If you were on a jury, would you be willing to convict a person for something you didn’t think should be considered a crime?
You know, I’ve been a registered voter for 22 years and I have never been summoned for jury duty. It really bums me out. I think I’d make a fantastic juror. 12 Angry Men is one of my favorite movies!
Anyway, if I were on a jury and the prosecution was able to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that a defendant committed a crime, whether I agree with that crime or not, I would be willing to convict. If the prosecution could not prove their case and I was not convinced that the crime was committed, then I would make the vote for not guilty.
If a law is in place, it doesn’t matter if it’s something I agree with or not. There are a lot of things I don’t necessarily like about our legal system. There are a lot of things I don’t like about our system of government or, more accurately, the people that run it. But it’s the system that we have in place. And I’m going to respect that system for as long as I’m living under it.
I heard once that it is illegal to spit on a sidewalk. Let’s say that’s true. That’s a crime that someone has been convicted of. I’m sure, if that is a law on the books and someone were caught spitting on the sidewalk, it would not go to trial but just be something the police write a ticket for. I’ve never heard of that law being enforced, if it is, in fact, an actual law.
However, I may think that the illegality of spitting on the sidewalk may be stupid. But if it were a law being enforced, then it’s a law I would do my best not to break. If someone were blatantly and repeatedly committing this offense and it landed them in court and I happened to be sitting on their jury and the prosecution presented an excellent case for why this person should be convicted of spitting on a public sidewalk, I would have no problem voting to convict that person.
It’s possible that was a horrible example of a potential crime. But I hope it accurately provided my answer, if in a long-winded way.
TL;DR: Yes, I would convict.
What about you? If you sat on a jury in the trial of a man or woman being accused of a crime with which you did not agree, would you convict them anyway? Let me know in the comments!
*The Question of the Week can be found in The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock, Ph.D.