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Mixed Court and Jury Court: Could the Continental Alternative Fill the American Need?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 November 2018

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Abstract

For cases of serious crime a number of European countries employ a variant of the jury called the mixed court, in which laymen and professional judges sit together in a single panel that deliberates and decides on all issues of verdict and sentence. Trials in the mixed court proceed quite rapidly, in large measure because the mixed court dispenses with most of the time-consuming practices of jury control that characterize Anglo-American trial procedure. Consequently, the legal system can process all cases of serious crime to full trial. The present article describes the German mixed-court system and contrasts it with the American jury, asking to what extent the mixed court serves the purposes of the jury. The conclusion is that the mixed court serves the jury policies well, though not fully; and that it is a superior alternative to the indigenous nontrial devices—plea bargaining and bench trial—that have displaced the jury from routine American practice.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © American Bar Foundation, 1981 

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References

1 For a concise English-language account of the history of the invention of the mixed court in Germany, see Gerhard Casper & Hans Zeisel, Lay Judges in the German Criminal Courts, 1 J. Legal Stud. 135, 136–41 (1972) [hereinafter cited as Casper & Zeisel]. Figures on the modern extent of the mixed court in Western European legal systems are tabulated in Gerhard Casper & Hans Zeisel, Der Laienrichter im Strafprozess 9 (Heidelberg: C. F. Müller Juristischer Verlag, 1979 [hereinafter cited as Casper & Zeisel, Laienrichter].CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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