Even though Spain has traditionally followed a civil law system, it is at present the only European country to have introduced the common law model of jury trials into its criminal proceedings through the Spanish Jury Law of 1995. Despite counterproposals for mixed courts composed of professional judges consulting with lay assessors (escabinado), the Spanish jury system is now fully functional and diligently applies its sometimes extremely complex content. The rules on jury selection mean that the selection process is tong and somewhat tedious in both theory and practice. However, theory and practice can differ in jury trials, as a jury may be dismissed in certain cut-and-dry trials following "plea bargaining" agreements between the accused and the prosecution. Although this particular mechanism is not expressly contemplated in law, such practices—grounded in the jurisprudence of the Provincial Court—have been applied at the Jury Court of Burgos, Spain. Other more general jurisprudence from the Supreme Court serves to limit the competence of jury courts. This Article discusses the role of the Spanish Jury Court, both in theory and in practice, from an institutional and a procedural perspective, and examines the reality of the jury selection process and jury service in Spanish Jury Courts, as well as the development of jury trials in court. The examples throughout this Article are drawn from criminal proceedings in the course of jury trials, with special emphasis on the Provincial Court of Burgos. Having compared theory and current practice in all areas of these proceedings, the Article draws to a close with a number of succinct concluding remarks.
Jury Selection and Jury Trial in Spain: Between Theory and Practice,
Chi.-Kent L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/cklawreview/vol86/iss2/7