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Bernard M -- Taipei English Tutor

Bernard M - English Conversation / TOEFL / IELTS 一對一英文會話

Monday, September 15, 2008

A quote about juries By Alexis De Tocqueville (1805-1859)

This quote is from De Tocqueville's Democracy in America. It struck me since Taiwan does not use a jury system.
"The jury, and more especially the jury in civil cases, serves to communicate the spirit of the judges to the minds of all the citizens; and this spirit, with the habits which attend it, is the soundest preparation for free institutions. It imbues all classes with a respect for the thing judged, and with the notion of right. . . .It teaches men to practice equity, every man learns to judge his neighbor as he would himself be judged . . .The jury teaches every man not to recoil before the responsibility of his own actions, and impresses him with that manly confidence without which political virtue cannot exist . . . .

It may be regarded as a gratuitous public school ever open, in which every juror learns to exercise his rights, enters into daily communication with the most learned and enlightened members of the upper classes, and becomes practically acquainted with the laws of his country, which are brought within the reach of his capacity by the efforts of the bar, the advice of the judge, and even by the passions of the parties. I think that the practical intelligence and political good sense of the Americans are mainly attributable to the long use which they have made of the jury in civil causes. I do not know whether the jury is useful to those who are in litigation; but I am certain it is highly beneficial to those who decide the litigation; and I look upon it as one of the most efficacious means for the education of the people which society can employ."
Never having served on a jury, I'm not sure how much educational value the system has. But I'm convinced of the value of jury nullification and jury review which allow juries to ignore unjust and unconstitutional laws respectively.

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