Jury Duty

In the mock trial, I played the role of a juror. As a juror, I had to pay close attention to every detail in order to make a decision. It was a very difficult task to take on. So I ask myself now, if I found it difficult in a mock trial, how would it be in an actual trial? Can this be one of the many reasons why citizens refuse to serve as a juror?

At this point, you might be asking yourself “what did she find difficult?” Well, paying close attention to every detail is extremely difficult. If you get distracted for 10 seconds, you can miss an important detail of the case. Distraction is a huge possibility for every juror especially when a trial goes on for several days or weeks. It is stressful and more knowing that the life of a person is in your hands.

During deliberation, some of the rules of being a juror were mentioned. Jennet stated that the jury is not allowed to take notes during a trial and I must admit that caught my attention. If in our 1-day mock trial my notes helped a lot, why isn’t it allowed in actual trials? Note taking can help a lot by allowing jurors to take into consideration witness statements and evidence provided in the beginning of the trial. I refuse to believe that jurors can memorize every detail without notes especially in a trial that lasts days or weeks. According to Abramson, “Jury decides cases according to emotion, prejudice, and sympathy more than according to law and evidence.” IF this is true, isn’t the law causing the jury to deliberate in this way? By not allowing note taking, jurors cannot go back and base their decision on evidence instead it is based on the emotion they’ve had throughout the trial. So now the question is, does a defendant receive a fair trial when the jury is forbidden to take notes?

In a previous class, we discussed the differences between Representative model and Deliberative model. The differences are:

Representative model
• Vote primary
• Background is key
• Talking is secondary

Deliberative model
• Face to face talking
• Arguments within jury
• Discuss the law, evidence
• Talk then vote

When we discussed these differences, I was confused because I could not decide which model would be convenient for jurors if they had the option to choose. But after this mock trial experience, I believe the deliberative model is convenient to the jury. Although it can somehow influence the decision, it is important for a discussion to take place before deciding. This discussion can help point out statements or evidence that some jurors might have missed and it can either benefit the defense or prosecutor. Furthermore, I believe jurors should receive more information in regards to their duty ahead of time. It is a huge responsibility and they should have some sort of knowledge about this process.

If interested, you can find more information about jury service here:
http://www.azcourts.gov/juryduty/JuryServiceInformation.aspx

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2 Responses to Jury Duty

  1. haleyschryver says:

    I can’t even imagine how difficult it would be to go through a lengthy trial without taking notes. Even in our little trial, almost everyone remembered the facts in a different way. I don’t really understand how a jury is supposed to rule as fairly as possible when they can’t remember correctly the evidence that each side presented. It does seem like in this situation, a jury would decide guilt mostly on feelings rather than on evidence and fact.

  2. I think that a Representative jury would be more “convenient” to the jury. Their vote is already decided ahead of time so there is no need to argue or remember facts in nearly as much detail. This model is total garbage but it woudl be easier.

    With a deliberative model there is far more responsibility on the juror to remember facts, be fair minded, and argue respectfully with others. It seems all too easy to browbeat someone who disagrees with you if you are stuck in a room together. But overall i do prefer the deliberatve model if i were forced to choose one.

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