Can a juror know nothing about the law?

When I first arrived in the United States, I lived in a friend’s house. On one occasion, he received a jury call and rushed to the court early in the morning, but when he came back at night, he was completely paralyzed. It turned out that he was not selected, saying that the people who went there were crowded with a house, and most of them were dismissed.

After I had a driver’s license, especially after registering as a voter, I have received many jurors’ summons, but they have not been able to call because they are not happening. It is a civic duty to participate in jury, but if you can’t find time, you can also sneak out. This year’s Spring Festival, I originally planned to return to China, but I received a jury call. This time, because I wanted to tell the reader about the jury experience, I changed the plan and accepted the summons.

One of the ways to accept the summons is to register through the network and get a jury number, which is counted in the jury pool. Subsequent notifications are sent via SMS. It is generally to tell the members of the pool which week to wait for the order, and then notify the day of the week whether they need to report.

I gave up my travel plan, but I received a notice that I didn’t need to report, so I regret that I can’t show my readers. In fact, if you receive a notice, you may not be able to experience jury. You must also accept the “voir dire” of the judge and the lawyer. They judge based on the observations, and there are many ways to exclude certain people from participating in the jury.

Both the prosecution and the defense can voluntarily exclude (peremptory challenge) and a certain number of jurors without clarifying any reason. There is also a cause for cause (challenge for cause). There are several categories of “causes” here: the degree of understanding of the case; familiarity with the parties, witnesses or lawyers; occupations that may lead to prejudice; opposition to the death penalty; previous experiences, such as defendants who have been similar cases.

The jury selection, and even the jury system itself, is the result of long-term exploration of judicial practice and a deep understanding of the characteristics of human understanding. All knowledge is subjective and therefore only one-sided. The only way to alleviate one-sidedness is to have more one-sided understanding from different angles. This is why the ruling of the case is to be given to a group of people: the jury, not one person: the judge. The jury of ancient Greece can be as large as thousands.

Understanding is not only one-sided, but once it is formed, it is difficult to change. This is why the ruling of the case is to be given to a juror who may not know the law, not a judge who is proficient in the law. This is why jurors should exclude those who have already known the case very well and have formed certain opinions on certain things.

If “recognition is subjective and one-sided” can understand, “knowledge is subjective and one-sided” is unacceptable, because the content of knowledge is objective. In fact, in philosophy, understanding and knowledge are interlinked. Since Kant concluded that human cognition/knowledge cannot grasp the ontology of things, but only the result of the interaction between human subjectivity and the appearance of things, knowledge, and all knowledge, has irreversibly turned into cognition and subjective things.

Not easy to understand? Imagine that the sun turning around the earth was a very long-lasting and reliable knowledge of human beings, but we already know that this knowledge is nothing more than a subjective judgment of a human specific perspective.

Knowledge is not only subjective, but also a double-edged sword: in order to grasp the world, we continue to accumulate knowledge, and the accumulated knowledge forms a certain opinion, which in turn hinders the reception of new knowledge, because knowledge has a preconceived nature.

This is why the jurors cannot understand too much about the case before the case is tried.