Role of Youth Jury Members
The primary responsibility of jury members will be to listen carefully to the arguments made in the courtroom by both sides, perhaps taking notes to help remember key points, then, when court arguments have been completed, to follow the judge’s instructions and move to the Youth Court’s private jury room. Once in their deliberation room the jurors will select a jury chairperson to lead and moderate the discussion (or they could select the jury chairperson ahead of time, during their planning and practice sessions before the public trial). Once a chairperson has been selected, the jury’s job is to think through the arguments, discuss them, take votes on the question to be decided, and finally decide what verdict to render as a jury.
The question the jury must answer is this: Has this government adequately met its moral and legal obligation to protect and fulfill the human rights of its citizens with respect to mitigating and adapting to the climate crisis?
The prosecuting attorney will have argued that the government did not do an adequate job of protecting and fulfilling the rights of its citizens with respect to the climate crisis. The defendant government may have argued that they have done an adequate job of protecting those rights.
If jury members, during their deliberations, decide that the government has done a good job of protecting and fulfilling the rights of its citizens with respect to the climate crisis, then it will render a verdict finding the government not guilty. If, on the other hand, jury members decide that the government has done an incomplete or inadequate job, they will render a verdict finding the government guilty.
Once the decision has been made, the jury chairperson writes that simple verdict clearly on a piece of paper to later hand to the judge. Whether the jury decides to include any reasons for the verdict is entirely optional. The jury chairperson then sends someone to notify the judge that the jury has reached a verdict.