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Watching the series about O.J. Simpson I was wondering “why in almost every case the decision based on jury?” and I personally think that this case is a good example to cast doubt of that legislation because the jury thought that if O.J. simpson was proven innocent then it will be a punch in racism guts. Can someone who is a lawyer answer me why the judge system is not reformed and stays like this and is more vulnerable to take a wrong decision because they do not know the law, thus the verdict depends on people’s morals?

PS. I don’t suggest eliminating the jury but I suggest a middle solution. For example, in Greece the final verdict was made at votes but 3 of the voters are judges and the 4 of the voters are the jurors.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Dale M Nov 18 '19 at 1:22
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As others have said, the reason for this is that the US Constitution grants a jury trial as a right in criminal proceedings.

The reason for that right to be granted is to be a check against (that is, a limitation of) the power of the government, generally, and judges, specifically.

To answer your specific question of why "the judge system is not reformed and stays like this and is more vulnerable to take a wrong decision because they do not know the law, thus the verdict depends on people’s morals?"

Firstly, the jury does know the law (or at least, the specific portions of the law that are relevant to the case), by the time they render their judgement. An important part of the judge's responsibility in a criminal case is to craft "jury instructions" that are given to the jury before they are sequestered for deliberations. These instructions should have an explanation of what questions they need to collectively answer, and what evidence they can and cannot consider.

Secondly, there are two central dogmatic difference between the points of view that your question seems to promote or be based on, and the one generally held by the US Founding Fathers, who wrote the US Constitution:
1) judges are sacrosanct, or at least trustworthy
2) rule by law is the foremost concern

In contrast, the general view of the US Founding Fathers was that:
1) judges have power, and thus need to be checked (in the US system, a judge's power is checked by the prosecutor, the jury, the chief executive, and by courts of appeal).
2) protection of the citizenry from the power of the government is the first concern.

One thing to note, is that this second point means that the judge in a US trial can actually override a criminal jury, but only in the defendant's favor.

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    There is also the fact that the US legal system owes its roots in the British legal traditions and trial by a jury of one's peers was enshrined in the Magna Carter. Something so fundamental to the existing legal system would be a sensible thing to include as a basic right in the constitution. – GeoffAtkins Dec 14 '19 at 21:45
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You can read some details of the right to trial by jury here, but in the US it is basically because the Constitution guarantees that right in criminal cases (6th Amendment, "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed"). Rewriting the Constitution on this point is extremely unlikely (it would require major public support, which does not exist).

The right to trial for a criminal case involving only a fine or imprisonment for less than 6 months might be by bench trial (judge-only), depending on state. Also depending on state, a defendant may be able to waive that right.

I do not know of a fundamental i.e. an express Constitutional provision type legal reason that the US could not adopt the mixed lay+professional jury system found in Europe, but it is completely against the grain of the US's adversarial trial system, so the odds of changing the jury system in that way are about as low as the odds of repealing the 6th Amendment.

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  • "I do not know of a fundamental i.e. an express Constitutional provision type legal reason that the US could not adopt the mixed lay+professional jury system found in Europe" case law pretty much prohibits this approach through cases defining what constitutes a jury trial that satisfies the right. – ohwilleke Dec 26 '19 at 19:38
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Well you are entitled to a jury by the constitution in criminal proceedings. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/the-right-trial-jury.html

To change that we would have to change the constitution. It could be done, but no one really wants to.

Historically, trials without a jury were not conducted in a fair way and the judge or whoever was handing out punishment would favor certain people.

We understand what you mean by judges knowing the law, but that does not mean that the judge in the Oj Simpson trial would have not had the same concerns the jury did.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Dale M Nov 18 '19 at 1:23

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