Jury Picking or Jury Rigging? A Barbados Citizen Makes An Observation About Our Courts…

The following comment was posted back on October 12, 2007 and just came to our attention. The writer was commenting on the Barbados Free Press article Barbados Police Given Blank, Pre-Signed Search Warrants By Corrupt, Lazy Judiciary

A lady friend of mine who was recently on jury duty told me that she noticed something very strange with juries. A select group of jurymen (and women) were constantly being picked to sit on various cases. When speaking to some of them she realised that these same people were career jurymen, by that I mean that for years they were being called upon to sit on juries, the same people over and over again.

The conclusion we drew from this situation was the fact that these same people would render the verdicts that the Prosecutors wanted. How is that for Justice! For the whole of the Assizes my lady friend was not selected once. Does anyone else have any more information on this?

(You can read the original comment and BFP’s article here.)

What Is The Truth About Barbados Juries?

Do we have a select group of people who serve on juries or are ALL jury members drawn at random from the general population?

Let’s hear what folks have to say about this important foundation of our justice system.

25 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law

25 responses to “Jury Picking or Jury Rigging? A Barbados Citizen Makes An Observation About Our Courts…

  1. Bimbro

    If this is true, and I’ve no reason at all, to believe that it is n’t, then it’s an absolute, disgrace. This and other occurrences insult the reputation of Barbados for being a well governed, democratic country. And who’s been at the helm for such a long time?!!!! This is unforgivable, Sir!!!!

  2. To be fair, there have been folk who get called for Jury Duty perhaps once a year even before the current regime, I can think of Kent Jordan and Peta Alleyne of broadcast fame plus some staff at Grand Barbados Resort. If I recall correctly there’s Rosemary Alleyne too and she is not related to Peta, if I can cut that off ahead…

  3. Hants

    http://www.nationnews.com/story/327555761217773.php

    The doctor suggested that Tianna be taken overseas to a hospital in Canada that specialises in the type of cancer she has, but the doctors there sent back a quote of $1.4 million to treat her.

    “The Cancer Society did not know about Tianna’s case until it was too late but they have been wonderful, very supportive.

    BFP…..my apologies for “interrupting” but this is a heart wrenching story.

  4. Pingback: Jury Experiences

  5. only me

    if the above is true it a serious thing

  6. frankology

    BFP. Your new image is highly creative and professional with a touch of NEUTRALITY. Oh Oh, Jerome and Adrian gonna start gunning for me.

  7. frankology

    To all my blogging friends especially my debaters – Jerome and Adrian Hinds and Wishing in Vain. Along with Bush Tea, Waterboy, Straight Talk, all the Anonymous writers, Hants, Velzo, The Barbados Free Press moderators. I would like to wish all of you and those that I did not mention ALL THE BEST FOR THE HOLIDAYS. May you and your family be blessed with excellent health and happiness, the money will come after. Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.

  8. Jerome Hinds

    Best wishes to you and yours, FRANKOLOGY !

    Special advice to you FRANKOLOGY………do not spend aLL your time in St. MICHAEL NORTH – WEST handing out hampers…..you will need some of the goodies for the HARD months ahead !

    Have a Merry 2008……never the less !

    Cheers !

  9. anon

    If this were true it would be disturbing.

    However I highly doubt that A select group of jurymen (and women) are constantly being picked to sit in order to render the verdicts that the Prosecutors wanted.

    I say this because defendants are allowed to challenge potenetial jurors (up to seven times without giving a reason; and an unlimited number of times with a reason). A defense attorney would know who is “a career juryman” and know to challenge him or her.

    This fact, in addittion to other rules relating to court procedure, would make it very difficult (if not impossible) for a prosecutor to ensure that any specific person ends up on a jury.

    (Note: I dont doubt that there are persons who have served on juries numerous times)

  10. John

    The fact is that many people are busy making a living.

    An employer has to give time to an employee to serve on a jury and that a person should accept that service once the time is given.

    But what about the self employed man or woman with limited resources who takes part in everything in his or her business to make it survive and grow?

    What about the teacher of a class of students preparing for the common entrance or O or A levels?

    … and there will always be those that are ill.

    For these persons jury duty must be tough.

    There are some very responsible persons who just cannot afford the time to do jury duty and they should be excused.

    There are others, also very responsible, who can afford the time.

    There are still others I know of who really enjoy the duty just for the excitement of hearing and seeing the extreme. They are very responsible but enjoy doing their duty when called.

    I could see how the numbers for jury duty would be limited by the examples above.

    From the point of view of the person charged with choosing jurymen and women at random from the population these situations probably arise everytime.

    I think more persons are selected than are needed to get around such situations, but what happens when the person selecting the people gets it right and every person is available?

    Some persons will go at the appointed hour and sit for hours waiting to be chosen and never get chosen. It quickly becomes a waste of time for them, even if they have the best of intentions.

    I would hate to think some sort of manipulation is also involved and for expediency professional jurors are created. Reality probably produces the conditions for such an occurrence and there will be those who serve on juries many times.

  11. Pat

    In Ontario, a person cannot serve on a jury more than once every five years. The names are generated by computer from the voters lists. The names selected are kept and if they come up again within 5 years are discarded. If you are chosen for jury duty, you have to have a very good reason not to attend and must present yourself to the Sheriff with the written excuse. In very rare cases are anyone excused from jury duty.

    About eight years ago both my brother and I were selected for the same jury selection. I phoned and asked if it was legal to have two sibllings on the same jury. They explained that there was nothing against it on the books, but since siblings may influence each other, I had my name removed and it was thrown back into the pot for the next session. My brother unfortunately was selected for a murder trial with lasted some 3 weeks. He was in private industry so did not get paid. Only the public sector gets full pay for their time on jury duty. There is a daily allowance but it does not come anywhere near full pay.

  12. Anonymous

    As far as I know Attorneys cannot challenge Jurors in Barbados. Who ever is picked the Defence Attorneys have to work with.

    I am wondering if “ANON” is speaking about the Barbados situation or some other jurisdiction.

  13. Rumplestilskin

    John has it right on.

    To be honest, I would hate to be selected for jury duty. I am busy earning a living for one and secondly to sit still in a courtroom for that length of time would drive me loony in no time.

    Not to mention getting annoyed when I myself might spot where either the defendant or prosecutor are making errors and I very well might, who knows.

    I guess I will now be hit with the ‘jury duty being part of a responsible citizen’ point, but ah well.

  14. Rumplestilskin

    ‘Objection, your Honour’

    ‘Sir, a jury member is not allowed to object’

    ‘Sorry your honour, but the prosecutor…..’

  15. not so

    Anonymous Says:
    As far as I know Attorneys cannot challenge Jurors in Barbados. Who ever is picked the Defence Attorneys have to work with.

    ———————————————————————–

    not so,they can and challenge jurors on every case.

  16. Bimbro

    It all sounds very problematic and it would be helpful if we could have obtained a reliable, account, of the true situation in Bim!

  17. frankology

    Special advice to you FRANKOLOGY………do not spend aLL your time in St. MICHAEL NORTH – WEST handing out hampers…..you will need some of the goodies for the HARD months ahead !
    …………………………………………………………………………………………
    Why are you still of the believe that I am Mascoll or your aka Ascoll. Look at me, do I look or sound like hime?. Please do not associate me with any politician. Thanks for your wishes and please, do everything in moderation.

  18. Worried

    You talking about the juries but what about the judges? Sorry folks but some trends have been noticed. Very worrisome.

  19. Jerome Hinds

    frankology Says:
    Special advice to you FRANKOLOGY………do not spend aLL your time in St. MICHAEL NORTH – WEST handing out hampers…..you will need some of the goodies for the HARD months ahead !

    ********************************************
    …………………………………………………………………………………………
    Why are you still of the believe that I am Mascoll or your aka Ascoll. Look at me, do I look or sound like hime?. Please do not associate me with any politician. Thanks for your wishes and please, do everything in moderation.
    *****************************************
    ******************************************

    Frankology,

    There is nothing in the FIRST paragraph that SUGGESTS / STATES that your are CLYDE MASCOLL !

    Read it carefully…..AGAIN !

    What is it about St. Michael North – West that……rattles you ?

  20. Waterboy

    frankology Says:
    To all my blogging friends especially my debaters – Jerome and Adrian Hinds and Wishing in Vain. Along with Bush Tea, Waterboy, Straight Talk, all the Anonymous writers, Hants, Velzo, The Barbados Free Press moderators. I would like to wish all of you and those that I did not mention ALL THE BEST FOR THE HOLIDAYS. May you and your family be blessed with excellent health and happiness, the money will come after. Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.

    ==============================================
    A Merry Christmas and Happy new Year Year, Frankology. It is an honour to be included in your list.

    PS. Did you forget to include one of your main debaters, even if not a “friend”, U Goodenough?

  21. banned

    Defence attorneys can and do challenge. I served once many years ago on a murder trial where the prosecution and the defence colluded (obviously) to get the accused off. There was not even a call for a murder weapon to be presented. I had a serious problem with and took it into recess. I thought that all of our times were wasted if there was to be a forgone conclusion. You have to find only on the evidence presented and so much was obviously behind withheld. I stalled and tried make people think about what was happening. It has been close to fifteen years now. I have never since been recalled. There has to be some sort of behind the scenes selection process going on. Happy Xmas.

  22. anon

    Anonymous Says:
    As far as I know Attorneys cannot challenge Jurors in Barbados. Who ever is picked the Defence Attorneys have to work with.

    I am wondering if “ANON” is speaking about the Barbados situation or some other jurisdiction.

    ——————————-

    I am talking about Barbados (it is the same in most other commonwealth jurisdcitions). Actually the prosecutor is the one that can not challenge jurors without a reason (another thing that makes it difficult to rig a jury).

    The court registry has what is called a jury book which lists all persons eligible to be jurors (some people are disqualified because of their profession, some are exempt and some just dont meet the qualififcations because of age etc).

    It is a small country and the pool of potential jurors is made even smaller because of the general qualification requirements. This is why persons have served on juries more than once.

  23. banned

    Well I have served once only then to be told that I no longer qualify. I could have been such a good juror (who absolutely abhors the death penalty)

  24. Bimbro

    Clearly, all is n’t well here. I wonder who is the responsible government minister and when he/she IS GOING TO GET THEIR FINGER OUT AND DO SOMETHING FOR THE BENEFIT OF BARBADOS AND BARBADIANS!!!!

  25. Yardbroom

    banned
    I hesitate, but your statement is contradictory.

    No doubt you consider yourself a good juror, but if you are against the death penalty – as many people are – and abhor it with the vehemence indicated by your post, if a guilty verdict’s final consequence will be the death penalty, and it is legal within the jurisdiction you are sitting. Will you be bringing the openness and all the Law allows into the jury room?

    I understand you personal opinion, as I have some sympathy for it, but in terms of the Law, that is a different matter.