While I will have to admit that what I don’t know about America’s legal system would fill volumes, I think a change in our jury system might be in order.
If someone is charged with first-degree murder and would face the death sentence or life in prison if convicted, I think most reasonable people would agree that the jury should be required to return a unanimous verdict of guilty to carry out the punishment. However, in other cases I can’t understand why one or two holdouts should carry more weight than the other 10 or 11.
It’s hard to get 12 people to agree on what day of the week it is let alone the guilt or innocence of someone who is charged with a crime.
A great example is the seemingly never-ending trial/s of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. After months of damning testimony by the government and countless hours of defense by his lawyers, one holdout juror’s opinion carried more weight than that of the other 11.
I think justice would be served just as well (or even better) if the vote of 10 out of 12 jurors would determine the final outcome of the guilt or innocence of those charged with crimes against the people.
I won’t hold my breath until the system is changed.