Monday, August 3, 2009

In Other News

Japan is starting jury trials. More accurately, a current case is the first jury trial in Japan in over sixty years but they are conducting mock trials to work the system out. The usual warring theories abound: jurors can't make good decisions, judge only courts lack transparency, etc.

The current system involves three judge panels. This first jury case involves both six jurors and three judges. Curiously (at least from a UK/US point of view) at least one of the judges has to agree with the jury's verdict.

The article mentions a few other interesting details. First, Japan boasts a 99% conviction rate. I have a hunch that the Japanese police are not 99% good. Second, Japan had a jury system from the mid-1920s until 1943. It seems like an odd exception to the US-designed political overhaul after the War to leave out a jury system.

As an added historical tid-bit: Japan actually adopted the German Civil Code not longer after the Buergerliches Gesetz Buch was adopted, during the Meiji period when Japan was busily modernizing everything.

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