May 21, 2013
Zaffaroni against voting for judges, jury trials
Weeks after President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner announced an intention to reform the justice system according to “popular election,” Supreme Court Justice Raúl Zaffaroni yesterday affirmed that “it would be good having the political world rethinking” the judicial order, but emphasized his disapproval of “popular control” over judges and jury trials.
“I think popular control is good but in that case a system of lay judges, that is tribunals with professional judges and citizens, would be more practical,” Zaffaroni said in an interview with the daily Pagina/12, adding that “in this way contradictory understandings of the Constitution would be avoided, it would not have the drawbacks of the classic jury trial and it would allow good control with citizens who would participate in the debate.”
The justice also expressed his opposition to the introduction of jury trials, suggesting them to be “expensive and slow,” and citing that they are inefficient “even in the United States, where only the smallest percentage of cases are resolved by” a group of citizens.
“If it is difficult to find poll captains (for elections), I cannot image juries,” Zaffaroni assured, explaining that it would be very difficult to have a jury effectively “imprisoned” for a “year and a half while 500 witnesses testify.” The Supreme Court justice considered it “almost inevitable” for jury members to give away their opinion “over a few drinks at a bar, whereby the entire trial would be rendered null and would have to be restarted.”
Zaffaroni assured he was not bothered by the President’s call for the introduction of popular democratic elements, claiming: “On the contrary, I am pleased over the mere prospect of rethinking the justice system,” and expressing his hope that the issue would be debated with “all sectors of the opposition” and intense “study.”
“Institutional engineering is not carried out by inventing the funnel,” the justice concluded.
Herald with Telam, DyN