Jury trials are in large part a scam. I don’t have a better idea, but that doesn’t keep them from being scams. To begin with, you are supposed to face an impartial jury. The Foundering Fathers stuck this in so that ordinary citizens wouldn’t be railroaded by kangaroo juries packed with the equivalent of the King’s littermates. It was a perfectly good idea. However, in the racially divided America of today, jurors of another race are unlikely to be impartial. Space aliens would come closer. Think of the passions ignited nationally in the cases of Rodney King, OJ Simpson, and George Zimmerman. The same emotions poison lesser trials that few hear about. Not good.
Another problem is that, except in high-dollar cases with alpha-shysters, juries are sometimes composed of people who weren’t smart enough to avoid jury duty. They can resemble the waiting room in a bus station. People with a Macy’s-Basement IQ simply can’t understand what is going on. A woman I know was a juror in a civil trial in Washington in which both sides stipulated that sexual harassment was not involved. Despite this, the jury wanted to give the complainant an award for having been sexually harassed.
Finally, trials are not about truth, justice, and beauty, but about winning. Period. Neither lawyer wants a jury of people who think objectively, as for example twelve physicists. In a rape case, the defense will try to seek a censorious Aunt Polly spinster who will think, “Well, if she went into that awful biker bar in a three-inch miniskirt, she deserves what she got, the trash.” The prosecutor will want a hard-nosed law-and-order type who will think, “If we can’t keep our women safe from this kind of animal, what the hell kind of country are we?”
If that ain’t impartial, I can’t imagine what might be.