University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Foreign Relations of the United States

Page View

United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, with the annual message of the president transmitted to Congress December 7, 1903
(1903)

Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Salvador,   p. 688 PDF (233.8 KB)


Page 688

688  WILLIAM LAwRENCE MERRY.NICARAGUA, COSTA RICA, AND SALVADOR. 
ABOLITION OF TRIAL BY JURY IN COSTA RICA. 
I&. JJferry to Jlft. hay. 
No. 850.] LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES, 
San Jose, Costa Rica, July 7, 1903. 
 SIR: It may be of interest to the Department of State to know that the Congress
of Costa Rica, after full and free discussion, has abolished the jury system.
In conversation with well-informed citizens of the Republic it appears that
the system has so frequently resulted in the perversion of justice that the
demand for a change had become almost unanimous. It is freely admitted that
trial by jury is generally considered as evidence of a free govej~nment,
but unless intelligent as well as honest jurors can be obtained a miscarriage
of justice generally results. One intelligent official remarked to me that
the Latin race lacks the qualities essential for jury duty. Considerations
of family, political interest, race and. personal prejudice are paramount,
and Latin Americans appear too often unable~ to consider any question on
the broad principle of abstract justice. 
 Outside of the few cities in the Republic it has been found impossible to
obtain competent juries. One gentleman represented to me that he hoped to
see trial by jury reinstated in Costa Rica, but that this can not be done
until the working classes are better educated; the present generation must
give place to that now attending the primary schools of the Republic. 
 * * * * * * 
With assurances, etc., 


Go up to Top of Page