Samantha Boddy MGT 350 Legal Environment of Business Professor Thor 7 November 2010 Jury Verdicts in Criminal Trials Unanimous verse less than Unanimous Jury verdicts in criminal trials should always be unanimous. In criminal trials the defendant faces life changing outcome. To allow anything less than an unanimous verdicts to determine life changing decisions is out of the question.
While departing from the unanimity requirement may decrease the costs of mistrials without affecting the ability of the jury-trial process to arrive at correct; outcomes, by looking at the prosecutions main objective, jury deliberation, and the Constitution, I will support why verdicts in criminal trials should always be unanimous. Currently, in the United States legal system, criminal procedure puts the burden of proof on the prosecution. That is, it is up to the prosecution to prove that the defendant is guilty beyond any reasonable doubt, as opposed to having the defense prove that s/he is innocent.
The term beyond reasonable doubt implies to the jury as individuals as well as the whole. By not considering all jurors in the decision, the United States legal system is being undermined. By having verdicts in criminal trials always be unanimous, it gives the jurors a sense of empowerment. This juror empowerment will feed the deliberation by stimulating conversation. When people know that their decisions have meaning there tends to be stronger more meaningful conversations.
With the outcome to criminal trials possibly ending in the death penalty an engaged and empowered jury will push to secure a full thought-out decision. Abraham Lincoln said it himself ‘… Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth. ” If we allow a less than unanimous decision to convict in a criminal trial we are going against what our forefathers had intended for us as a nation. Defendants innocent or guilty depend on the jury to weigh all the evidence.
If for some reason a juror has a slight doubt that the defendant is innocent then the “people” cannot convict. The value of the deliberative process goes beyond individual defendants and trial verdicts. Unanimity enhances the criminal process because society—more often than not—views a unanimous criminal verdict as the pronouncement of the community. It puts a stamp of legitimacy on the efforts of the prosecutor, the court, and the jury. This is why jury verdicts in criminal trials should always be unanimous. Work Cited Lincoln, Abraham. Gettysburg Address. 2010. 01 Nov. 2010 .