Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Hump Day!

Hope your week is off to a great start. I'm busy decompressing from the last 2 days spent in court,......more about that later.
I awoke this morning to news that of course would interest me no end. That is, one of the States in Australia is considering allowing jurors a say in the sentencing of criminals in civil as well as criminal matters. From my understanding this is already underway in the US.
NEW South Wales jurors would be given the power to direct judges in sentencing criminals convicted in civil and criminal cases under a proposal being considered for the first time in Australia.
In an attempt to restore public confidence in the sentencing process, the NSW Government is studying a report it commissioned into what would be an unprecedented reform of the NSW legal system.
The NSW Law Reform Commission has submitted a detailed assessment of the proposal to Attorney-General Bob Debus. It is due to be released today. If adopted it would mean that juries would deliberate with judges over appropriate sentences, helping to give some direction to the courts as well as being responsible for determining verdicts. The idea stemmed from the increasing and widespread public criticism of the judiciary over perceived lenient sentences by some judges. The Government is believed to be concerned about the declining public confidence in the judiciary following outcries from victims groups over some recent sentences. The advantage of jury involvement is that sentencing judges might have greater confidence that the sentences they hand down reflect contemporary social values,the report revealed. The disadvantage is that there is likely to be a diversity of opinion among jurors, which may ultimately be of little assistance to the sentencing judge. The NSWLRC will now invite submissions from the legal fraternity, the judiciary, victims groups and the public. The report also found there was no constitutional barrier to the move.
I wonder what your thoughts are? Without reading the specifics, i'm at 50/50 on this, i think if done correctly it has a lot of merit, however if strict guidelines are not implemented, it could be still open to abuse.

till next time, Michelle.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home