Thursday, August 06, 2009

This Gives Me An Idea

The BBC has an interesting story about a jury trial in Japan (via SL&P). It's a momentous occasion, because Japan hasn't had jury trials in criminal cases since before World War II (and then only briefly). Their system is actually a hybrid, with three judges and six laypeople on a panel:

In the new system, the jurors - who are considered lay judges - must have the agreement of at least one of three professional judges for their decision to stand. They also decide on the sentencing.
But that's not what really caught my attention in that story. This was:
The BBC's Andre Vornic says that for Japanese prosecutors, an acquittal means a career setback.

This ensures that only cases almost certain to lead to a conviction tend to be prosecuted.
What a brilliant idea! Prosecutors afraid to bring weak cases because it might destroy their careers! Perhaps we should import the idea. Everything cool starts off in Japan, after all.

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