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  Reply # 1958872 16-Feb-2018 08:29
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I noticed when I was "challenged " I still got paid by the courts for attending. 


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  Reply # 1958934 16-Feb-2018 09:15
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matabo:

 

I noticed when I was "challenged " I still got paid by the courts for attending. 

 

 

Yes they do pay for the part of the day it takes to either not get picked, or get challenged and released.

 

The geek in me always spends the first part of jury service gritting my teeth at how slow and inefficient the selection process is. I mean, roll calls and picking names from a hat is ridiculous. If they sent a barcode with the jury summons, scanned you in when you arrive, manually enter the 20% who forget their paperwork, then push a button to randomly select 40 people, call their names out. They'd have their jury pools sorted by 9:30 and everyone else could go home. The defense and prosecution would have the list at hand before the pool entered the courtroom, then another button push, and 12 names called out for possible challenge, fill in the gaps, done. Everyone else is back at work before morning smoko. Then the court can automatically send a fine to everyone that didn't turn up.


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  Reply # 1958946 16-Feb-2018 09:41
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But it's tradition. It is why lawyers still spout Latin phrases and wear wigs.

 

 





I reject your reality and substitute my own. - Adam Savage
 


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  Reply # 1959007 16-Feb-2018 10:51
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Rikkitic:

 

But it's tradition. It is why lawyers still spout Latin phrases and wear wigs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a lot of tradition, that is true.

 

 

 

For example, in British courts, if a barrister were to appear improperly dressed, the judge would simply say "I cannot see you, Mr X" meaning that, improperly dressed, the barrister does not exist before the court.

 

My godfather was a Master in the Royal Courts of Justice (a QC who carries out various management and procedural hearings in a similar capacity as a Judge, primarily for civil proceedings) and when I was studying law, I went to see him at work a few times. 

 

Sometimes I regret not becoming a lawyer. I did enjoy the quiet intellectual challenge studying law gave me (I only studied one specific area of law as part of a wider degree but in some detail for 3 years).

 

Perhaps when Jacinda makes all three years of study free I'll go and do a law degree...! wink






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  Reply # 1959616 17-Feb-2018 14:30
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networkn:

 

Isn't a $1000 fine per day until you show up, also a conviction? 

 

 

 

 

The "fine" is so rarely levied that it's almost like the anti-lotto, you are very unlikely to win it, and that's good.  It is 99.9% bluster on behalf of the registrar to make you think that if you don't turn up you'll get a fine in the mail, this is not the case, it's a fine that must be issued by a court (that is, a judge) not an infringement which can just be posted out like a speeding ticket.

 

 

 

This is because levying the fine is time consuming (it is not a simple in-the-mail infringement, you have to be brought before the court and afforded the opportunity to explain your absence, it is an actual court (ie Judge)  issued fine) and with the large amount of no-shows (something like 25% I think on average) the courts would grind to a halt just chasing no-shows to fine them.  Add to that you also get the ability to Appeal because for the purposes of Appeals it's treated as a sentence. 

 

Can you imagine 40,000 people a year being brought before the courts to be fined $1000, and then having the right to appeal.

 

http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1981/0023/latest/whole.html#DLM44839

 

 

 

Pretty much the only time you are likely to get hauled in is if there are not enough jurors to form a jury.  Expected no-shows are taken into account when the jury pool is summonsed, because not having enough jurors in the pool leads to big problems, and as a result of that, it very rarely happens.

 

 

 

I will leave others to google for the semi-regular articles from journos who do an OIA to find out that one person in the country in the last decade or something was fined.

 

 

 

Of course, if you do get summonsed for a jury, and you can do it, you should do.  Equally if you can't you should defer it the first time (these days they will push you to defer rather than apply for excusal the first time), and if you still can't when you get called back for your deferred date you should apply to be excused then (they can not defer you again, but they can excuse you then), but if they don't excuse you and you really can't do it, conveniently forgetting is at present most unlikely to get you in any trouble at all, financial or otherwise.

 

 





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James Sleeman
I sell lots of stuff for electronic enthusiasts...


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  Reply # 1959652 17-Feb-2018 17:53
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I think that the bit about jury duty that irks me the most is that it's MPs, lawyers and judges who keep telling us that it's important, we need to do our duty and turn up, and we will be punished if we don't.

 

Which in a way is fair enough.

 

However, those three groups are themselves (by law) exempt from having to do jury duty themselves. They don't have to suffer the loss or inconvenience from doing what they make others do.

 

If they want to keep applying compulsion, then I do support removing these exemptions.

 

After all, why would a lawyer make a bad juror? They could still be excused a trial if they had a conflict of interest or knew the accused, just like the rest of us.


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Reply # 1959695 17-Feb-2018 19:46
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JimmyH:

 

After all, why would a lawyer make a bad juror? They could still be excused a trial if they had a conflict of interest or knew the accused, just like the rest of us.

 

 

Plenty of good reasons, if you would just engage the mind a bit and consider the facts, rather than just attacking these people right away.

 

There's a very clear role differentiation in jury trials: the jurors apply the facts to the legal tests/criteria given to them by the judge to determine the accused's guilt; the judge's responsibility is to determine the law and to ensure the trial is conducted in accordance with the law as the judge understands it to be. The theory is that whatever a juror thinks of the law, they will faithfully follow the judicial directions in assessing the accused's guilt. If the defence can establish at the Court of Appeal that the judge's statement of the law was incorrect and that the accused was materially disadvantaged to the extent that the trial was unfair, the verdict will be vacated and, in most cases, a re-trial ordered. Other times the CA may order a stay of proceedings or the prosecution elects not to go forward with the case again.

 

Can you imagine, for example, Judge A from the High Court being able to faithfully follow District Court Judge B's direction of what constitutes rape when Judge A is convinced that the direction is wrong? In the case of a lawyer, they are at all times officers of the court owing duties to the court to alert it to things such as procedural impropriety and so forth, yet under the law jury deliberation is also absolutely sacrosanct and cannot be disclosed outside of the deliberation room. This is an impossible ethical conflict for a lawyer to manage.

 

As for why you don't want a politician being a juror, come on, do you really need someone to explain to you why? Just imagine a controversial case over which the community is hugely divided or has strong feelings. Rumour mill swirls that Politician C is on the jury and the jury acquits the guy and/or convicts him. The mob might get angry. You don't think the politician might allow irrelevant considerations to enter into his/her head during deliberations and/or even attempt to sway others with such irrelevancies?

 

Free hint: these important issues and policies are mostly reasonably well thought-through and most common law countries apply similar rules. You're unlikely to be so clever that you've come upon some hitherto unknown great reason(s) that demonstrate their utter moral bankruptcy. So before spouting off next time, can I heartily suggest thinking through the issues a bit harder. Or, better yet, refrain from commenting from a position of ignorance?

 

 

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 1959751 17-Feb-2018 23:08
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It's a strange system and I know some jurisdictions have done away with jury trials in favour of judge only for some kind of offences.

 

For example, even the most sainted of human beings usually have some sort of prejudice somewhere - never mind the less than sainted ones - and there is no way they are not going to colour their views of defendants, offences etc etc.






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  Reply # 1959754 17-Feb-2018 23:19
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Yeah it is strange - if the professionals in the area (e.g judges) aren't allowed to participate on juries because they're not expected to be able to rein in their biases, then shouldn't this expectation be even lower for laypersons?


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  Reply # 1959767 18-Feb-2018 06:15
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dejadeadnz: In the case of a lawyer, they are at all times officers of the court owing duties to the court to alert it to things such as procedural impropriety and so forth, yet under the law jury deliberation is also absolutely sacrosanct and cannot be disclosed outside of the deliberation room. This is an impossible ethical conflict for a lawyer to manage.


What would happen if one of the jurors was threatening other jurors? Or became aware of another receiving money/being threatened. There must be an avenue for them to inform. (I have never been asked to be on a jury). Surly the lawyer could use that without violating their ethical code.

As far as the politician how is it different from any famous person? Obviously front benchers, prime ministers etc are different but back benchers?

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  Reply # 1959819 18-Feb-2018 09:45
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paulchinnz:

 

Yeah it is strange - if the professionals in the area (e.g judges) aren't allowed to participate on juries because they're not expected to be able to rein in their biases, then shouldn't this expectation be even lower for laypersons?

 

 

You didn't read what I wrote properly if this is your "conclusion". I never wrote that professionals aren't allowed to participate on juries because they're not expected to be able to rein in their biases. Let's try unpacking the argument again:

 

There's a very clear role differentiation in jury trials: the jurors apply the facts to the legal tests/criteria given to them by the judge to determine the accused's guilt; the judge's responsibility is to determine the law and to ensure the trial is conducted in accordance with the law as the judge understands it to be. The theory is that whatever a juror thinks of the law, they will faithfully follow the judicial directions in assessing the accused's guilt. 

 

The words "role differentiation" are the key. You can't seriously expect people who are perhaps of equal intelligence and experience in the law to somehow have to operate in a space where Judge A (as a juror) has to force himself to faithfully assess an accused's guilt or otherwise on the basis of instructions that he/she knows to be incorrect (because trial judges do make mistakes). If you're tempted to say "Isn't it better in that case that Judge A goes and applies the correct test and tells the rest of the jury what it is and everyone does the right thing?", then you really don't understand that this kind of role differentiation is an essential assumption/component of jury trials. As soon as you have a "free for all", in the absence of juries having to provide written reasons, the basis of their decisions become even more questionable.

 

I am not defending jury trials -- there are few things in the system that I hate more. But you really can't have this system without clearly confined roles for all players.

 

And your argument above assumes that all people should care about is how Judge A will handle him or herself. And that's totally wrongheaded. The other reason why you don't want him or her on the jury is that, human nature being what it is, Judge A will tell everybody that he or she is a judge. An undue level of mana will inevitably be attached to his or her every word just because it came from the person. Again, if you want jury trials, its supposed benefit is that you'll get a bunch of people of roughly equal or similar voices, with no particular expertise or inside knowledge of the system, sitting together and collaboratively working through the issues. The chances of you having that is far lower with a judge on the jury as.

 

blackjack17:

 

What would happen if one of the jurors was threatening other jurors? Or became aware of another receiving money/being threatened. There must be an avenue for them to inform. (I have never been asked to be on a jury). Surly the lawyer could use that without violating their ethical code.

As far as the politician how is it different from any famous person? Obviously front benchers, prime ministers etc are different but back benchers?

 

 

 

A juror aware of situations you described above can only go to the jury foreman or the judge directly. In the case of the latter, the judge will be very circumspect around what questions he/she will ask and what the jury member is allowed to disclose. The judge can also poll the jury members in open court after a verdict is reached to see if there was undue influence and so forth. None of this is remotely comparable to the ordinary duty of an officer of the court to be fulsome in terms of disclosing all facts.

 

 

 

And a backbencher who might be nobody to most people in NZ can still be very known locally within his or her electorate and under pressure to be re-elected. Why would you take that risk with some person's liberty?

 

 

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 1959899 18-Feb-2018 14:18
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@dejadeadnz re role differentiation, my point is that if a judge were allowed to be a juror, she might be expected to be professional enough to change roles and not allow her usual job as a judge to bias her role as a juror. I acknowledge the point that Judge A will have a difficult job as juror if she knew the instructions from the trial's judge were incorrect. However, this is a bias of Judge A's, as it could be considered to unfairly affect Judge A's ability to 'apply the facts to the legal tests/criteria given to them by the judge'. As you say, trial judges make mistakes, and so Judge A needs to acknowledge to herself that she may be mistaken in thinking the trial judge has given incorrect instructions. Being an expert of the law, Judge A might be expected to have a superior ability for recognising and setting aside her biases, compared to laypeople.

 

Nevertheless, I can see the point about minimising bias and excluding judges from participating as jurors is one way of doing it.

 

As a follow-up: are judges from other countries allowed to be jurors in NZ? (e.g. someone who holds dual citizenship with NZ and is a judge in the other country)


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  Reply # 1959953 18-Feb-2018 16:04
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dejadeadnz:

 

There's a very clear role differentiation in jury trials: the jurors apply the facts to the legal tests/criteria given to them by the judge to determine the accused's guilt [...]

 

 

It's a question of hats, and easily solved. If they were on a jury then a judge, lawyer or MP would have the role of a juror, not that of a judge, officer of the court or politician. They law could easily make it clear that when they are on a jury, they are their in that capacity and not their other capacity.

 

dejadeadnz:

 

Can you imagine, for example, Judge A from the High Court being able to faithfully follow District Court Judge B's direction of what constitutes rape when Judge A is convinced that the direction is wrong?

 

 

Yes. Just as I can imagine another juror failing to follow a judges direction if they were convinced it was wrong. Or a juror deciding on other then the basis of the evidence or expert testimony presented if they thought that was wrong too (eg a geneticist in a criminal trial involving DNA, an accountant in a fraud trial involving forensic accounting). It happens now.

 

dejadeadnz:

 

As for why you don't want a politician being a juror, come on, do you really need someone to explain to you why? Just imagine a controversial case over which the community is hugely divided or has strong feelings.

 

 

As opposed to, say, a town mayor or Bob McCoskrie being on a jury? Which can happen just fine now.

 

I can see a case for a Minister being excluded, but not a strong case for a backbench MP.

 

dejadeadnz:

 

You're unlikely to be so clever that you've come upon some hitherto unknown great reason(s) that demonstrate their utter moral bankruptcy. So before spouting off next time, can I heartily suggest thinking through the issues a bit harder. Or, better yet, refrain from commenting from a position of ignorance?

 

 

Whatever.

 

But you are better rebutting the points made than launching ad hominem attacks on the person making them. My point was that the legal professions lofty pronouncements on the public duty of others would carry more moral weight and credibility if they also had to fulfill the same duty. If you think that makes me a ranting ignoramus, I guess there's not much I can do about that.


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  Reply # 1959976 18-Feb-2018 16:27
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BlueShift:

 

matabo:

 

I noticed when I was "challenged " I still got paid by the courts for attending. 

 

 

Yes they do pay for the part of the day it takes to either not get picked, or get challenged and released.

 

The geek in me always spends the first part of jury service gritting my teeth at how slow and inefficient the selection process is. I mean, roll calls and picking names from a hat is ridiculous. If they sent a barcode with the jury summons, scanned you in when you arrive, manually enter the 20% who forget their paperwork, then push a button to randomly select 40 people, call their names out. They'd have their jury pools sorted by 9:30 and everyone else could go home. The defense and prosecution would have the list at hand before the pool entered the courtroom, then another button push, and 12 names called out for possible challenge, fill in the gaps, done. Everyone else is back at work before morning smoko. Then the court can automatically send a fine to everyone that didn't turn up.

 

 

Cant agree more to what Blueshift has said.  

 

I have been  called up for Jury Service twice and selected once. I took a magazine as I was prepared to wait a loooong time doing nothing until I was selected, or in the second case never selected in the court room. My case ended the same day but I think it was an interesting experience to learn a little about the court procedures.  " beyond reasonable doubt' was something that had some of us struggle before agreeing on a verdict.

 

 

 

My wife was called for service about a year after the earthquakes and got excused as we wrote that she feels nervous being inside buildings for a long period of time.  


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  Reply # 1960037 18-Feb-2018 19:17
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BlueShift:

matabo:


I noticed when I was "challenged " I still got paid by the courts for attending. 



Yes they do pay for the part of the day it takes to either not get picked, or get challenged and released.


The geek in me always spends the first part of jury service gritting my teeth at how slow and inefficient the selection process is. I mean, roll calls and picking names from a hat is ridiculous. If they sent a barcode with the jury summons, scanned you in when you arrive, manually enter the 20% who forget their paperwork, then push a button to randomly select 40 people, call their names out. They'd have their jury pools sorted by 9:30 and everyone else could go home. The defense and prosecution would have the list at hand before the pool entered the courtroom, then another button push, and 12 names called out for possible challenge, fill in the gaps, done. Everyone else is back at work before morning smoko. Then the court can automatically send a fine to everyone that didn't turn up.



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