Thursday, 11 September 2008

Quote of the Day

Jury Trial: This quote of Richard Dawkins' is apt:

"…Should I be charged with a serious crime here’s how I want to be tried. If I know myself to be guilty, I’ll go with the loose cannon of a jury, the more ignorant, prejudiced and capricious the better. But if I am innocent, and the ideal of multiple independent decision-takers is unavailable, please give me a judge" - Richard Dawkins

7 comments:

John Angliss said...

There are real problems with that: judges do come predominantly from certain ethnic, class and gender ( http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/keyfacts/statistics/women.htm ) groups. If they both had to decide the verdict and the sentence we'd be at risk of having rule by rich white men like you, me and Dawkins. It's also comparably rare to find a jury composed solely of Freemasons.

richard allan said...

I don't like Dawkins, and I'm not sure I agree with him in this case. I think I'd rather have a judge in either situation.

QT said...

I think I'd rather have a judge in either situation.

His point is that it is more likely to 'get away with it' with a jury than with a judge. Obviously there's no objective measure of whether this is (because there's no way of knowing the proportion of acquitted suspects who are actually guilty), but I suspect that he is right.

I am a great admirer of Dawkins - it's pretty rare he says something I disagree with, and I can always see where he is coming from.

richard allan said...

"His point is that it is more likely to 'get away with it' with a jury than with a judge."

Yeah, I think I picked that one up, Ian ;)

I suppose juries nowadays want the whole CSI treatment or they won't convict, so they have that going for them.

QT said...

I didn't understand why you said "I think I'd rather have a judge in either situation".

richard allan said...

I was thinking that a judge would be more rigourous about the burden of proof than one of those "You could tell he was guilty as soon as look at him" jury horror stories.

Of course I don't trust judges either, come to think of it.

marksany said...

Having been a juror on an attempted murder trial, I agree with Dawkins. In fact I'd rather face the toss a coin than the muppets that were on my jury.