February 02, 2005

Michael Jackson Jury Questionnaire No Match For O.J.'s

Greetings. I'm no fan of the jury system as it exists here in the United States. As far as I'm concerned, it promotes manipulation, distortion, emotionalism over facts -- all manner of factors that detract from true justice.

Jurors are frequently forced to make decisions based upon perversely limited information, with even jurors themselves often anguished at the resulting miscarriages of justice after the fact. And of course, jurors are purposely kept ignorant of their very wide decision-making discretion.

My own experience has been that jurors and prospective jurors are often treated shabbily and bossed around much like the prisoners -- only without the shackles.

Jury questionnaires play a particularly abusive role in many trials, with potential jurors required to answer all manner of highly personal questions to satisfy the whims of both prosecutors and defense attorneys (not mention both sides' jury consultants).

The full text of the current Michael Jackson jury questionnaire (PDF) is an interesting example. But it pales in comparison to the O.J. Simpson murder trial questionnaire of a bit more than a decade ago.

Already, the relative brevity of Jackson's questionnaire is becoming an issue given the high-profile nature of the case, with ramifications that may persist beyond the verdict.

I obviously don't know if Jackson is innocent or guilty. But given the way our juries are forced to operate, the odds of getting to the truth either way in this case are probably no better than a flip of a coin -- and that's simply pitiful.


Posted by Lauren at February 2, 2005 07:34 PM | Permalink
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