Campaign donations are a powerful thing. According to the House of Representatives, a jury cannot be trusted to decide how much money is reasonable compensation to somebody injured by the negligence of a doctor. According to the same people, a jury is fully capable to decide whether a man is guilty, and whether he should be put to death for his crime. A jury is capable of life and death decisions, but not capable to decide decisions relating to money. How can this be? I guess it just depends on who is giving you donations.
A criminal jury and civil jury come from the same people, who live in the same county. They are chosen randomly, so the same people that sit on a criminal trial could have just as easily sat that same day on a medical negligence trial.
For instance, here is an example of two trials that may occur in Maricopa county, during the same week, with the same jurors making the decision:
Trial 1: A doctor is accused of leaving a medical instrument in a baby, which causes severe permanent damage. The baby will suffer for a lifetime from the carelessness. They jury has to decide how much money the insurance company will pay in fair compensation.
Trial 2: A man is accused of shooting a stranger in cold-blood to steal $20. The stranger died. The jury has to decide whether that man is guilty, and whether he should be put to death for his crime.
The same people who became jurors in the first trial could just as easily have been on the second trial. In one case, money rests on a jury’s decision. In the other case, a man’s life rests on a jury’s decision.
Politicians are fond of attacking the jury system when it comes to awarding damages. They say that the jury is not capable of determining fair compensation, and that there should be an arbitrary limit to their award. These same politicians support a jury’s ability to decide guilt or innocence, death penalty or life in prison.
Regardless of how you feel about the jury system. Whether you trust juries or think they lack judgment. Whether you trust a jury more or less than you trust the politicians over-riding the will of the jury. You cannot have it both ways, and neither can our politicians. If a jury is capable to decide life or death, they are capable of deciding how much compensation for an Arizona personal injury victim is fair.
Why are the majority of Arizona’s Congressmen voting to take away a jury’s right to decide fair damages against insurance companies while supporting a jury’s right to decide life and death? Maybe criminals donate less money than insurance companies. I guess you would have to ask the politicians.