Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Professional Juries Violate the Spirit of Our Republic

DEAR ABBY: I find the idea of "professional" jurors frightening. Part of the problem with courts seems to be their indifference to reality. Judges seem more interested in presenting new and creative interpretations of laws than in seeing that they are implemented for the good of the citizens. Lawyers select jurors who will give them the verdict they want, not necessarily a just and honest one. Courts are filled not with trial hearings, but performances designed to appeal to jurors' emotions.

However, establishing "professional" juries won't change any of this. What it will do is establish a bureaucracy that's capable of setting its own political agenda as to who goes to court. Many tyrannies have "judge panel trials" for this reason. If a panel gives too many politically incorrect verdicts, they are fired.

I remember a speech I heard as a child that was pressing for more individual participation in public affairs. The speaker said too many people were willing to "let Joe do it" when civic duties presented themselves. He reminded us that Joe's last name might very well be Stalin.

Government should be controlled by the people -- not the politicians. -- DAVID KERMES, OAKDALE, MINN.