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View Diary: jury duty (or: Twelve Angry Men, here we come...) (54 comments)

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  •  miscellaneous questions about jury service (1+ / 0-)
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    Thanks for an interesting story.

    I've been called for jury duty at least half a dozen times in my life, and have never been seated on a panel. While I understand they choose jurors they think will help them win their cases...something about the process of jury selection makes it seem anything but fair. My impression is that attorneys and possibly the entire criminal justice system are more interested in winning than they are in getting to the truth of a situation.

    Police interview techniques are designed to be psychologically manipulative and are based on a presumption of guilt. If they are talking to a suspect, they have already decided that suspect is guilty, and don't want to hear anything to the contrary. People see what they want to see. That's called "confirmation bias" - also known as prejudice. Many people - more than anyone realizes - have made false confessions, sometimes to quite horrific crimes, as a result of being subjected to these coercive techniques. I would never take a confession as evidence of anything.

    Another question I have about jury deliberations is based on a study that shows when people are making decisions together in a group, their decisions tend to be less accurate than they are when those same people make decisions alone using the same information. This isn't about peer pressure as a psychological phenomenon, but about actual changes in brain functioning that occur when people are together. The thinking and reasoning part gets weaker - the social part that has to do with getting along takes over. I wonder if juries should do their deliberating independently, rather than discuss a case with one another.

    Another issue is that by law, juries are allowed to find a defendant not guilty if they think the law itself is unjust - but no one ever tells you that. It's a well-kept secret. The courts don't want you to know. I think that's wrong.

    Too many people end up in jail who don't belong there. It's big business. A way to get cheap labor in factories without having to go overseas.

    I also question the notion of free will, because I think some people have more free will than others. The autistic child has less free will than the so-called normal adult, for example. We are not islands, functioning independently. When people do bad things, it is not just the fault of those people, but the result of a dynamic that spreads across the entire culture.

    Glad you had a good experience. I wonder if most people  who serve on juries feel that way.


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