The constitution grants us the right to be tried for crimes by an impartial jury, but how can we guarantee any randomly selected group of people will consist completely of all impartial individuals? Being that prejudice and discrimination seems ingrained in our very natures, a simple human fault, this almost seems impossible. It is a faulty system as well that simply takes one at his or her word when asking if they have any reasons to be impartial, but since judges can’t read minds this would seem to be all we have.
There is then it would seem, at least, only one way to create a truly impartial jury. We must blind it. In doing so we protect the privacy and anonymity of the defendant, at least from those determining their innocence and guilt.
This concept is loosely similar to a strategy known as Blinding The Jury
To accomplish this the jury are removed from the court during the trial and instead of determining innocence or guilt after being witness to a trial first hand they are presented with the minutes of the case. They would be allowed time to review and discuss the transcript after an initial presentation of the minutes and eventually produce the verdict.
Any personal information about the defendant not directly relevant to the case would neither be presented nor discussed. There is no reason for the jury to the know the age, race, height, body type, or any other information unless it is directly related to the case and deemed pertinent by the judge to be included. Why should they need to know what the defendant looks like, or if they speak with an accent? The transcript and minutes presented to the jury would also be edited to exclude inadmissible evidence and anything struck from the record.
Some may argue that this would reduce the emotional impact of some important evidence, like the testimony of a victims family member, but actually, that’s kind of the point too. Human beings rarely make the most rational decisions under the influence of intense emotion. Emotion should play at best a minimal role in determining the innocence or guilt of the accused. Instead, the courtroom should be a place of facts and reason.
A blind jury system implemented in this way would essentially remove the possibility of prejudice in that it would blind the jury too it. You cannot render a guilty verdict on someone out of racial spite unless you know what race they are. This becomes pretty difficult when you don’t even know what they look like. This could also help to improve the efficiency of the court system by reducing the chances of mistrials due to the presentation of inadmissible evidence.
It is by no means a perfect system, but I believe it to be a substantial improvement over a system of the jury we must simply trust to be impartial.