UK Liberty

Too much deference to juries?

Posted in law and order by ukliberty on September 27, 2008

The Independent:

The country’s top appeal judges are failing to correct miscarriages of justice where they suspect the jury has come to a wrong verdict, the head of the body charged with investigating wrongful convictions has warned. …

He added that when he had raised this argument with members of thejudiciary he had been “admonished” for asking judges to second-guess the jury. “They tell me that in this country we have trial by jury, so who are they to go behind the verdict of the jury which has seen all the evidence? Well, I say we have trial by judge and jury, not just jury.” …

Professor Zellick said juries were not always capable of deciding between diverse expert opinions. “There have been miscarriages of justice caused by experts whose expertise is somewhat suspect. We are too casual about expert evidence in the criminal justice system.” He said he was particularly concerned about lip-reading and ear-print evidence, which he described as “very dubious” for a jury. …

This is interesting (and concerning):

In a case currently at the CCRC, prosecution evidence turned on the lip-reading testimony of an expert witness who interpreted what was being said in a silent video. During a review of the evidence, it was discovered the video had sound. An ensuing transcription of the conversation bore no resemblance to what the expert witness had claimed.

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