Running head: THE JAPANESE MIXED JURY SYSTEM THE JAPANESE MIXED JURY SYSTEM: SAIBAN-IN SEIDO Japan has been observed to be adopting and borrowing the western customs and incorporating them to its own social and traditional traditions…
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This system involves lay jurors who participate in joint debate with other professional judges so as to come up with the sentence and capability of the criminal defendants in the severe cases of criminal activities. Traditionally, the modern Japanese Judiciary has been regarded by the academia and public as being insulated from elitist, public and unfriendly to criminal defendants who normally face a higher than ninety nine percent conviction Schmalleger (2012). This is normally due to the intense prosecutorial proceeding coupled with the high rate of pretrial confessions. However, the mixed jury system is normally designed to democratize the criminal legal process. This method or rather system aims at eliminating the domination of the judicial system on the cases by using their influence to pressure the lay people into accepting the court’s opinions. This system is also designed in a way so as to maintain predictable and consistent decisions on the sentences and verdicts and making sure that those decisions reflect and are not entirely determined by the Justice of the Supreme Court Linnan (2012). This system also looks at improving the jury system and providing a good opportunity for laypersons to participate in the decisions of the court meaningfully without sacrificing or rather affecting the predictability, elite notions of justice and consistency. It also looks at trying to allow justice officials to pursue policies which are focused on rehabilitating the offenders Tanenhaus (2008). . This project looks to focus on whether this system has encouraged a more democratic system within the Court system by promoting fairer trials and better justice system compared to the US. However, there have been a number of people who have been defending the traditional system on different grounds. They argue that the Japanese Judicial system is one of the most sophisticated and consistent in the whole world Kaplan and Martil (2006). They further ague that the Judges in this system are esteemed, politically independent, professional and honest compared to those in other countries. The high conviction rate in Japan is praised and advocated for on grounds that only the guilty defendants are convicted. Regardless of all these views, it goes without doubt that a fairer judicial system was needed. The saiban-in system adopted from the west has brought a fair trial to the defendants. It is very important to note that the modern lay jury system does not resemble that of the US despite the fact that it has borrowed a lot from there. The three main pillars of the Justice system in Japan have come out strongly in support of this new system. The three pillars are the Supreme Court, the Department of justice and the Japanese Federal of Bar Associations. They have actively publicized this new system to the citizens by employing all the possible advertising platforms. The main question at hand is whether this new system has brought fairer trials in Japan and whether it has been more effective than in the US. Comparing these two systems and the modifications that have been put in place, we will be able to come up with a clear answer of the same. In the United States for example, this system is being undermined on grounds that it gives the lay judges too much power that influence the decision of the court. This is because the community representative has grown to be a
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