The Instigator
caseyuer
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
RyuuKyuzo
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points

Jurors Should Be Allowed To Ask Questions During a Trial.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
RyuuKyuzo
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/2/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,411 times Debate No: 24960
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (3)

 

caseyuer

Con

Thank you to whoever accepts this debate. It's not talked about too often so hopefully we can cover some new ground and perhaps convert some people.

Jurors have been a part of criminal trials, in some form or another, civilization for almost as long as we have recorded history. However there are remarkably few situations in the modern world where jurors are allowed to ask questions during legal proceedings. It is in my opinion that this is a good thing, and a practice that ought to be upheld. In this debate I hope to explain why.

One of the biggest reasons, and perhaps the only one needed, is swaying oneself emotionally. One of the jurors biggest roles in court proceedings are to look at the evidence and form their decision based off the evidence provided. If given the chance to ask questions many jurors will sway themselves emotionally by doing so. Not by the witnesses or defendants answer, though that may contribute, but by voicing these questions aloud they will begin to form opinions before ever hearing an answer out of the person they are questioning.

Though there are many people who are able to remain emotionally objective (and kudos to them) the majority of us will be swayed the second we begin to phrase the question. During the process of creating and asking a question we will form opinions based off the wording of the question. For example 'If you said you were at a restaurant the night of the robbery then why does no one working there remember you?" when saying this, almost all of us will begin to develop small tiny and subconscious opinions before we hear the answer. Then if anything at all is odd about the answer, something that normally would not be of concern we will have an opinion.

It is for this reason that I do not believe that jurors should be able to ask questions during the trial.
Thank you.
RyuuKyuzo

Pro

I'd like to thank my opponent for this opportunity to debate.

I'm assuming this round is for actual arguments since it has not been stated otherwise, so I will be arguing against the points my opponent has brought up.

My opponent's argument is essentially that asking questions will result in the emergence and formation of subtle opinions on the answer before one is given. I find this logic faulty for five reasons:

1. The Damage Has Been Done
The fact that they have these questions at all already means these subtle opinions have been formed. The damage has been done (if there was any to be made), so you may as well ask the question rather than throw the baby out with the bathwater.

2. Not Understanding the Case is Worse
If there is ambiguity or simply a gap in the juror's understanding of the events in question, that uncertainty is guaranteed to be problematic when the time comes for deliberation, while the opinion the juror forms on the matter by asking the question may in fact be validated by the answer given to his/her question anyway. Meaning, not understanding the alleged crime being discussed has a higher risk of resulting in an incorrect sentencing than the possible risk of forming an opinion based on subtle prejudice (especially since that prejudice would already exist whether the question was made audible or not) as the prejudice at least has the chance of being correct.

3. Better Solutions Already Exist
Prejudice is something to consider, no one can deny this, but our justice system already does take this into consideration and controls for it as accurately as possible by having an extensive selection process for possible jurors as well as allowing the defence and prosecution to object to questions made that put an unfounded idea into the heads of the jurors. If a juror were to ask a deliberately misleading question, that question could be objected to, thereby removing this potential issue as a threat. The issues my opponent brings up already have solutions. Removing one's ability to ask questions is not necessary to solve this problem, nor is it a particularly good solution if one was needed.

4. Other Jurors Should be Made Aware
My opponent also points out that making these questions audible can alter the opinions of other jurors. My response to this is: good. If one juror thinks of a pertinent question that the other jurors simply haven't thought to ask, it should be brought to their attention and an answer should be available. Once again, understanding the case is more important than the possibility of subtle opinions being formed. More is lost through not understanding the case than by having a question raised. Understanding the case is why the prosecution and defence ask questions in the first place, which brings me to my last point.

5. Argument Applies to Defence and Prosecution too
The prosecution and defence have been asking questions anyway. If this issue of emerging prejudices exists when a juror asks a question, then why not when the prosecutor and defence attorney ask? Should they also not be allowed to ask questions? Of course not, because it's clear that understanding the implications of the evidence and testimonies are more important than controlling for slight prejudices brought about by the wording of a question. Unless my opponent contends that neither the defence nor the prosecution should be able to ask questions, he must agree that there is no real issue with having jurors ask any unanswered questions they may have. Indeed, asking questions in order to come to the most accurate conclusion possible on a case is the point of a trial in the first place.

Given these arguments, it is clear that my opponents opposition is unjustified. Not only does the problem he suggest justify not asking questions period, which is absurd, but the issue already has solutions built into the court system.

I look forward to my opponent's response.
Debate Round No. 1
caseyuer

Con

caseyuer forfeited this round.
RyuuKyuzo

Pro

My opponent has been active since the time of my last argument. Since he has neither posted a counter-argument nor has he tried to contact me in any way, I can only conclude that he was unable to come up with a rebuttal in the allotted time. I sincerely hope he is able to come up with one in time for the final round.

I look forward to your response.
Debate Round No. 2
caseyuer

Con

caseyuer forfeited this round.
RyuuKyuzo

Pro

It's disappointing, but my opponent has forfeited the third round and therefore the debate.

There's nothing left to say other than -- Vote Pro!
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by RyuuKyuzo 4 years ago
RyuuKyuzo
Vote away! =)
Posted by caseyuer 4 years ago
caseyuer
By the way - I'm not entirely sure of my opinion right now but am using this platform to develop one by providing questions and doubts I have in my mind. So I will be very curious to see what the results are.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by SarcasticIndeed 4 years ago
SarcasticIndeed
caseyuerRyuuKyuzoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by Chelicerae 4 years ago
Chelicerae
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Reasons for voting decision: FF.
Vote Placed by airmax1227 4 years ago
airmax1227
caseyuerRyuuKyuzoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for FF.