美国为什么还需要陪审团制度 Why Does the United States Still Need a Jury System?

 

南风窗网
2015-06-27
星期六 美国为什么还需要陪审团制度——对话美国夏威夷首席法官Shackley F. Raffetto就像其他国家一样,美国无法杜绝犯罪和腐败,但是,美国的司法系统是解决这些纠纷和问题的保证。

美国的陪审团制度,起源于英国。时至今日,这种比美国国家历史还要长久的审判制度,它所起的作用,尤其是对刑事审判案的判决作用和后果,并不总是受到 好评,原因是它曾经数次出现过放走坏人和冤枉好人的审判结果。学术界甚至对此有些争论,认为这种制度没有必要在当今的美国或者其他国家再实施了。法律心理 学教授彼得·J·梵克彭(Peter J. van Koppen)就曾撰文:“陪审团庭审—‘反对’”,认为陪审团庭审比法官庭审(由一位或多位法官作出裁决的庭审)更加复杂;陪审团庭审还要耗费大量的时 间和人力;辩诉交易中,这种制度下处理的案件大都没有人来真正评估证据,缺乏公众监督,而且检方的权力过大。

同时,也有相反的观点,法学教授尼尔·维德马(Neil Vidmar)与瓦莱丽·汉斯(Valerie Hans)共同撰写的《美国陪审团及其裁决》(American Juries: The Verdict)一书,则认为:人们在当过陪审员后,不仅会对司法体制有更高的评价,而且会更积极地参与公民事务,也更乐意参加社区志愿服务。事实有力地 说明不仅陪审团成员是胜任的裁断者,而且陪审团制度还是一个重要的民主机制。

陪审团审判制度的实施,初衷就是为了最大限度减少“人为”的因素对案子审判的干扰。从司法实践来看,今天,在实施陪审团庭审制度国家的大多数公民还是 愿意选择有陪审团的庭审方式,因为这个世界上并不存在完美无缺的制度,而是在实施的过程中,不断完善制度的设计才是最现实和理性的态度。当然,这并不代表 陪审团制度适用于其他国家。美国大法官Raffetto先生有数十年的专业法官的生涯,对陪审团审判制度有他的专业见解。

陪审团制度的问题

 《南风窗》:美国陪审团成立之初到今天已经超过200年的历史了,从现实的司法实践中我们也看到:陪审团庭审制度错综复杂、费用高昂,导致大多数被告不得不接受以隐秘方式达成的辩诉交易,这是否违背了它当初成立的初衷?

Raffetto:的确,与只有一位法官庭审的案件相比,陪审团庭审的成本比较高。但是,它并不复杂,事实上还是比较容易操作的。因为这200多年 来,已经有成千上万个普通的美国公民履行了陪审员的职责,如果这套系统太复杂的话是不可能持续到今天的。陪审团庭审制实施的初衷就是希望广大的普通公民能 够成功参与其中。因此,在公民参与司法公正的过程中,由此产生很强的法制观念和规则,这正是我们所希望的,为此付出额外的成本是值得的。

请记住:被告人是有权利选择陪审团庭审的,他们往往不希望被一个法官判决,而是希望通过陪审团庭审的方式来选择对他们自己有利的审判。很少有人希望只 有一个法官的审判,所以被告认为陪审团制度是最公平和公正的。只有少数非普通的案件是由一个法官单独审判判决。大多数被告人不是因为不相信法官的审判是公 正的,而是他们更愿意相信这些普通的陪审团成员会公平判决。

有关辩诉交易,我不认为是由此导致被告人被迫接受。事实上,他们之所以同意这种方式,通常是因为警察的调查证明了他们的罪行,被告人和他们的律师意识 到这一点,他们通常能够通过这种方式认罪,这样比起通过审判最后被判有罪来讲,显然是对被告人更有利,从效率的角度来看,也是比较快的。其次,辩诉交易方 式并非是秘密进行的,它是通过法官的严格审查后,方可生效。至于对被告来说,一切在法庭里是公开的,他们的整个细节,包括写认罪协议,都不是秘不可宣的, 任何人(包括媒体)想看这些东西都可以看到。媒体可以去法院,要求法院的书记员提供庭审文件并可复印,也可刊登在媒体上。辩诉交易的司法审查是在公开法庭 进行的,任何公民都可来法院听庭审,媒体也可拍照。判决前,法庭允许被告人采用辩诉交易方式,然后在公开法庭庭审。审查对被告的指控,被告可能的抗辩(确 保被告人理解),特别是被告对辩诉交易的各个方面的了解,愿意接受它作为他的最有利的选择,以及这是出于自愿和理解。

如果法官发现被告人似乎并不是全部了解辩诉交易的条款,他会要求被告人慎重地重新考虑是否决定要这样做。又或者法官发现被告人并不了解所提出的条款, 那么法官有权利拒绝辩诉交易,他会把案子发回法庭重审。因此,这不会出现秘密交易或者仓促决定的行为。被告采用辩诉交易,完全是他自己认为这是对他最有 利,而不是被迫接受的。尽管我们有很多案子,每个人都希望是通过法院的审判来了结案子,但是法院也不会因此就强迫被告人采用辩诉交易。只有在案子是非常严 重的情况下,被告人才会被关押在监狱里直到审判,在大多数情况下他/她会被保释。除非他/她有其他犯罪行为违反保释条件。在面对非常严重的案子,如谋杀, 那么被告常常会留在监狱直到审判,主要原因是因为被告对公众是非常危险的。…

  

 

 

South Reviews
2015-06-27
Saturday [target]Why Does the United States Still Need a Jury System? A Conversation With Chief Judge Shackley F. Raffetto of Hawaii, U.S.A.Like other countries, the United States has no way of stopping crime and corruption. But its judiciary system is a guarantee that these conflicts and problems will be resolved.

The jury system used in the United States originated in England. So far, the effects of this system—a system that is older than the U.S. itself—hasn’t always gotten good reviews, especially when it comes to criminal trials. The reason is that the use of juries has often resulted in releasing the guilty and wronging the innocent. In fact, some within academic circles say there’s no longer a need today for such a system in America or any country. Forensic psychology professor Peter J. Van Koppen has authored “Trial by Jury—‘Against’,” in which he asserts that jury trials are more complicated than bench trials (trials decided by one or more judges) and require an inordinate amount of time and manpower. Furthermore, he states, when it comes to plea agreements, the majority of cases have no one truly evaluating the evidence, lack public oversight, and grant too much power to the prosecution.

There is, however, an opposing view. American Juries: The Verdict, coauthored by law professors Neil Vidmar and Valerie Hans, states that after serving on a jury, people not only value the judicial system more, but they also more enthusiastically involve themselves in citizens’ affairs and more willingly volunteer in their communities.  The facts, the book asserts, strongly indicate that not only are jurors competent decision makers, but the jury system is an important mechanism of a democracy.

The original intent of the jury trial system was to decrease as much as possible the “human factor” in deciding cases. Today, most citizens in countries that have a jury trial system willingly choose trials by jury because there is no perfect system in the world, and so the most realistic, rational approach is to keep trying improve a system in the course of using it. This doesn’t mean, of course, that a jury system is suitable in other countries. Mr. Raffetto, a high-ranking U.S. judge with a career spanning dozens of years, has his professional opinions about the jury trial system.

Problems With the Jury System

South Reviews: It’s been over 200 years since the first U.S. juries were established. We can see from the implementation of the judicial system that the jury trial system is complex and complicated, expensive, and causes most defendants to feel compelled to accept secretly negotiated plea bargains. Does this go against its original intentions?

Raffeto: It’s true that trials by jury cost more than trials by judge.  But they’re not more complicated. They’re actually simpler. Over these 200-plus years, legions of ordinary American citizens have performed jury duty. If this system were overly complicated, it wouldn’t have survived until today. The intention of jury trials is to allow the masses of ordinary citizens to participate successfully. As a result of taking part in a fair judicial process, they gain a very strong sense of the legal system and its rules. This is precisely our hope. Spending more for this is worth it.

Remember, defendants have the right to choose to be tried by a jury. They often don’t want to be tried by a judge. They’d rather have, through the jury trial method, a trial that benefits them. Very few people want to be tried by just one judge. So defendants feel that the jury trial system is the most fair and just.  Only a minority of unusual cases are tried by a single judge.  It’s not that most defendants don’t trust judges’ decisions to be fair. It’s that they trust even more that ordinary jurors will be fair.

Regarding plea agreements, I disagree that it’s the jury system that leads defendants to feel compelled to accept them.  In most cases the actual reason defendants agree to this method is because police investigations have already proven their guilt. When defendants and their lawyers know this, they can generally use this method to accept guilt. Compared to being found guilty after a trial, this is clearly better for the defendant. From the standpoint of efficiency, it’s also faster. Also, plea bargaining isn’t done in secret. The agreements become effective only after a judge’s rigorous examination. Everything in the courtroom concerning the accused is public. All the details, including the writing of a guilty plea agreement, is open information, and anyone (including the media) can see these things if they want to. The media can go to the court and ask the clerk of the court for documents from the trial and photocopy them. They can also publish them. And judicial reviews of plea bargains are conducted in open courts. Any citizen can come listen, and the media can take photos. Before making a ruling, the court allows the defendant to use the plea bargaining method and then the matter is brought to an open court. The court reviews the charge against the defendant and the defendant’s possible counter pleas (and ensures that the defendant understands them), and especially makes sure the defendant understands all aspects of the plea agreement and wants to accept it as his most advantageous choice. Also it makes sure the defendant is acting on his own free will and understanding.

If the judge finds that the defendant doesn’t seem to fully understand the provisions of the plea agreement, he’ll ask the defendant to carefully reconsider whether he wants to go through with this method. Or if the judge finds that the defendant indeed doesn’t understand the provisions, he has the power to reject the plea agreement. He’ll then return the case to the court for a retrial. That’s why there wouldn’t be any secret bargaining or hasty decision-making. If the defendant goes for a plea bargain, it will be entirely because he feels it’s beneficial to him, not because he was forced to. Even if we have a lot of cases and everyone wants to resolve them with a courtroom trial, the court still wouldn’t force defendants into plea bargaining. Only when a case is very serious will a defendant be kept in jail until trial. In the majority of cases he/she will be released on bail. The exception is if he/she has shown other criminal behavior that violates the conditions of bail. If the case is extremely serious, such as murder, then the defendant usually will remain in prison until trial, mainly because the person will be extremely dangerous to the public.  …