Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 18th Dec 2012 14:31 UTC
Legal Lots of news about Apple vs. Samsung (and vice versa) in both the US and Europe today. In the US, judge Koh dealth two blows: one to Samsung (no retrial based on juror misconduct), the other to Apple (no permanent sales ban). In Europe, in the meantime, Samsung announced it will cease all lawsuits injunction requests against Apple... But only in Europe.
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Jury qualifications?
by saso on Tue 18th Dec 2012 16:36 UTC
saso
Member since:
2007-04-18

This has always perplexed me in the jury-trial system. How is it that we trust average uneducated people to carry out correct decisions in highly complex and frankly arcane areas of discourse? Contrast how jury trials are done with scientific peer-review. The review process is anonymous, reviewers are chosen on track record and competence in the relevant field, and the reviewers never interact directly with the authors of the reviewed work or with each other (and thus there is next to no chance of emotional bias, tampering or banding). As such, the result depends, as far as is possible, on actual merit.

As an example of an incompetent jury, one need look no further than this trial's jury foreman, when he said in a later interview recalling a prior art issue: "The software on the Apple side could not be placed into the processor on the prior art and vice versa. That means they are not interchangeable. That changed everything right there." Had there been even a single software engineer or perhaps even software patent attorney in the jury, he would have called BS on that immediately (one patents algorithms, not the specific machine instructions). This statement was just grade A nonsense from a technical and legal perspective, but it sounds legit to people not familiar with the field.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Jury qualifications?
by jared_wilkes on Tue 18th Dec 2012 17:17 in reply to "Jury qualifications?"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

Because this flies in the face of the very foundations of democracy and would cause the entire legal structure to grind to a halt and cease functioning?

If a court could only seat a jury of qualified legal professionals who also happen to be experts in any particular area at question at trial (this could range from computer science, patent law, homicide, forensics, drug trafficking, domestic abuse, psychology, and on and on -- offering covering multiple areas within the same trial), one would likely never face a jury of your peers -- in fact, every court would be very hard pressed to ever fill all the seats in a jury box with such rigorous requirements.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Jury qualifications?
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 18th Dec 2012 17:22 in reply to "RE: Jury qualifications?"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Just don't use a jury trial at all. It's a medieval and barbaric practice that has no place in any modern, democratic, just society.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Jury qualifications?
by saso on Tue 18th Dec 2012 20:33 in reply to "RE: Jury qualifications?"
saso Member since:
2007-04-18

Because this flies in the face of the very foundations of democracy and would cause the entire legal structure to grind to a halt and cease functioning?

There is so much wrong with this statement, I'm almost at a loss as to where to start deconstructing it first.

1) Your statement is just plain false. Jury trials are used pretty much only in common-law systems (containing a small portion of the world's population). Now look at e.g. those poor Europeans! (hint: it's satire) So even without a jury, legal systems seem to work just fine.

2) Democracy is a form of government, which is (hopefully) distinct from the judiciary.

3) Most importantly, and I can't stress this enough: justice isn't a democratic process! We don't get to decide democratically on what the truth is. Justice, like science, is dedicated to the pursuit of truth and what really transpired, otherwise it would just devolve into a tyranny of the majority - see ancient Athens for an experiment in that.

If a court could only seat a jury of qualified legal professionals who also happen to be experts in any particular area at question at trial (this could range from computer science, patent law, homicide, forensics, drug trafficking, domestic abuse, psychology, and on and on -- offering covering multiple areas within the same trial), one would likely never face a jury of your peers -- in fact, every court would be very hard pressed to ever fill all the seats in a jury box with such rigorous requirements.


And yet systems like this (though not precisely as much as the scientific peer review meritocracy) routinely operate in most of the world, i.e. in countries which do not have jury trials, but trials are instead decided by a qualified judge or panel of judges.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: Jury qualifications?
by Alfman on Tue 18th Dec 2012 17:23 in reply to "Jury qualifications?"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

saso,

I think Hogan, the foreman, was technically competent, but he certainly wasn't supposed to be educating the rest of the jury members by himself. When he explained how samsung's patents were invalid because they couldn't be interchanged on different CPU architectures (which we know is BS), and why apple's should hold, he disobeyed the court's instructions. Other jurors were interviewed after the trial and said the deliberations went much faster after applying Hogan's standards for patents.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Jury qualifications?
by jared_wilkes on Tue 18th Dec 2012 18:23 in reply to "RE: Jury qualifications?"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

The Court disagrees that Hogan disobeyed the Court's instructions.

Reply Parent Score: 2