Would a jury have convicted David Trebilcock? Examining bench trials
Wed, 15 Feb 2012 17:23:24 GMT —
Before Judge Michael Dwyer delivered his verdict in the David Trebilcock trial, he expressed concerns about the bench trial laws in New York state.
Trebilcock was accused of stabbing and killing 6-year-old Lauren Belius last July. Judge Dwyer said Tuesday that Trebilcock is not criminally responsible because of mental disease or defect.
The judge had to make that decision on his own because Trebilcock requested a bench trial. That means there is not a jury at the court proceedings.
Judge Dwyer says he does not agree with the bench trial law as it stands in New York. He says right now, the defendant has the right to choose if he wants a jury trial or a trial before a judge. Dwyer thinks it should be up to the defense, prosecution, and judge. He says all three should have to agree.
He says he has great faith in the jury system.
"The analysis and insight of twelve people will always be superior to that of one," says Dwyer. "Jurors often tell me that they have started deliberations with a certain mindset, then change their opinions after listening to the opinions of their fellow jurors. A single judge does not have the opportunity to listen to the insights of others."
Dwyer says despite the fact he disagrees with the law, he took an oath and will uphold the law.
Do you think the Trebilcock case could have turned out differently if it had been a jury trial instead of a bench trial? Post your comments below.