Jury court

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As vow Court in is Austrian Criminal Procedure Law that part of a jury court referred consisting of three professional judges. Together with the jury bank - i.e. the eight jurors as lay judges - the jury court forms the regional court as a jury court in accordance with Section 32 StPO .

Tasks in criminal proceedings

In the course of the main hearing, the jury court and its chairman exercise those powers which the lay judge's court and its chairman have in lay judiciary proceedings ( Section 302 of the Code of Criminal Procedure). This applies in particular to the conduct of negotiations in all their forms. For example, the jury can question witnesses or recommend taking certain evidence, but the decision on this rests solely with the jury.

As part of the decision-making process, the jury's court asks the jury bank the questions previously decided by the three professional judges, which the jury then has to discuss in a secret session. The question of guilt is decided solely by the jury bank, i.e. the eight lay judges ( Art. 91 Para. 2 B-VG ). They have to rely on the answers to the questions previously formulated by the jury court and give their decision in the form of a "verdict" that does not have to be justified. In the event of a guilty verdict, the court of jury decides, together with the jury, the punishment of the accused ( Section 338 of the Code of Criminal Procedure).

If the three professional judges of the court of jury unanimously come to the conclusion that the jury was wrong in pronouncing guilt, the decision must be suspended and the case must be submitted to the Supreme Court for decision. This assigns the decision to a new jury, whose composition must at least appoint a new chairman and new lay judge. The two other professional judges of the jury court can thus be part of the jury court again in the renewed proceedings.

Casting requirements

In contrast to the court of lay judges or the jury bank, the judges of the jury court do not make any special appointments regarding the number of judges of one gender. However, when appointing the jury court, if the judgment is otherwise null and void, it must be ensured that no excluded judge is involved in the judgment. Judges are to be excluded in particular if their impartiality is in doubt. The pertinent reasons for exclusion are the same as those that apply to the appointed judge in any criminal proceedings (listed in Section 43 of the Code of Criminal Procedure).