The Justice Studies Center of the Americas (JSCA) and the Universidad Alberto Hurtado (UAH) Law School present a new Spanish-language publication entitled Trial by Jury in Chile: A Pending Discussion for Strengthening the Adversarial Criminal Justice System and Its Public Legitimacy. The study was written by JSCA Training Director Leonel González, UAH Law Professor Rafael Blanco Suárez and Santiago Guarantee Court Judge Fernando Guzmán Fuenzalida. The text includes an introduction by Andrés Harfuch, the Vice President of the Argentine Trial by Jury Association, and was edited by JSCA Research Attorney Laura Cora Bogani.

The publication is meant to serve as an initial platform for discussing the institution of trial by jury in the context of criminal procedure in Chile. It addresses the foundations of this discussion in two ways. First, it explores the legitimacy of the criminal justice system and the public’s level of trust in it. Second, it examines the technical areas in which a popular jury system used in the adjudication of the facts could contribute to strengthening the adversarial model 20 years after its introduction.

While Chile’s criminal justice reform has made a great deal of progress and serves as a regional reference, it is facing new demands and discussions. It is thus necessary to explore new avenues of action or institutions such as trial by jury through academic discussions and the study of empirical evidence from our region.

As Andrés Harfuch writes in his introduction, “Trial by jury –like all human endeavors- is not a magical panacea that will solve every problem. In fact, one of the virtues of the justice system is that it addresses the most serious disputes in a given community. Public trial is meant to reduce conflict and the tensions surrounding it. That is where trial by jury has a great deal to contribute.”

Click here to download the publication. (In spanish)