Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Japan to introduce jury system

Some good news for once, although jury trials will only be for a small minority of crimes. The bill was passed by the House of Councillors last Friday, and the new system will take effect in 2009.
At present, all cases in Japan are tried by judges. The percentage of people tried who are found guilty is in the high 90s, so a lot of innocent people must be going to prison. An article on Japan Today, a useful news site, says:

The law stipulates six people will be selected per case to work with three professional judges at a district court in court hearings. They are expected to decide a verdict and sentence by a majority vote.

I think random selction is an excellent way of guaranteeing representativeness, not just for trials, but for legislative bodies too, although that's been out of fashion for quite a while.

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