Russians place more trust in panels of jurors than ordinary courts

More than a third of Russians - 34 percent - believe that the panel of jurors, introduced in some Russian regions, is more fair and independent than ordinary courts, usual for the Soviet Union (in Soviet times, the guilty or non-guilty decision was taken not by 12 arbitrarily chosen jurors but by three persons - the professional chairman of the court and two people's assessors).

Twenty nine percent of Russians believe that jurors are less literate, less experienced and easier pressured from outside than ordinary courts; 23 percent believe that there is not much difference between them.

These figures were circulated by the Yuri Levada Analytical Centre (the former VTsIOM) on results of the representative poll of 1,591 adult Russians on April 23-27. The statistical error lies within 3.4 percent.

The poll has also shown that, in the estimate of 24 percent of the polled, panels of jurors will more often pass judgements of conviction than ordinary courts; 14 percent are of the opposite opinion; the relative majority - 41 percent - believe that the make-up of the court does not affect the rigour of the judgement.

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