“When you get into court you are putting your fate into the hands of twelve people who weren’t smart enough to get out of jury duty” (Norm Crosby). In some cases, the use of juried trials can hinder the justice process due to prejudice which could then lead to bias, jurors can be influenced by the lawyers or the judges. Or perhaps, since it is a given that all cases have a lot facts to take in and because the jury will be making their decisions based off of given facts, it can be a lot to take in for many of the jurors.
A trial by jury may be considered but that is usually when the accused has committed an indictable offense that is punishable by five years of imprisonment or more. Normally, the accused can choose whether or not to have a trial by jury and judge or trial by judge alone under s. 11(f) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Despite having the benefit to choose, if the accused committed a crime such as, murder and treason or any serious crime then trial by jury is mandatory. First of all, selecting the right people to be apart of the jury pool takes a long process. Although, once the selection is complete, “would the jurors fully engage in the process or will they get bored?” (Love, “Are Jury Trials Fair and is it Time to Scrap them?”)comes into question.
The selected jurors might be disinterested, not be in the right mindset because they may be missing something for jury duty and maybe they are just not interested in the justice process but they are present because they have to be. There may be times where the accused’s testimony(s) get to the jury’s feelings,in some cases, the jury returns with a verdict of “not guilty” despite the fact that the accused is guilty of the crime committed or vice versa, this is called “jury nullification.” It is evident in the case R. v.
Krieger, the accused grew his own marijuana in his backyard for his own medical use since he has a debilitating illness, he also stated that he provided others for their use. In a case like this the Supreme Court of Canada came up with a decision where the juries in Canada have the right to refuse to apply the law when their conscience tells them to do so. Since this decision was made, it was stated that “juries are not entitled as a matter of right to refuse to apply the law but they do have the power to do so when their conscience tells them to.
” Overall, because the juries have this rare benefit then the verdicts in trial by jury may result in being unfairly tried. The final reason why juried trials can hinder the justice process would be due to bias. In a sexual assault case in Colorado (Peña Rodriguez v. Colorado), a juror said of the defendant, Peña-Rodriguez, “I think he did it because he is Mexican and Mexican men take whatever they want.” The juror that talked negatively about the defendant was a former law enforcement officer. Right after the trial ended, there were sworn statements submitted by two jurors describing what was said during deliberation.
One juror stated that, “he said that where he used to patrol, nine times out of 10 Mexican men were guilty of being aggressive toward women and young girls.” But in the end, Peña-Rodriguez was convicted of three misdemeanors and was sentenced to two years probation. This shows that trial by jury can include bias but specifically for this case, racial bias, and it can really lead the case into being something that could of been investigated deeper into but because the decision is up to the jury, the trial court has to accept the statement given. But in particular with this case, even though a racial comment was made by a juror the verdict could not be changed due to the “No-impeachment rule” which states “It says testimony from jurors about what occurred during jury deliberations may not be used to impeach a verdict during an appeal.” In conclusion, trial by jury can quite a few cons such as, how jurors are only deciding their verdict based off of just facts and in some cases biases can arise. Juried trials can hinder the justice process because of the jury not seeing the fact that the accused is suppose to have a guilty verdict or vice versa or in other words “Jury Nullification.” Another reason would be to due to the reason of prejudice leading to bias. Trial by jury is a very long process because the lawyers need to choose the appropriate group to be in the jury pool and it can be costly.
Trial by jury may be giving the court a perspective into society but within that, a number of cons come along with it.