The Case for Reasoned Criminal Trial Verdicts
34 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2012 Last revised: 17 Oct 2013
Date Written: 2009
Discussion in the paper focuses on instituting a requirement that juries in criminal cases make public the reasons for their verdicts. The nature of such a requirement is elaborated, as is the way in which defects in the reasons provided might serve as a basis for appealing convictions. Various arguments for adopting such a requirement are considered, as are objections to doing so. In support of the requirement, I contend that it would enable defendants in criminal cases to ensure that their procedural rights have been respected. Such a requirement can also be construed as a condition of the legitimacy of exercises of political power and as an implication of the right of each person to be treated with equal concern and respect. The main objections to such a requirement concern its possible interference with jury independence and the complications and inefficiencies appeals of reasoned verdicts would produce.
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