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How educated should jurors be?Posted Friday, August 31, 2007, at 8:21 AM
One respondent to my blog about medical issues Thursday questioned the practice of a hypothetical "guy who dropped out of school at 16" serving on juries deciding medical malpractice cases.
That brings up an interesting question. Should jurors be forced to meet minimal educational requirements, such as being a high school graduate or having earned a GED?
I can see that point, but tend to disagree to some extent.
Some people, especially older ones, were forced to drop out of school to support families. Some younger people have faced misfortune or made some mistakes and dropped out for whatever reason.
Often, wisdom and knowledge come with age (and some people seem to have been born with wisdom). You can be intelligent and wise without possessing a handful of diplomas. Sometimes common sense and education don't go hand in hand.
And democracy means everyone has a voice -- even the uneducated. Presumably the more educated jurors could convince the less educated one(s) of any errors of judgment during deliberations. Remember, the "guy who dropped out of school at 16" is just one member of the jury.
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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.
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