Should a jury be given past criminal record?
Topic: Under British and Australian laws a jury in a criminal case has no access to info about the defendant's past criminal record. This protects the person who is being accused of the crime. Some lawyers have suggested that this practice should be changed and that a jury should be given all past facts before the reach their decision about the case. Do you agree or disagree?
Having access to past police record is an effective approach for the judges to make decisions on criminal cases. In my opinion, I agree that the court has a right to consider thoroughly a defendant's previous convictions. This essay will look at how it benefits investigating process and making final judgments.
Firstly, the criminal case will be effectively solved if a jury sees through the offender. Reading the documents in previous cases, a jury could have more considerable insight about an individual's behavior which is under control of his personality and psychological state. According to some researches, juries could successfully convinced the defendants to plead guilty in 68% cases after reviewing the past records. Clearly, prior convictions could be substantial evidence about current crimes.
Secondly, considering all past information helps the judges to reach reasonable conclusion. Based on the changing process of a offender, if he showed repentance and desire to redeem the faults, a jury would accept his plea offer to reduce the penalty and vice versa. Moreover, taking DUI (driving under the influence) case as an example, a judge may enhance a sentence if a defendant has a prior conviction for the same type of offence on his past record. Thus, juries should use criminal records as a tool to administer punishment.
In conclusion, I think the authority ought to change the policy that the juries could approach the problem from another angle by past documents in order to come up with sufficient solutions for the situation. Lawyers would also take advantage of it to support their defence.