Trial by Jury in the USA
In December 2012 the Chamber of Deputies of Buenos Aires Province passed a bill on Trial by Jury. Therefore, Buenos Aires will be the first province in Argentina to apply the system of trial by jury. The jury will be made up of ordinary citizens, and it will deal with major penal crimes in public and oral hearings.
Córdoba has had a mixed system since 2005. In this province juries consist of lawyer jurors as well as ordinary people.
Last April 9th my pupils and I had the opportunity to have a friendly talk with an American citizen, Sandra, who very kindly accepted our invitation to come to our Legal English class to talk on the subject of Jury Trial and tell us her own personal experience as a juror in the USA on more than one occasion. No doubt, a unique chance for all of us.
Here is a summary of what we learnt on the topic:
*A jury is formed from 12 jurors who are chosen by the defence * Jurors come from different social, educational, and religious backgrounds
*The system of trial by jury is used in criminal and civil cases except for family ones
*The purpose of the jury is to find the defendant’s guilty or innocence
*If you can vote, you can be a juror
*A juror can do any types of job except for any related to the law.
*The State pays the juror 15 dollars a day. He/She can't be fired from their jobs and their employer must continue paying them their salary during the trial
*They have to be in court for about 8 hours a day
*During deliberation they examine all the proof and make a decision. The decision is taken by the majority
* A juror can be summoned to serve once every 6 years
* If you have a social security card and you`re a USA citizen, you can get a notice to serve as a member of a jury
* Cases can be as short as one day or as long as a few years
* If a juror doesn’t show up for jury duty, he/she will be visited by the police at his/her house, and can be forced to go to court * Jurors are not excused from jury duty until a verdict is reachedTeacher:Claudia Saldaño