Do judges and attorneys do the duty of the jury

U.S. Legal System: America's Difficult Finding the Right Jury

The US legal system is known to be based on a great absurdity. It is surrounded by glamorous ceremonial - "All rise!", It says at the beginning of a hearing, the room jumps open, and then it is announced that the "State of New York" or the "Commonwealth of Massachusetts" is now against Mr. respectively Mrs. So-and-so enters.

It is armed with thick leather-bound codes of law, entire libraries full of meticulous precedents. The battlements of American jurisprudence are guarded by hordes of well-paid professionals: lawyers for all walks of life here, district attorneys there. In the center sit judges in black robes, reverently called "honorable ones".

In the end, however, the judiciary is left to twelve people who have not studied law for a semester, have not read a single one of the thick codes of law, are actually characterized by nothing but their comprehensive ignorance - twelve people who are literally picked up on the street at random. Twelve people like in the classic Hollywood movie "12 Angry Men" with nothing to hand but a bit of morality and two ounces of common sense.

Every US citizen can find one of those rectangular envelopes in the mailbox, through which one is requested to be present on (date) in (place) for the "jury duty". Excuses like “I have work to do” or “I urgently need to visit my sick mother-in-law” do not count, the duties of a jury take priority.

"Tell the truth"

However, if you look closely, it is a little more complicated. Because those twelve randomly selected citizens who sit in judgment over one of their own must meet at least one condition - they must be impartial. Before the actual judicial drama, there is a procedure in America called “Voir dire” (the expression comes from Old French and means “to tell the truth”).

At Voir dire, the prosecution and defense have the opportunity to screen judges they deem biased. They can send three of them home just like that; for all other you must give a solid reason. For example, in a murder case, the defense might ask, "Was anyone in your family murdered?"