here’s one i made earlier

i drew this (well, outlined some of the countries on this map!) a couple of weeks ago thinking it might correlate with todd’s family systems or the hajnal line or something, but it doesn’t really seem to. well, maybe. kinda/sorta. or not.

what this is is a map of which european countries have jury trials or not — or something in between.

i based this on this paper here: “A Comparison of Criminial Jury Decision Rules in Democratic Countries” [opens pdf]. the author looked at which countries have jury trials for criminal cases. he defined a jury as: “a group of more than three unelected laypersons who are selected or appointed to sit in judgment on a criminal case at the trial level; such laypersons are not generally ‘professionalized’ jurors and may be involved in deciding questions of fact, law, and/or punishment. Groups of professional lay judges who serve over long periods of time, elected laypersons, and very small numbers of lay assessors sitting with professional judges do not constitute a jury for my purposes here.” iow, he was looking for where you would be judged by a jury of your peers.

the color-code is:

– yellow = countries with (mostly) ‘pure’ juries – a pure jury is one in which jurors “deliberate and issue verdicts apart from professional judges.”

– light green = countries with (substantially) ‘mixed’ juries – a mixed jury is one in which “jurors and judges to deliberate and issue verdicts or sentences together.”

– dark green = countries without criminal juries. *gulp*

here are todd’s family systems again (h/t m.g. @those who can see!):

it could look like places with the authoritarian (“stem”) family system (germany, sweden, czech republic, switzerland partly) prefer authoritarian court systems, i.e. only judge and no juries. but what happened to poland and ireland then? did poland just inherit the german system, and the irish the british one? nations with mixed family systems (france, italy, norway) seem to prefer a mixed court system — maybe. and nations with nuclear families (england, spain) seem to go for jury trials — but not greece (or poland).

maybe there’s something here. dunno. still, it’s awfully interesting to know that you won’t get a jury trial amongst the germanics or (some of) the scandis! wtf?!

(note: comments do not require an email. juries are better, right?)

15 Comments

  1. What’s the prison population per capita? Say England vs. Germany or Sweden?

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  2. @wesley – “What’s the prison population per capita?”

    is that a rhetorical question, wes, or have you got some data you’d like to share? (~_^)

    srsly – i dunno. there might be some numbers on nation master. -??-

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  3. My country has something called lay Judges. Their function in the legal system is somewhat similar to that of a jury’s in the United States.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lay_judge

    That said, there is an ongoing debate whether to do away with the lay judge system altogheter or just restrict it to the district courts et cetera. So the legal system in my country is becoming more authoritarian.

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  4. Sweden does in fact have mixed juries: a court consists of one judge and a few laymen. I don’t know the details of the system (which is pretty complex), but in higher courts the proportion of judges to laymen is higher.

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  5. @hbd chick, is that a rhetorical question, wes, or have you got some data you’d like to share? (~_^)

    No, just from what I’ve heard over the years from BBC Radio 4 when they’re doing prison-related documentaries. They always seem to say Britain has the highest numbers of prisoners in Europe.

    Of course, Europe is the most ambiguous of terms – particularly nowadays!

    I thought it might be interesting to know the ‘results’ of these types of judicial systems.

    I’ll look for some numbers, but in the meantime speculate that Britain’s prison numbers have less to do with juries of their peers and and more to do with their chav behavior (which seeks to imitate immigrants/American pop culture and Blair/Labour’s fetish for numbers (ASBO’s, etc.).

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  6. “speculate that Britain’s prison numbers have less to do with juries of their peers and and more to do with their chav behavior”

    It’s the same as in the US – each ethnic group has a signature crime rate and the total is the sum of the proportions of the different ethnic groups.

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  7. I checked polish system.
    When Poland gained independence in 1918 she inherited 3 separate but similarly authoritative legal systems: Prussian, Austrian and Russian.
    And they were just molded into a new one. So the current system is not polish in origin.

    Those 3 countries did not trust polish jurors. Russians imposed state authoritative courts, even when in Russia proper they had mixed system.

    Polish people could not or had difficulties to become judges. It was nur fur Deutsche or Russians.

    We do not know what system could have evolved during last 200 years if Poland were not conquered.

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  8. @oskar – “My country has something called lay Judges. Their function in the legal system is somewhat similar to that of a jury’s in the United States.”

    well, that’s the thing — all lay jurists don’t function the way that a jury does in the anglo world (and, i guess, spain). not if they are, as the author, ethan leib, said in his definition of a jury:

    “[g]roups of professional lay judges who serve over long periods of time, elected laypersons, and very small numbers of lay assessors sitting with professional judges….”

    such people are in the service of the government/authorities, so what happens in such a system is that you are being judged SOLELY by the state. (*eek!*) with a true jury of one’s peers, selected randomly from the public, there is a check on the government’s power over you — a limit to how much authority the government has over you.

    not that the jury system isn’t flawed — it most certainly is. but i’d rather have it with all it’s flaws than have just the state judging me.

    but that’s just me — and i’m not (very) germanic. i think germanic folks, on average of course, don’t mind authority. in fact, i think they like it. they prefer it — feel more comfortable with it.

    @oskar – “That said, there is an ongoing debate whether to do away with the lay judge system altogheter or just restrict it to the district courts et cetera. So the legal system in my country is becoming more authoritarian.”

    i rest my case. (~_^)

    Reply

  9. @bert – “Sweden does in fact have mixed juries: a court consists of one judge and a few laymen.”

    yeah, but, according to wikipedia, that font of all knowledge, your lay jurists are politicians!! talk about being judged only by the state! at least if they were chosen at random from the phone book or something…. [see also here starting on pg. 305]

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  10. @wes – “I thought it might be interesting to know the ‘results’ of these types of judicial systems.”

    yeah, that would definitely be interesting.

    i was thinking about it, tho, and one would need to take into consideration what the lengths of sentences for various crimes are in each of these countries, ’cause if one country gives really long sentences (say life for murder) and another country gives short sentences (say 20 years for murder), then at any given time you’d have different amounts of prisoners in each country. see what i mean?

    i’d guess what we’d want to look at are the actual sentence rates — the frequencies of guilty vs. not-guilty decisions in jury courts vs. judge-only courts. or something like that.

    Reply

  11. @anonymous – “When Poland gained independence in 1918 she inherited 3 separate but similarly authoritative legal systems: Prussian, Austrian and Russian. And they were just molded into a new one. So the current system is not polish in origin.”

    well, that’s exactly what i wondered. thanks for checking!

    Reply

  12. hbd chick, always precise as ever, said, “i’d guess what we’d want to look at are the actual sentence rates — the frequencies of guilty vs. not-guilty decisions in jury courts vs. judge-only courts. or something like that.”

    I was thinking along the lines of A Fish Called Wanda but get your point!

    Reply

  13. In some small, ethnically homogenous countries, jury trials aren’t practical because — and no, I’m not joking — it’s so hard to find a group of jurors in which none of them is a blood relation to the defendant.

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  14. I’m trying to see where Prussia comes in on that map. The English, French, and Germans were different but I’m not quite clear how that impacted on their politics. And in any case don;t we need to distinguish between the nobility and the commoners. The English upper-class was norman for one thing.

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  15. @luke – “I’m trying to see where Prussia comes in on that map.”

    well, prussia extended across the northern half of what is today germany and poland — more-or-less. i wondered if maybe that’s where the poles got their legal system from — inherited from the germans/prussians.

    @luke – “The English, French, and Germans were different but I’m not quite clear how that impacted on their politics.”

    no. me, neither.

    @luke – “And in any case don;t we need to distinguish between the nobility and the commoners. The English upper-class was norman for one thing.”

    yeah, absolutely. not only that, but a lot of european elites have been more inbred than the rest of the population. not surprising that elites are often hostile when they’re: 1) so inbred, and 2) not really related to the population in the first place.

    Reply

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