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Sometimes a defendant testifies. Sometimes they don't.
believe that Juries are instructed that whether or not a
defendant testifies is not evidence for or against them.
addition, we have the 5th amendment here where the
defendant is not required to answer a question, but a
despite instructions to the contrary, is likely to be
influenced if it appears that the defendant is hiding
In addition, a jury is likely to be influenced by a
who is a very good actor. Someone who is very nervous
can often appear guilty, even if they are innocent.
When sentencing occurs, the level of remorse of the
defendant is often considered, but someone who
to be falsely convicted may show no remorse, and a
psychopath who is likely to re-offend might be a very
Even the act of pleading guilty or not guilty should not
really affect the sentence. The logic is that if a person
admits they are wrong, they are less dangerous, but in
reality it's mainly just a game played through the
If the lawyer thinks the evidence is too great, they may
advise pleading guilty or even work out a plea bargain
pleading guilty to a lesser crime. A guilty plea should
be allowed for someone who really is guilty and doesn't
want to sit through a long trial, but it shouldn't change
So to a large degree, other than helping pointing out
that may invalidate the prosecution's evidence, the
defendant should not really be involved in the trial. The
important thing about the right of the defendant to face
their accuser is so that they can be aware of all of the
proceedings of their trial since each person is their own
best advocate. Also witnesses should generally be
to face the person they are accusing.
Therefore I propose that courtrooms be rearranged so
jury never actually sees the defendant. The defendant
should sit next to the jury with a wall of separation so
the defendant and the Jury have a similar view of the
courtroom. The defendant should have a way to observe
the jury, and should probably have access to video tapes
since they can't watch the prosecution, judge and jury at
the same time. The defendant would not be called a a
witness, but could present facts to the court through the
This would reinforce to the jury that justice is blind. It
would reduce prejudices. It would prevent people who
have a false sense of their ability to judge a person
on appearance or demeanor from incorrectly making a
decision based on the acting ability of the defendant.
I wonder if the name of the defendant, or even the
gender, should be withheld from the Jury. Of course
gender would be especially hard to enforce since a
could easily refer to the defendant with a gender specific
Okay, there are probably some good reasons this isn't a
good idea, but it seemed like an interesting concept to
throw out there.
The Man With The Stick
[calum, Nov 14 2014]
||Perhaps hide the jury from each other as well? What about people who defend themselves? What about other, general things?
||If the jury can't see the defendant,
they'll focus on the lawyers. If they can't see either,
they'll focus on the voice. If it's all done through writing,
the word choice will matter. The only way to achieve
what you are looking for would be for the entire trial to
be conducted anonymously in writing, with the same
person re-writing the arguments from both sides in order
to remove any vocabulary or grammar influences
(probably through more than one layer of rewrites).
||I sometimes think we go a little far in our(desperate) quest to keep the jury isolated from relevant facts. Like not being able to mention a history of sex crimes during a trial for (more) sex crimes. I personally think that's rather pertinent information.
||Likewise, I think the demeanour of the defendent really is part of the picture. Certainly their answers under cross-examination are relevant, although I think that badgering or goading the defendent should be prevented.
||//What about other, general things?// Nice one.
||I don't think that anyone on trial for their life or even
facing time can be judged based on how they
emotionally react to the charges. I think
depression would quickly set in and make a person
emotionless as a basic coping mechanism. So I'm
dubious of the whole "shows remorse" factor weight
in any decision.
||Well, at least it's not in...oh, wait - Sorry. It IS in other general.
||Sorry, I thought the system used to automatically
put it in the category I was browsing when I create
a new idea. I forgot to check. Fixed...
||Just as an aside to this discussion - I did jury service in a Coroner's court (i.e. deciding what happened in cases of suspicious deaths) and any member of the jury is allowed to cross-examine witnesses - an excellent way to run a courtroom.
||//Sorry, I thought the system used to automatically put it in the category I was browsing when I create a new idea.//
||If you're viewing an idea, it does. If you're in the category, it does not.
||Actually, getting questioned by the jury seems like
a reasonable good idea (of course somewhat
incompatible with this idea). That ought to be
less intimidating for an innocent person because
unlike the prosecuting attorney, the jury is just
trying to find the truth, not attempting to get a
conviction. It might also be good because
normally you have the whole jury listening for
inconsistencies in the testimony, but only the
lawyers can ask follow up questions and one
person may miss something that a jury member
||Of course it could sometimes get weird if there's a
jury member who has seen too many courtroom
dramas and wants to try and trick the defendant
into incriminating themselves.
||Not all jury members subscribe to a standard set of logic in their questions. Personally, I'd rather have my guilt decided by an advanced level AI.
||// The only way to achieve what you are looking for
would be for the entire trial to be conducted
anonymously in writing, with the same person re-
writing the arguments from both sides in order to
remove any vocabulary or grammar influences
(probably through more than one layer of
||Assuming I am the defendant, I volunteer to hide myself on a remote beach, possibly in Asia, just public spirited me.
||Yes, perhaps just leave the defendant in the cells.
||//The only way to achieve what you are looking for would be for the entire trial to be conducted anonymously in writing, with the same person re-writing the arguments from both sides in order to remove any vocabulary or grammar influences (probably through more than one layer of rewrites).//
||That person would need to be an entirely disinterested third party to remove any bias.
||I was thinking about running it through like a 5-10 language
google translate loop, making sure to include at least three
different language families to make sure the roots get really
messed up. That's about the most neutral approach I can
||Or you could parcel out single sentences or paragraphs to
different people, such that none of them really have the
sense of the argument being made.
||I think that we have identified the core problem with the typical western model of justice: it involves people. If we can effectively dehumanise the accused, they will be prevented from swaying the jurors (or the judge in summary cases) with their face, appearance, bearing etc. Perhaps the most cost effective fix is to make them wear (a) a large head mask like the Man With The Stick or (b) a cardboard box robot costume.
||If proceedings took place in pitch darkness, there would be less prejudice for or against defendants, and also judges who were asleep, or jurors who slipped out of their clothes because it was hot.
||In darkness, with all communication by morse code, tapped with canes?
||//other than helping pointing out facts that may invalidate the prosecution's evidence, the defendant should not really be involved in the trial//
Isn't that just another way of saying that the defendant *should* be involved with the trial? After all, what do you think that the defendant's testimony is?
||Well, surely the best way is not to tell the defendant he's on trial somewhere, just do the whole thing in secret. Also saves the defendant getting stressed out and/or having to take time off work.