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 The jury is the cornerstone of American justice. At the same time, everyone knows that the US is an example of the legal system of a modern democratic state. You can criticize the US electoral system or foreign policy maneuvers, but no one will argue that the US judicial system is a model for the world.

 So, without a jury, there is no democratic court. In any case, the US is convinced that this is the case. Moreover, being a juror is the duty of every American citizen. For comparison, it was the duty of every Soviet post-Soviet citizen to serve in the army. Already, one can find a significant difference in what the Soviet Union (more cannon fodder!) And the United States (more responsible citizens!) Wanted from their citizens.

 The Constitution of Ukraine (Articles 124, 127, etc.) provides for a jury. However, these constitutional theses were not further developed by the legislator. What we have today called a jury (2 judges + 3 jurors, who sit together – Art. 31 h. 3 and Art. 383 h. 3 CPC of Ukraine) is in fact a model of the German Sheffen court. Why is this not a jury?

  •  First, there is no spectrum of thought. It is believed that the jury should consist of at least 6 people (position of the US Supreme Court), the classic model – 12 jurors, the exotic – 15 jurors (Scotland).
  •  Secondly, the jury cannot work together with the judges in one panel either organizationally (discussing the process in one room) or functionally (a professional judge must consider procedural issues, the panel of judges – the issue of proven fact and guilt). If these two conditions are not met – the number of judges and their independence from professional judges – then no jury can be heard. Clear and specific Ukrainian costs. Few people want to be sworn in when other processes drag on for years. But this is not a problem for the jury as a model of justice, it is the cost of criminal law and the efficiency of the judicial system. There are currently two bills in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine that provide for reform of the Ukrainian jury. I will dwell briefly on them.

 The project, submitted by Prime Minister Vladimir Groysman, stipulates that not only those who are threatened with life imprisonment will be able to file a jury trial, but anyone with a possible sentence of 8 years in prison. But most interestingly, the Cabinet document made a timid attempt to differentiate between the competencies of jurors and professional judges, but it was not written out clearly enough, and most importantly, it did not provide for a separate meeting of jurors and judges.

 Unlike the government bill, the bill of people’s deputies Sergey Vlasenko lowers the sentence required for jury trials to 10 years, but provides for the establishment of a full panel of 12 jurors. Thus, both bills try to answer precisely the above fundamental questions, but have not yet been elaborated, which is why they were criticized by the Main Scientific and Expert Directorate of the Verkhovna Rada and sent for revision.

 By the way, Vlasenko’s bill stipulates that the jury of the main staff will receive the salary of a professional judge, and the reserve – the salary equal to the income at their last place of work, which largely resolves the existing issue of low interest of citizens to seek justice. In addition, this bill stipulates that in the case of jury consideration of resonant cases, they may be withdrawn by means of communication, and themselves placed in a special safe place, for impossibility of putting pressure on them.

 These are important nuances, however, the Verkhovna Rada’s Main Scientific and Expert Directorate rightly points out that, in the context of judicial reform, in the courts and staffing deficits, judges are overwhelmed, and in this situation long-standing courts with the assistance of jurors will facilitate the hearing of cases. This is hard to argue with.

 But jury reform should go together, within judicial reform, and not be discussed somewhere in the periphery.

Author: Andrey Kubov

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