Thomas Sowell

 There is no reason why the identity of the jurors has to be known by the media. The whole jury could be put behind one-way glass, so that they can see the proceedings but cannot be seen. It can be made a felony to publish their names.

 The requirement for unanimous jury verdicts is long overdue for reconsideration. One pig-headed juror can cause not only a costly mistrial but also verdicts that do not reflect the seriousness of the crime.

 People who commit murder should be convicted of murder, not manslaughter because one juror is too squeamish to risk the death penalty. There are too many people around who think they have "a right to my own opinion," as they put it, which translates as: "My mind is made up, so don't confuse me with the facts."

 The time is also long overdue to reconsider the current practice of having jurors selected with vetoes by the lawyers in the case. When prospective jurors are given 30-page questionnaires made up by lawyers, asking intrusive questions about their personal lives and beliefs, the situation has gotten completely out of hand.

 Courts do not exist for the sake of lawyers but for the sake of the public. Allowing lawyers to fish around in hopes of finding one mushhead who can save their client makes no sense.

 Anonymous jurors, selected by lottery, and not restricted to unanimous verdicts, should be good enough for anyone in an inherently imperfect world. In such a system, cranks and ideologues would not have nearly the leverage that they do now.

 There could also be professional jurors, trained in the law, for cases involving complex legal issues. That would cost more -- or rather, the cost would be visible in money, rather than hidden in the corruption of the legal system, the way it is now.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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