Trial Jury Introduction
Trial Jury Introduction: The Trial Jury, or “TJ”, is a group of 12 citizens chosen by lottery from a list of registered voters in a district who shall serve as a group judge under oath to decide a case fairly in court.
(NOTE: All the FORMS needed to operate the Trial Jury System are found in this LINK.
The Trial Jury shall be presided by a judge. His main job is to enforce order and discipline in the courtroom, to determine the admissibility of the evidence introduced at the trial, to issue Jury Instruction to the trial jury and finally to read the jury verdict in open court and to impose the penalty upon the convicted accused pursuant to the verdict.
The fitness for jury duty of the citizens called to serve in the trial jury shall be jointly determined and impaneled by the opposing parties or their counsels in court under the supervision and presence of the presiding judge,
All the jurors are required to be present in the trial jury at all times. The jury trial cannot proceed in the absence of any juror and any juror who shall fail to comply with this requirement shall be liable for imprisonment by direct and summary contempt of court.
The function of the trial jury is to determine the facts of the case and at a proper time to discuss and to decide the same upon instruction of the presiding judge. The judge shall have no participation in the discussion or in deciding the case.
In the beginning of the jury proceeding, the presiding judge shall be required to issue and read a set of Statutory Basic Jury Instruction for the trial jury. He must do this without deviation or modification in reading the instruction. Should he violate this requirement to favor or disfavor a party, he can be liable for obstruction of justice upon complaint by any citizen or party to the grand jury.
In addition to the penalty of obstruction of justice, he will be subject to disciplinary action for removal from the bench and forfeiture of his bar license to practice law.
Adherence to Facts, Continuous
Proceeding Required In Jury Trials
This proposed jury system shall require the courts to adhere to the finding of facts by the trial jury. The main intent of adopting trial by jury is to avoid arbitrary decision by one man who may be laboring under the influence of third parties such as friends, and relatives, or some interested characters in the outcome of the case.
It is also intended to speed up trials of cases as required by the constitution, to ease the back log of cases that have afflicted the Philippine court systems for so many years now.
The trial date agreed upon by the Presiding Judge, the Prosecution, and the Defense shall become a firm trial date (or FTD) and no postponement shall be allowed under any circumstances except for continuances of no more than 3 days from the date the trial jury begins to hear the case.
The proposed jury law shall provide a rule in which private practicing attorneys may apply to serve as a Community Deputy Prosecutor (CDP). The proposed law shall likewise provide a rule in which private practicing attorneys may apply to serve as a Presiding Pro-Temp Judge (PPTJ) for a trial jury. All CDPs and PPTJ shall promise without fail to attend to their respective commitments to participate in the trial proceedings within 3 days notice in the event that each of them is called in for some reasons to speed up the administration of justice in their community.
At the pre-trial conference to set the FTD, it will be the responsibility of the prosecution to name his CDP to take over the case in the event of a life threatening situation that may befell on him during the trial.
At the same pre-trial conference to set the FTD, it will be the responsibility of the defense counsel to name his substitute defense counsel in the event of a life threatening situation shall befell on him during the trial.
If a life threatening situation shall befell upon the accused during the trial, the presiding judge of the trial jury shall order the appearance of an appropriate medical doctor who will testify under oath, subject to cross examination by the counsels of either party, to determine the merits of the claim of the accused that he is incapable of going forward with the trial. If the accused is incapable of going forward with the trial, the estimated date by the medical doctor, but no more than 15 days, Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays, included, shall be the maximum continuance firm date of the jury trial.
The purpose of the strict adherence to continuous proceeding in a jury trial is to avoid disturbing the trend of thought and focus of the minds of the jurors on their case. A continuance of more than 15 days shall cause a mistrial and a party misusing continuances of trials should be held responsible to pay the expenses of a mistrial including the jurors fee, the time of the court and its personnel, and the party not responsible for the mistrial.
Any person, the presiding judge, the prosecutor or defense counsel who shall attempt to intentionally delay the jury trial by misusing the above rule shall be liable for obstruction of justice upon complaint by any citizen before a grand jury.
Should any person is found guilty for maliciously obstructing the trial and such person is a licensed professional, he shall be subject to disciplinary action for removal of his license to practice his profession.
The FTD shall be determined by basing the longest time period offered by either party for his preparation to go to trial but not longer than 3 months if the accused is in custody or not longer than 6 months if the accused is free on bail.
No continuance of a trial longer than 3 days shall be allowed unless based on a life threatening situation of the accused or either counsels. If a presiding judge of the trial jury is afflicted with a life threatening situation, he shall be substituted promptly with a Presiding Pro-Temp Judge.
The presentation of the evidence before the trial jury shall be the same as in presenting the evidence in a bench trial.
Significance of Number of
Votes In Jury Verdicts
The members of the trial jury are required to cast their ballot secretly to reach a verdict so that none of the members shall know each others vote for or against the verdict. No juror, including its foreman, shall be allowed to force any juror to vote for or against in the verdict of the jury so that the verdict shall be purely free from coercion.
A tie vote of 6 guilty and 6 not guilty shall be an automatic verdict of acquittal. No appeal on the part of the prosecution shall be allowed.
A guilty vote of 7 to 8, 9 to 10, and 11 to 12 by a trial jury shall produce a guilty verdict that will influence the imposition of the penalty upon the convicted accused in the minimum range, the medium range, and the maximum range of penalty according to the range of imprisonment of the penalty as defined by law as follows: A guilty vote of 7 to 8 will draw a minimum penalty; 9 to 10 will draw a medium penalty; and 11 to 12 will draw a maximum penalty. If the guilty verdict is 12 with attending aggravating circumstance as found by the jury, the convicted accused shall suffer the full period of penalty without the benefit of presidential clemency.
An appeal from a guilty verdict shall be allowed only on the question of law. No appeal shall be allowed on the issue of facts. The finding of facts by the jury shall be final. The reason for this is that an appellate court cannot substitute the actual ocular assessment by the jurors over the demeanor of the witnesses or of the accused.
Another purpose of this rule is to prevent twisting of facts on appeal to accommodate the interest of some influential characters or powerful figures like the President and armed supported officials or rich people.
An issue of law may be in the form of wrong instruction of a rule or law given to the jury. The jury cannot be faulted for the error of law because they are merely passive recipient of the instruction of law. The proponent of the error of law on appeal shall have the responsibility of showing to the appellate court on the issue of law on his appeal.
If the president shall abuse his or her parol powers, such president shall be liable for the charge of obstruction of justice.
The Expected Benefits of the
Adoption of the Trial by Jury
Basically, jury trials will speed up the disposition of cases in court and thereby ease the court dockets. Lawyers will be forced to practice their profession with utmost care.
The people in the entire country will become oriented with their laws and they will become “teachers” for their family members, friends, and neighbors on their ethics of citizenship. The more the people are acquainted with their laws, the better they become law abiding citizens.
Instead of getting “instructions” from outlaws, the people will be getting instruction on their laws from presiding judges by serving in jury trials - an authoritative and free legal education of the citizens just like they do in the United States. The massacre last 2009 in Maguindanao probably could not have happened if its instigators would have been oriented with the laws of their community. Perhaps, they would have been more law abiding citizens and most of them would not have participated in that gruesome activity.
The people around the country will be dealing with each other on equal terms not as Muslims and Christians, or a datu and sakop, or a sultan and ordinary man, or a bai and a common slave, or as rich or poor, brown skin, or dark skin, or white skin, against each but simply as co-equal with each other under the laws of our land.
Slavery of a common Muslim by their datu or sultan shall stop, or a common Christian by their powerful Christian master shall likewise stop for good.
No more officials or employees in the registrar of deeds can simply hide forever and forge or falsify land documents to make money in their public positions.
No more officials or employees in the motor vehicles office can simply manufacture a fake driver’s license and make money in their public positions.
No more legislators can simply use their pork barrels to buy mansions and SUVs as toys for their children or queridas and queridos.
There will be no more Christian land or Moroland but a common land called the Philippines regardless of one's religion or creed or social, political, and financial status.
Foreign government loans from the World Bank to finance the construction of homes, bridges, highways and by-ways, schools will no longer be easily subjected to tongpat commissions by first gentlemen or first, second, or third ladies of a president.
The Jury Systems will result in the unity of the people from Batanes Islands through the Tawi-Tawi Islands. The so-called on-going peace process between the GRP and MILF shall become irrelevant, or moot and academic.
Once justice is made to prevail by the jury systems, justice shall beget peace, and peace shall beget unity and prosperity. This is how we can make the Philippines the number one country in East Asia.
Why go for a number 2 when we can make this country number 1? I am no Martin Luther King, but Marlowe Camello has also a dream. A dream for the Philippines to make this country number 1 via the Jury Systems under the control of the common Filipino people like the common American people do in the U.S. do and not under the control by common filthy rich greedy politicians.
I think this is what the framers of the Philippine Constitution and Filipino People intended to be when they adopted the current constitution which states in Article II, Section 1, that "Sovereignty resides in the People and all government authority emanates from them."
Click Here to go to
The "Preamble" page.