Most Americans still believe that having a jury of their peers determine a defendant's innocence or guilt is better than having a judge do it, even after Casey Anthony was acquitted of murder charges.
A study by Rasmussen Reports shows that 58 percent still trust a jury over a judge to make the right call, while 27 percent trust the judge more. Though the verdict in favor of Casey Anthony didn't totally flip the numbers around, the percentage of people in favor of the jury is down six points (from 64 percent), while those in favor of the judge are up 13 points (from 14 percent) since April. Among those interviewed, 15 percent were undecided on the issue.
The survey, which consisted of interviewing 1,000 adults from July 7-8, found that younger adults generally trust judges more so than those who are older than them. Government workers tend to feel the same way, trusting judges more than those who work in the private sector do. Men, on the other hand, generally put more trust in a jury's decision than women do.
Of those Americans who have served on a jury, the majority of them say that their experience was either good or excellent, and they believe that the jury they served on made the correct decision in the case presented to them.
Though most people still trust juries, the report says that 61 percent disagreed with the Florida jury's “not guilty” decision on the charges that Anthony killed her daughter, two-year-old Caylee Marie.
When asked if they believed that the United States has the best justice system in the world, 50 percent of Americans said yes, 32 percent said no, and 18 percent remained undecided. 63 percent of Republicans believe our judicial system is the best, while 46 percent of Democrats and 41 percent of those not affiliated with any particular political party believe the same to be true.
Other findings highlighted in the report show that most Americans believe celebrities receive special treatment after breaking the law, and most voters believe that our legal system emphasizes an individuals' rights too much in matters of national security and public safety.
Research from the end of June shows that fewer than half of the adults in the U.S. believe our justice system is fair to most Americans, generally citing the belief that those who are guilty are too frequently set free.