Release: Michael A. Johnston publishes article in Law Times
Michael A. Johnston published an article on the Government of Canada’s proposed Bill C-75, titled “Challenging trial by jury without cause,” in the 4 June 2018 edition of Law Times:
Trial by jury is constitutionally entrenched in our criminal justice system, but more subtle is its critical role to our democracy. Jury nullification — the power of a jury to refuse to apply an oppressive law — is illustrative of trial by jury serving as both a judicial and political institution. Bill C-75 threatens this synergy.
One of the vital roles trial by jury fulfils is the infusion of the lay jurors’ perspectives into the law. The common sense of lay jurors colours the views of the judiciary, which could otherwise become parochial and oligarchical. As judgments of the court better harmonize with the perspectives of the people, the greater the “consent of the governed.” If there are fewer jury trials, the more this symbiosis will suffer.
The article is available online and in print.