Give them a chance, says Mark Crane. Great op-ed:
Juries of ordinary citizens generally aren’t asked to decide complex legal disputes about maritime cases, tax law, bankruptcy, workers’ compensation, divorce and child custody matters. And for good reason. While the principle of trial by jury is sacrosanct in America, basic fairness and common sense demand that such highly technical issues require expertise from witnesses and judges experienced in dealing with them.
That’s not so for cases involving allegations of medical malpractice, which are no less complicated but still left in the hands of lay jurors with little knowledge of medicine. Trials often amount to a game of roulette. Jurors hear testimony from dueling expert witnesses””hired guns who favor one party’s interpretation of events. The most personable witness may sway a jury no matter how fanciful his theories are. Jurors receive little guidance from judges as to how to evaluate that testimony or how much to compensate deserving plaintiffs.