Another difference between the American juror system and the Venuzuela escabino system is the number of participants. In the American juror system there are 12 jurors seated with several alternatives on the ready. This means if one of the chosen jurors cannot serve completely through to the end then one of the alternatives will step in and take that jurors place. As an alternative the juror is expected to listen as attentively as if he or she were an actual juror and not an alternate. This way, if the alternate has to step in then he or she is already apprised of the same evidence and testimony that the regular jury has received thus far.
The escabino system and the jury system have a commonality when it comes to confidentiality. Both system instruct the participants to not discuss the cases that they are hearing outside of the courtroom or jury deliberation room until those cases are over with.
Another commonality that the escabino and the jury system have is the instruction to judge fairly. Each of the system participants are told that they must hear the evidence and then judge the defendant based only on that evidence and nothing else.
While the jury system has many excusable reasons that one can ask not to serve the escabino system only has four basic reasons that being excused is allowed for.
If one has served on escabino duty within the past four years one cannot serve currently.
The potential escabino will have his or her life harmed in some manner if they are required to serve at this time.
The potential escabino has a problem that will make it impossible for him or her to fairly and objectively perform the duties of escabino.
If one is more than 70 years old at the time they are called as potential escabino participants (Frequently Asked Questions for the Jury Commission (http://www.19thcircuitcourt.state.il.us/faqs/jury_f.htm).
Another difference between the escabino and the jury system is the number of participants. There are 12 peer jurors while there are only two escabinos who sit with the judge president.
Escabinos are allowed to interrogate the witnesses while jurors can only ask to read the transcripts of the testimony they already heard. In addition the jurors can ask to go over any evidence tapes etc. that have been presented during the course of the trial.
Like the jury process, the escabino process dictates that there are certain conditions in which on which the juror or possible escabino will not be allowed to continue services. They include:
Being friends or having any prior relationship with any of the parties involved in the case
Being related by blood, marriage or adoption by any of the parties.
Having any communication whatsoever with any of the parties who are involved in the trial, the investigation or the case.
Other differences between the jury system and the escabino system include the qualifications by which they are allowed to serve (Frequently Asked Questions for the Jury Commission (http://www.19thcircuitcourt.state.il.us/faqs/jury_f.htm).
An escabino must be a minimum of 25 years old while in America anyone over the age of 18 can be called to serve.
An escabino is required to be in full control of his or her civil and political rights. This is a similar requirement for a juror with one exception (Frequently Asked Questions for the Jury Commission (http://www.19thcircuitcourt.state.il.us/faqs/jury_f.htm).
According to state law an escabino is not allowed to have ever been convicted of a crime, nor can they be under criminal indictment or procedure currently. In the American justice system a potential juror can have a prior conviction, even a felony as long as the felony or other conviction is completed and it does not impede the character or ability of the juror to perform the duties objectively (Frequently Asked Questions for the Jury Commission (http://www.19thcircuitcourt.state.il.us/faqs/jury_f.htm).
This is a double edged sword as attorneys have the right to excuse a certain number of jurors without providing a reason, and a convicted felon would most likely be excused by the prosecution immediately because they would be considered partial in favor of the defendant automatically.
The final comparison between escabinos and jurors has to do with who is not allowed to participate. In America under the current jury system just about anyone can be called to serve on a jury. Many times however, certain potential called jurors are excused because of their political position or other reason that will impede their ability to serve. In theory however mayors, aldermen, councilmen and attorneys can all be called to serve on an American jury.
The escabinos system has a list of those who are not allowed to serve for any reason and the list includes:
The President, the ministers and the directors of public institutions.
*the General Solicitor.
*the civil employees of the Judicial Power,
*the governors, the mayors and the councilmen.
*the lawyers and university professors of legal disciplines.
*the active members of the Army (FAN).
*the ministers of any cult.
*Police civil employees and penitentiary institutions.
*the credited heads of diplomatic missions and consular offices abroad (Frequently Asked Questions for the Jury Commission (http://www.19thcircuitcourt.state.il.us/faqs/jury_f.htm)."
There are many similarities between the escabino system of Venuezula and the jury system of America. Some of the similarities are seemingly small such as the requirement to live in the jurisdiction one serves, but other similarities are very important including the instruction to listen as fair as possible.
The differences are even more important as they provide a blueprint of different attitudes about the general population. In the escabino system one must be 25, while the American system allows someone much younger to serve. This is a direct reflection on the age that the governments believe one is able to make mature and sound decisions. The excusing of anyone who has a political office or is in the legal system for a profession is exclusive to the escabino system and does not apply to the American jury system.
These similarities and differences are evidenced when the two systems are held side by side but the bottom line is the fact that both systems are designed to afford the most protection for defendants and victims during the criminal court process.
Frequently Asked Questions for the Jury Commission