27 June 2005

Britain: Doing away with the jury.

1 comment:

Joe G said...

Well, yes. The problem with comparing "theirs" to "ours", whichever they may be involved, is that they have a different legal tradition.

What's that? You say we share the common law traditions going back to Blackstone?

Oh. Bullhockey I say. We share jack. Blackstone made almost no impression over there; we read him here in the new world because as colonies, we lacked a developed jurisprudence of our own. Our interpretation of Britain's common law (for 49 of the states, and D.C. and territories) has less in common with the Brits than with Louisiana, and maybe Canada, which have more daily culture in common, and shared experience.

Foreign legal systems are _foreign_. Thus, if they lack a right to remain mute (see the next post), it's because they don't just strike one balance differently, they have a raft of other differences. What's the punishment setup like? How many years does one get for manslaughter? Are there punishments for perjury (in a country where there's no right against self-incrimination, of course there's no penalty for perjury; if you ask an accused and they lie, what the hell did you expect? This is the accepted explanation for why Europe laughed at the impeachment of Clinton. Of *course* he lied when accused. Even more so when it was about sex, but the perjury really baffled them.)

Etc., etc., etc. We've half done away with the jury here now, see DUI Blog (which you point to so often). See also civil cases with the same diminishing of the jury right, like cases brought under ERISA.