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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

340                             POLITICAL SCIENCE.
There might be an approach to justice, we mean, if certain
defects were removed. The leading one of these is the ne-
cessity of unanimity, which would be almost impossible for
twelve men sitting on a case without being sworn, and which
must often be brought about, in the case of a jury where it
has retired to decide upon its verdict, by a part who are less
firm, yielding to the rest against their conviction or without
conviction. A change is desirable in civil cases so that a
majority could bring in a valid verdict; not a bare majority,
but one large enough to indicate a decided balance of opinion.
Two-thirds or three-quarters would not be too few. In crimi-
nal cases involving the loss of life or long imprisonment, per-
haps we must stick to the solid vote of the body, and yet
one obstinate man has saved multitudes of prisoners from just
punishment. And this is due not necessarily to improper
motives but sometimes to a tenderness of conscience, an
awakened sense of responsibility, which looks on convicting
one who can by any possibility be innocent, as something
awful; as if there were anything for the juryman to say but
that his prevailing opinion inclines to the condemnation of
the prisoner.
Another evil seen in modern times is the great unwilling-
ness to serve on juries of those who are the best qualified to
perform the service. It falls therefore to an inferior set of
men; many involved in large business or disliking the com-
pany or the discomfort and excitement will pay their fine
rather than sit. The office of juryman must therefore sink,—it
has sunk, in public estimation, and with it must fall, if this is
to continue, the confidence reposed in their decisions. Some
feel that a board of judges would do better, of which we are
wholly unable to form an opinion. It may be mentioned as
a curious experiment that in one of the United States the
choice has been given to certain criminals, at least to those
tried for murder, to submit their cases to two judges without a
jury.
While some might regard a jury of twelve, if unanimity
were required, as too large, others might wish to have it con-