According to a recent poll on jury duty, the answer is yes. Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed believe that a jury is fair and impartial all or most all of the time. Even more interestingly, half of those surveyed said they would expect a jury to give a fair verdict as opposed to a judge. Only 23% selected a judge over a jury (27% were unsure). In other words, by a margin of more than 2 to 1, we trust juries more than judges. Only 18% of African-Americans and 19% of Hispanics chose a judge.
Maybe our founding fathers were on to something with this whole “jury of our peers” thing. But I don’t think this is a knock on our judges. Instead, I think people would prefer to be judged by regular everyday people like themselves who are outside of the process.
In light of the recent Medtronic ruling and drug preemption cases pending before the Supreme Court, I would like to add one more question to the survey: Do you think a jury or the FDA is more likely to protect you and your family from a defectively designed pharmaceutical drug or medical device? Someone do this survey and send the results to the Supreme Court.
Thanks to the Florida Jury Selection Blog for the link to the study.