Open Ballot: should technical court cases be decided by technical people?
In a recent court case, a jury took just three days to decide that Samsung have infringed all over Apple's patents. The decision was reached so quickly that it looks like they didn't even have time to check their maths. In their initial verdict they awarded damages $2'000'000 for a phones that even they found not to infringe, and in the amended verdict, they failed to add up the damages correctly.
This speed is especially surprising given the complex technical nature of some of the patents under contention (OK, some were little more than rounded rectangles). This has left some commentators to wondering how they managed to fully comprehend all the issues so quickly. Above The Law writes: "It would take me more than three days to understand all the terms in the verdict! Much less come to a legally binding decision on all of these separate issues. Did you guys just flip a coin?"
Contrast this with the Oracle vs Google case where the judge presiding over the proceedings was himself a programmer, and able to guide the court on technical matters. To ensure a fair trial, he even learned Java specifically for the case.
Our question is this: Should judges and / or jurors in technical cases be required to have some technical knowledge so they can fully understand the issues under consideration?