At least in criminal court, our justice system is broken because it rests on two incompatible pieces: 1)presumption of innocent (innocent UNLESS, not until, proven guilty) 2)jury of your "peers".
Jurors seeing a person behind the defense bench, accused of a crime by the state, changes it to guilty unless proven innocent. So instead of the state having the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt it's the accused proving innocence.
Jurors, without a legal education, cannot no matter their intention, give the defendant the presumption of innocence. This is proven by countless post trial interviews.
Also, jurors on trials where defendants don't take the stand (5th amendment) say this was a key aspect of convicting. Hence, the 5th amendment has no teeth.
We should have trials by tribunal of judges of a pool of jurors from a special group of people who passed some type of training and payed an exam.
The people that are on a jury are not educated enough to place or not place alleged criminals in prison. It's not okay for an innocent person to be sentenced to death, or a violent criminal running around without restraint. Jurors should be selected from a pool of lawyers, judges, law clerks, and law students. It would immensely help a law students training to be on a jury and see court in action.
Juries are not peers. They are people selected at random throughout the population. Worse than that, they are usually people with minimum wage jobs. Everyone that I known within my business career does everything they can do to get out of jury duty. However, my minimum wage friends look forward to jury duty because they don't like their jobs. How is this a fair system? Basically, this system encourages the least educated people to stand as judge for the alleged's life.
Besides the above recrimination, the current system is very inefficient. Nobody on the jury has any judicial training. This means that every trial has to spend a certain amount of time teaching the jury how to listen to evidence. If a professional jury was used, much time and money could be saved by not retraining every jury.
I believe that the only people that like the current jury system fall in two categories:
1) People that have never had any interaction with the judicial system.
2) People that benefit from the current judicial system (judges, lawyers and defendants with money.)
The above points seem relevant to the current discussion.
I would like to discuss other injustices that I see.
I am a middle class american with a home in the suburbs.
I have a couple of thousand dollars left every month after paying bills. Until recently, I have never even payed a credit late, but a few months ago I bet $20 on a gambling web site.
This is technically illegal and if I get arrested, I either have to pay thousands of dollars to a private attorney or go with a public defense attorney that doesn't know what they are doing.
If I go with a private attorney, I have to put up a second mortgage on my house. If I go with the public attorney, I might go to jail. Does this really seem fair?
A millionaire would never go to trial for this. A poor person might.
What is fair about that?
I do think the jury system is needed, but how it is ran and handled needs to be completely reformed. Instead of having a jury of our peers, who are easily swayed by bad evidence and bigshot lawyers, we should have jurors who are professionals. That is, they went to school to be jurors.
It is my opinion that we do not need to replace the current jury system in the US. I feel that the current jury system is fair in its selection and is one of the better ways to sentence criminals. The system can always be improved, but replacing it with another system completely would be less efficient.
I do not think that we should replace the jury system in the United States of America. While it may not be perfect, and may cause problems, I still think it is the best system possible for the judicial courts. I think that there is nothing wrong with it that warrants a change.
Our legal system, while one of a rule of law, is ultimately one of, by, and for the people. The benefit of a jury system is that a case must be made not to a judge, or a legal scholar, but to the peers of the accused. The process of rendering judgment under the law is a serious issue, and must be a power vested in the people.