Citizen Participation in Japanese Criminal Trials: Reimagining the Right to Trial by Jury in the United States
North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation, Vol. 37, No. 3, 2012
68 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2013
Date Written: March 27, 2012
If the United States were to reform contemporary jury trials to match the Founders’ conception of the right to trial by jury, how might they look? In recent years, we have gained insight into how to answer that question from an unlikely source: Japan.
This Article examines the introduction of citizen participation into the Japanese judicial system (the saiban-in seido) from a different perspective. Rather than focusing on the contemporary American jury system, this Article evaluates the Japanese reforms in light of the Founders’ conception of the right to trial by jury. It is this conception of the right to trial by jury, rather than its modern formulation, that positively influenced the creation and adoption of the saiban-in seido. Moreover, American legal scholars and professionals should closely evaluate the reforms in Japan to determine how aspects of the new Japanese system might be introduced in the United States to more fully effectuate the Founders’ conception of the right to trial by jury.
Keywords: trial by jury, comparative law, japan, legal history, international law, criminal juries, criminal procedure
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