(AP) – Confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik is being tried by a panel of two professional judges and three lay judges. Here’s a look at the role of lay judges in Norway’s courts.
WHAT LAY JUDGES ARE
Lay judges are normal Norwegian citizens picked by municipalities for four-year terms. Their names are entered into a large pool from which the court randomly selects judges for each case. The system is designed to give ordinary people a role in the Norwegian judiciary, with lay judges participating on an equal basis as professional judges in deciding guilt or innocence and sentencing.
WHO CAN BECOME A LAY JUDGE?
Lay judges have to be Norwegian citizens. A person who has been sentenced to prison in the past 10 years cannot become a lay judge, nor can members of the Norwegian government, lawyers, religious leaders, or people employed by the courts, prosecution authorities, the police and the prison authority.
HOW DO THEY PREPARE FOR TRIAL?
All lay judges are coached about their role in an informational video before each case and meet professional judges before a trial to discuss if there’s any risk they might be biased or otherwise not suited to preside over any individual case.
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