further fleshing out the "not guilty" with also explaining "Despite what the boy said and the woman said, we don't think that it can be said beyond doubt that the woman did what she's alleged to have done"; or "We believe that she had good reasons to believe -- wrongly as it turns out, but not her fault -- that the boy was of age"; you know, further fleshing out of the "what", without going for the "why".

(3) You could also, over and above #3 above, go for "why". For instance, by saying: "We think the woman justifiably believed the boy to be of age, albeit turned out she thought wrong" (that's the fleshed-out "what"); followed by the "why", the justification ("because the boy falsified his age on facebook, and may well have to the woman as well; and besides, his photos show he looked mature for his age" -- or something).



You rightly say that jurists are ordinary men and women, and expecting option 4 from them is a bit much. You might as well go with a judge then. I'm saying, that being so, mightn't it make more sense to go with option #3, or if not that then at least option #2, rather than settling for the entirely unscrutable and therefore unsatisfactory option #1?

I'm asking for reasons why this shouldn't be so. Hans did supply one reason, that laying out unpopular reasons might make these people unpopular in the world at large, and thus put indirect pressure on them to conform to the herd. I agree with that as far as that goes, except the exact same reasoning might apply to the actual judgement -- passing a judgment that the "herd" may not like carries that same risk, after all, and if we're prepared to have them make unpopular decisions, then I don't see why we should draw the line at them giving unpopular details of what their unpopular judgement means exactly. (Although I can see that this too might be a continuum. Seeing it in those terms might actually be a valid argument.)


Quote:
What happens in your world if you don't like their explanation? Does the verdict get overturned? Does their diary become evidence in the appeal?

Well, what happens in your world when the jury gives a judgment, and you don't like the judgment? Does the verdict get overturned?

The answer is, you (that is, everyone) simply accept it, whether you like it or not. Except you understand in some greater detail, with some greater clarity, just what it is that has been pronounced.


Quote:
The way I see it, the moment you ask someone to justify, argue, defend, or explain their decision, it puts an additional burden on them. Sometimes this is necessary. Sometimes it's just a wedge to browbeat them into changing their mind.

Agreed. I'm saying, this much basic clarity, this much minimal detail, is probably necessary. Because the alternative is sheer inscrutability, incomprehension as to the detail, obfuscation even. I think that detail is necessary at two levels: first, in terms of getting these guys to think clearly through, and second, in terms of having others understand their verdict.

And, seen as a trade-off between pressure on jurists and greater clarity, as you term it, I realize this is ultimately subjective. We can stop at #1 above, or go all the way to #4, or go with #2 as I'm suggesting. Seeing in these trade-off terms, I can see that what point we stop at is ultimately arbitrary.


Quote:
A jury's decision should not be open to negotiation or debate. They should not have to justify themselves to anyone, or explain anything about their deliberation except that in the end they reached a verdict.

And I'm saying it probably should. Not the negotiation part, the negotiation bit is a strawman, nor the debate either really, because debate there might well be in any case, as this thread itself shows; but some greater detail, certainly, unless there's some good reason why not. At least to the minimal extent that clarity isn't sacrificed entirely. As seems to have been the case here, in this particular case.


Quote:
Remember, their verdict isn't for you. It's for the defendant. And even the defendant isn't entitled to an explanation. Just a verdict.

Actually it's for the injured party as well. As well as the defendant. As well as everyone else besides.

I'll go back and quote, again, that excerpt I'd reproduced in my post #763 (without claiming any overriding weight for that opinion, I don't know enough to do that, nor have I read widely enough to do that, but just to show that what I'd said earlier wasn't just some Joe Internet saying this and nobody else, that there's Joe Lawyer and Joe Judge also saying the saying the same thing -- and sure, there may be well be ten others saying the exact opposite, I'm not saying there mightn't be):
The Grand Chamber of the ECtHR issued its opinion in Taxquet on November 16, 2010, holding, in general, that "the Convention does not require jurors to give reasons for their decision and that Article 6 does not preclude a defendant from being tried by a lay jury even where reasons are not given for the verdict."

... However, the Grand Chamber qualified this assertion with the following language:
Nevertheless, for the requirements of a fair trial to be satisfied, the accused, and indeed the public, must be able to understand the verdict that has been given; this is a vital safeguard against arbitrariness ... .[T]he rule of law and the avoidance of arbitrary power are principles underlying the convention [citation omitted].In the judicial sphere, those principles serve to foster public confidence in an objective and transparent justice system, one of the foundations of a democratic society ...

eta: (That excerpt above is basically plugging for option #2, while rejecting option #3 -- and also option #1, which is what we have here now.)



etaa:

Originally Posted by Darat View Post
But they (and we) do know, that is what the entire trial is about. (Ignoring a perverse verdict - which are rare.) The jury is saying the prosecution hasn’t made their case for a breach of the law beyond a reasonable doubt.

Sure, and I was suggesting that some more detail, some fleshing out, might be helpful. Necessary even, because otherwise what we have, now, is sheer inscrutability, perhaps obfuscation.

That is: what exactly hasn't been established beyond doubt? Is it the fact that the thing between the woman and the boy happened at all? If that's what they think, let them say that.

And/or: Is what hasn't been established beyond doubt that the boy was actually underage at that time? Again, let them spell that out, if that's the case?

And/or: Is that that the woman was justified in thinking the boy was of age ... et cetera.

That fleshing out. That clarification.

I don't see what we're losing by insisting on that much, in jury trials generally. What we're losing by not asking for that is clear: we're losing clarity, we're losing full understanding of the verdict.

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Old 15th December 2020, 09:27 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
...snip...
I wasn't saying not have "not guilty" as well.
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Old 15th December 2020, 09:33 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
I wasn't saying not have "not guilty" as well.
I'm saying don't have "not proven" at all. The accused went into court not guilty. If the state can't prove its claim to the jury's satisfaction, the accused should leave the court not guilty.
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Old 15th December 2020, 09:53 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
I think this post will clarify my POV, which somehow I seem unable to have clearly got across so far.


...snip...
You seem to be basing this on the jury knowing more than we do. In principle we have access to the same evidence and the same arguments a jury has. If we (non jury members) want to decide that "I didn't find witness A as credible as Witness B so I discounted Witness A evidence" we can do so.

A jury is not meant to come up with a rationale for why the jury voted as it did, it is not meant to be a process of gaining a consensus in the sense of all agreeing as to why someone is guilty or not. Jack may think the defendant looks guilty so has voted guilty, Jill may think they look innocent so voted innocent. The reason why an individual juror votes as they do is a personal matter, one that is up to each member, they are under no obligation to explain that to anyone or take part in any discussion or deliberations with the rest of the jurors.

So in a matter of a trial your view, your personal opinion on what should have more weight and so on is in fact just as valid as someone on the jury.

(Assuming you've seen the same evidence, heard the same arguments and direction from the judge - and it is rare that we get that level of information about any trial before we start to pontificate about it! - Which is why although I will say in this case given the actual law I would probably have found her not guilty that has to be taken with a sack of salt since I don't have all the information the jury had).
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Old 15th December 2020, 10:38 AM   #27
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*note to self: never ever say again, over here, that i'm going to refrain from commenting further on such and such a thing ... because chances are one will end up doing just that, right after*



Originally Posted by Darat View Post
You seem to be basing this on the jury knowing more than we do.

Not really.

While it's true that the jurors will likely have more evidence available than you or me, that isn't what I'm basing what I'm saying on. I'm merely suggesting that they clearly flesh out what they're saying, make fully clear what they're saying, pronouncing.



Quote:
... A jury is not meant to come up with a rationale for why the jury voted as it did, it is not meant to be a process of gaining a consensus in the sense of all agreeing as to why someone is guilty or not. Jack may think the defendant looks guilty so has voted guilty, Jill may think they look innocent so voted innocent. The reason why an individual juror votes as they do is a personal matter, one that is up to each member, they are under no obligation to explain that to anyone or take part in any discussion or deliberations with the rest of the jurors.

So in a matter of a trial your view, your personal opinion on what should have more weight and so on is in fact just as valid as someone on the jury. ...


Actually I think I do get it, now.

You're saying, that five different jurors can end up at the same place (Not Guilty, say), but each following a different path. One may believe the woman did not try to screw the boy; another may believe she justifiably thought him of age; yet another may simply not think the woman should be punished; and so on.

You're saying that there needs be convergence, consensus, only as far as the "Guilty" or "Not guilty" part; and there's no need whatsoever for consensus on the route by which individual jurors arrived at that decision.

Sure, on that basis, I can see how the system as it is now might make sense. There's no explanation offered, simply because there is nothing to explain, at least not necessarily, by way of consensus.


---


Right, that clears that up, thanks.

That was the "why" I was looking for: the reason why we don't have more detailed fleshing out of jury decisions.
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Old 15th December 2020, 10:47 AM   #28
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MY WORK HERE IS DONE....



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Old 15th December 2020, 10:56 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
MY WORK HERE IS DONE....





Not at all. There's still the good fight to be fought, and fought hard.

This was just a sidebar.


*settles back, reaches out for more popcorn*
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Old 15th December 2020, 03:13 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
MY WORK HERE IS DONE....
Question regarding UK juries - does the jury decision need to be unanimous, or just majority?
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Old 15th December 2020, 06:44 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Emily's Cat View Post
Question regarding UK juries - does the jury decision need to be unanimous, or just majority?
Not sure of the exact numbers etc but a judge has to initially instruct the jury that they need to reach an unanimous verdict, if after sometime the jury can’t the judge can ask if they can reach a majority verdict. Again don’t know the exact numbers but a majority verdict is not based on a simple majority e.g. 7 to 5, it is constrained to a ratio such as 10 to 2.
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Old 15th December 2020, 10:42 PM   #32
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Not sure about the UK specifically, I THINK in most places it depends on the severity of the crime and punishment. Like, you might actually require unanimity in a first degree murder case, but not for lesser stuff.
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Old 16th December 2020, 01:58 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post












Like I'd said earlier, while the age of consent thing is one aspect of this issue, one thing that stands out, for me, is the bizarreness of jury decisions that not only don't deign to offer reasons for their decisions, but also don't clearly spell out what it is they've decided.

I'm not really familiar, in any depth at all, with how juries operate, in different parts of the world -- for that matter, in any part of the world! But why on earth would juries not be required, by law, to clearly spell out what they've decided (for instance, have they decided that this woman did not, for all intents and purposes, force herself on the boy; or that she actually did believe that the boy was of age; or, like some have been saying here, that her doing this did not really harm the boy, and that punishing her would serve no purpose -- that is, just WTF did they decide, exactly, those jurors there?), as well as on what basis they've decided that. This kind of thing is so entirely ...counter-intuitive, so unnecessarily confusing, so unnecessarily ...random and arbitrary!

Tried some quick google search on this. The question wasn't really answered (I hardly expected it to, so readily and easily), but apparently in Europe, juries were (are?) indeed required to clearly give a point-by-point answer to questions about the case, rather than just a simple guilty/not-guilty decision; even if actual reasons aren't needed to be spelt out.

Here's an interesting article about just this.

Brief excerpt:

The Grand Chamber of the ECtHR issued its opinion in Taxquet on November 16, 2010, holding, in general, that "the Convention does not require jurors to give reasons for their decision and that Article 6 does not preclude a defendant from being tried by a lay jury even where reasons are not given for the verdict."

... However, the Grand Chamber qualified this assertion with the following language:
Nevertheless, for the requirements of a fair trial to be satisfied, the accused, and indeed the public, must be able to understand the verdict that has been given; this is a vital safeguard against arbitrariness ... .[T]he rule of law and the avoidance of arbitrary power are principles underlying the convention [citation omitted].In the judicial sphere, those principles serve to foster public confidence in an objective and transparent justice system, one of the foundations of a democratic society ...

"Arbitrary" is exactly what the decision in this case seems to have been, this decision about that woman and the young boy. Not to mention inscrutable. It seems we can do no more than wildly guess at their reasons, and indeed their exact decision, what they exactly meant to have conveyed. Which is ...bizarre, not quite ...rational.
The concept of trial by jury is an ancient one and is believed in part to have originated in countries such as Sweden, where community affairs were discussed by about twelve elders, who formed a 'land' which is where the word originates. Then came the concept of human rights and the right to a hearing habeus corpus cf Magna Carta which was a rebellion of barons against King John in England who had absolute rule. People could be put to death just on his say so.

So, you have the community elders who mostly dealt with property and border disputes, but also other torts, such as violent crime and then before anyone could be fined or made to pay reparations - they didn't really have prisons as we know them today - they could present their case and the concept via the bill of human rights coming into play in that people were allowed to present their case and be judged by their peers ('the twelve just men') rather than by some faceless tyrant.

Now of course, twelve random people pulled out of the population are not going to be too bright. In the UK you can often get out of jury service by citing pressing work commitments, which people are pressured to do by their employers, and often succeed. Thus juries are often composed of the unemployed, bored housewives and the general uneducated hoi polloi. It is little wonder their decision making is never revealed for it would simply give defendants all kinds of grounds of appeal and would be missing he point of being tried by your peers if instead, their view of your culpability - or lack thereof - was rejected and handed over to 'experts' instead. Trial by jury works well because it generally favours the guilty and also introduces the element of 'common sense'.
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Old 16th December 2020, 02:07 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Interesting.






My (general) point was, shouldn't the jury be required to clearly spell out just what the **** they've decided? So that, in discussing the judgment -- as opposed to discussing the general issue of AoC, for instance -- one knows what it is one is agreeing with, or disagreeing with, or discussing?

(Actual question, not rhetorical. I don't really much about this, beyond that brief googling a while back.)

It's ...palapably nonsensical, to let the jury pronounce the judgment, without also clearly spelling out WHAT exactly they're saying they've decided, right?

(Ideally that, as well as their reasons; but if not their reasons, then at least that?)



eta:
For instance, in this case, they may have decided that:
  1. The woman actually did not do what we all think she'd done. (Fine, we may agree or not agree, but at least we know that's what they decided.)
  2. Or they could have decided that she sincerely believed, and justifiably believed, that the boy was of age. (Again, fine, agree or not, at least we know, and the boy and his family know, just what that decision was about.)
  3. Or they may have decided that the AoC law, as it applies here, isn't a just law. Like you'd pointed out just now (pointed out generally, not applied it to this specific case).
  4. Or they may have simply decided that in this case punishing the woman would serve no purpose.


Or any other permutation or combination of the above.

I mean, we don't even know just WHAT they've gone and decided here, do we, beyond the fact they found the woman "not guilty"?

And that makes no kind of sense at all.
Well of course, there is the European Roman Law system in which trials are heard by tribunals and panels of judges and lay judges. The presiding judge is required to provide a detailed written reasons for the verdict. This system is probably fairer than that of the UK or USA in that you get an automatic right to appeal against wrongly applied points of law or legal procedure because you have all the reasoning there in writing. This makes the process interminable.
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Old 16th December 2020, 02:10 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
That sort of kind of makes sense.

Except two things:

First, if their reasoning not following the herd's is something we need to protect them from, then wouldn't we also need to protect them from a judgment that doesn't follow the herd, right? Same thing, it seems to me. (If they're able to go against the herd in declaring someone guilty or otherwise, then they ought to be able to go against that herd in some subset of that decision as well, in some intermediate step of reasoning as well, no?)

And two, we seem to be throwing basic clarity to the winds here, and bringing in total arbitrariness and, more, obfuscation as well, to achieve that end. (I'm not disagreeing with jury trials per se, or calling jury decisions per se arbitrary, mind; I'm disagreeing with not even clearly knowing/understanding just what it is, exactly, that those guys have gone and decided.)


---

Anyway, I'm no kind of expert on points of law, so I'll stop flogging this. But if there's some reasonable explanation for this, then that'd be nice to know.
Not really. If you want to understand how a jury came to a conclusion, just look up the closing submissions of each of the counsel. The one the jury preferred will be the reason they acquitted or found the defendant guilty.
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Old 16th December 2020, 02:19 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
I think this post will clarify my POV, which somehow I seem unable to have clearly got across so far.






It isn't 0, 1. More like a continuum?

(1) At one far end of the continuum, you've got them simply saying "guilty" or "not guilty". That and nothing else.

(4) At the other end of the continuum, you've got, like you say, them sitting down and clearly recording their deliberations and reasoning and everything, much like judges sometimes/often do with their judgments.

But, in between, you've got at least two other possible stages.

(2) You supply more detail about the what, without going into the why. (In this case, it would amount to further fleshing out the "not guilty" with also explaining "Despite what the boy said and the woman said, we don't think that it can be said beyond doubt that the woman did what she's alleged to have done"; or "We believe that she had good reasons to believe -- wrongly as it turns out, but not her fault -- that the boy was of age"; you know, further fleshing out of the "what", without going for the "why".

(3) You could also, over and above #3 above, go for "why". For instance, by saying: "We think the woman justifiably believed the boy to be of age, albeit turned out she thought wrong" (that's the fleshed-out "what"); followed by the "why", the justification ("because the boy falsified his age on facebook, and may well have to the woman as well; and besides, his photos show he looked mature for his age" -- or something).



You rightly say that jurists are ordinary men and women, and expecting option 4 from them is a bit much. You might as well go with a judge then. I'm saying, that being so, mightn't it make more sense to go with option #3, or if not that then at least option #2, rather than settling for the entirely unscrutable and therefore unsatisfactory option #1?

I'm asking for reasons why this shouldn't be so. Hans did supply one reason, that laying out unpopular reasons might make these people unpopular in the world at large, and thus put indirect pressure on them to conform to the herd. I agree with that as far as that goes, except the exact same reasoning might apply to the actual judgement -- passing a judgment that the "herd" may not like carries that same risk, after all, and if we're prepared to have them make unpopular decisions, then I don't see why we should draw the line at them giving unpopular details of what their unpopular judgement means exactly. (Although I can see that this too might be a continuum. Seeing it in those terms might actually be a valid argument.)





Well, what happens in your world when the jury gives a judgment, and you don't like the judgment? Does the verdict get overturned?

The answer is, you (that is, everyone) simply accept it, whether you like it or not. Except you understand in some greater detail, with some greater clarity, just what it is that has been pronounced.





Agreed. I'm saying, this much basic clarity, this much minimal detail, is probably necessary. Because the alternative is sheer inscrutability, incomprehension as to the detail, obfuscation even. I think that detail is necessary at two levels: first, in terms of getting these guys to think clearly through, and second, in terms of having others understand their verdict.

And, seen as a trade-off between pressure on jurists and greater clarity, as you term it, I realize this is ultimately subjective. We can stop at #1 above, or go all the way to #4, or go with #2 as I'm suggesting. Seeing in these trade-off terms, I can see that what point we stop at is ultimately arbitrary.





And I'm saying it probably should. Not the negotiation part, the negotiation bit is a strawman, nor the debate either really, because debate there might well be in any case, as this thread itself shows; but some greater detail, certainly, unless there's some good reason why not. At least to the minimal extent that clarity isn't sacrificed entirely. As seems to have been the case here, in this particular case.





Actually it's for the injured party as well. As well as the defendant. As well as everyone else besides.

I'll go back and quote, again, that excerpt I'd reproduced in my post #763 (without claiming any overriding weight for that opinion, I don't know enough to do that, nor have I read widely enough to do that, but just to show that what I'd said earlier wasn't just some Joe Internet saying this and nobody else, that there's Joe Lawyer and Joe Judge also saying the saying the same thing -- and sure, there may be well be ten others saying the exact opposite, I'm not saying there mightn't be):
The Grand Chamber of the ECtHR issued its opinion in Taxquet on November 16, 2010, holding, in general, that "the Convention does not require jurors to give reasons for their decision and that Article 6 does not preclude a defendant from being tried by a lay jury even where reasons are not given for the verdict."

... However, the Grand Chamber qualified this assertion with the following language:
Nevertheless, for the requirements of a fair trial to be satisfied, the accused, and indeed the public, must be able to understand the verdict that has been given; this is a vital safeguard against arbitrariness ... .[T]he rule of law and the avoidance of arbitrary power are principles underlying the convention [citation omitted].In the judicial sphere, those principles serve to foster public confidence in an objective and transparent justice system, one of the foundations of a democratic society ...

eta: (That excerpt above is basically plugging for option #2, while rejecting option #3 -- and also option #1, which is what we have here now.)



etaa:




Sure, and I was suggesting that some more detail, some fleshing out, might be helpful. Necessary even, because otherwise what we have, now, is sheer inscrutability, perhaps obfuscation.

That is: what exactly hasn't been established beyond doubt? Is it the fact that the thing between the woman and the boy happened at all? If that's what they think, let them say that.

And/or: Is what hasn't been established beyond doubt that the boy was actually underage at that time? Again, let them spell that out, if that's the case?

And/or: Is that that the woman was justified in thinking the boy was of age ... et cetera.

That fleshing out. That clarification.

I don't see what we're losing by insisting on that much, in jury trials generally. What we're losing by not asking for that is clear: we're losing clarity, we're losing full understanding of the verdict.
If you are on a jury, by the time of the trial, you will only get to hear a very select version of accounts. Pre-trial there will have been all sorts of directions hearing with each party arguing about what evidence should and should not be presented. Thus, a judge may declare that a defendant's previous record of the same crime must not be mentioned or it could be, say, the young lad had got the woman pregnant and she had terminated the pregnancy, which if you, a member of the jury had known about, your verdict might have been very different.

You are only being told what the court has decided are the defined parameters of the case.
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Old 16th December 2020, 03:37 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
UK jury discussions are kept secret, jurors are not allowed to speak about anything that happened or was discussed in the jury room.
Unsurprisingly this is the same in Ireland.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
You may want to also familiarize yourself with the notion of jury nullification, as it's called in the USA, or various similar names in other countries. Essentially the jury can deliver any verdict whatsoever, as their conscience dictates, no matter what the facts of the case were.
A 'perverse verdict' as it's called over here;
The defendants are "guilty of speaking in Gracechurch Street"....

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
At least in the USA there is some counter balance in that it starts with a larger pool of candidates for jury duty, which get interviewed, and both sides (typically the lawyer and the DA, unless the guy wants to represent himself) can ask that a certain candidate be removed from the pool. So if a guy comes across as some rabid men's rights type, you could ask to exclude him from a rape case.
Franky I find the level of manipulation of juries in the US legal system horrific.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
IIRC, up to a certain number, you can even remove even without saying why. Like, if you're the defense lawyer in a rape case, you can simply remove some women; be aware though that the DA will likely do the same with men.
The 'peremptory challenge' over here. Only allowed to be exercised seven times (by each counsel), other challenges must show due cause why the person is unsuited to being a juror.
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Old 16th December 2020, 03:40 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
My (general) point was, shouldn't the jury be required to clearly spell out just what the **** they've decided?
Absolutely not. Not only does this leave jurors open to external pressure, a factor that effectively repudiates the idea of a lay jury, it also enables the manipulation of jury pools as is a noxious facet of the US system.
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Old 16th December 2020, 03:48 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Emily's Cat View Post
Question regarding UK juries - does the jury decision need to be unanimous, or just majority?
In Ireland it 'should' be unanimous but a 10-2 majority is accepted in criminal cases iff:
the jury have deliberated for at least two hours
there are not less than eleven jurors present (10-1 in this case)
In civil cases 9-3 is accepted.

The criminal standard is the same in the UK.
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Old 16th December 2020, 04:15 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Christ, no. The point of the jury is to decide guilty or innocent of the crime charged, using only the cases the prosecution and the defense presented. Full stop. They do not get to go beyond the bounds of that. They do not get to philosophize, analyze, or dig deep into questions like What Is Crime and This Our Society and **** like that. Guilty or not guilty. That's it. The points for the conclusion reached are made by the prosecution and the defense, the juror's job is to agree or disagree with the cases presented. They are not there to construct their own, better case. They aren't an internet message board where everyone imagines he is Solomon or Perry Mason. If we wanted that sort of thing we wouldn't have juries made of randomly selected citizens, we'd just have the judge decide.
Re the last bit (bolding mine), from my experience on a jury, I would be much happier letting the judge decide than relying on the jury....
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