Keep a pen or pencil and place your binder on the back table. Each group needs to assign the following responsibilities: A group of ordinary citizens who are chosen to render a decision in a court case H.
The American Trial Jury: Most accusations of criminal wrongdoing in England, where juries would first surface in the 13th century, led to trial by ordeal with the outcome believed to represent divine intervention.
The jury helps to sustain democratic values. The jury is a key part of the due process protections guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. Yet we also hear many criticisms about juries in practice. Juries know too much about a case from media publicity to be able to render a fair judgment, or juries know too little and are unable to comprehend the issues in complex cases.
Finally, too many Americans shrink from their civic duty by seeking to avoid jury service. This article looks at some of the issues and controversies involving our jury system as it presently operates.
It attempts to measure progress in the jury as a democratic institution against critiques as to ways in which the system falls short and could be improved. Representation and Fairness In the 20th century, the jury pool from which actual jurors are recruited and selected has become increasingly more representative of the racial, ethnic, and gender diversity of America.
This has not happened easily, however. Accordingly, juries today more closely resemble the many faces of America. Whereas women rarely served on juries in the early part of the century, now women often outnumber men on juries.
More slowly, African Americans and other people of color have gained entry to the jury pool and the jury box in the courtroom. In ordinary cases, prosecutors are sometimes accused of using peremptory challenges to exclude African Americans from juries, a practice that the U.
Supreme Court found unconstitutional in Batson v. Today, we believe that only jurors who know nothing or very little about a case will be able to render a fair verdict. Finding such jurors is easy to accomplish in most routine cases; for example, the voir dire process helps to identify and exclude prospective jurors who know, or are related to, the parties, or who know about the facts of the case.
If the media coverage is mostly local or regional, a change of venue moving the trial from one county to another may remedy the problem.
Concern for the prejudicial effects of pretrial news coverage has surfaced periodically throughout the 20th century. The early days of television produced some examples of particularly outlandish coverage. Maxwell, a landmark U. Traditionally, juries have been expected to listen to the arguments and evidence presented during the course of a trial.
As witness testimony, attorney arguments, and trials have become longer and more complex, however, a variety of measures designed to enhance the performance of juries have been debated and often enacted.
Currently, all states permit jurors to take notes during trials. In a growing number of states, jurors may submit to the judge questions for witnesses, which the judge may ask at her or his discretion.
In Arizona and local jurisdictions in a few other states, jurors in civil cases are permitted to discuss the evidence as the case progresses, prior to deliberations.
Preliminary studies of the impact of these reforms indicate improved jury decision making. For example, observers have noted that in the murder trial of O.
Simpson and the drug trial of Washington, D. Race-based jury nullification is particularly controversial. Should African American jurors vote to acquit defendants charged, say, in drug cases if they believe that enforcement and prosecution of drug possession laws might be much more severe for blacks than whites?Whoops!
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The American Trial Jury: Current Issues and Controversies. John Paul Ryan. At the turn of the last millennium in A.D., when the secular and religious realms of Western society were not clearly separated, the seed of our jury system had not yet been planted.
Is The American Jury System Still A Good Idea Evie Dunagan Mr. Potoka American Law & Justice 23 November Problems in the System A Florida jury found Casey Anthony not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee Marie As so often happens in high profile cases, the jury was wrong. Casey clearly murdered her daughter. American jury system could be very helpful, as well as cause damage because of making wrong decisions in serious cases. A good example of that is the situation with OJ Simpson. A good example of that is the situation with OJ Simpson. The American Trial Jury: Current Issues and Controversies. John Paul Ryan. At the turn of the last millennium in A.D., when the secular and religious realms of Western society were not clearly separated, the seed of our jury system had not yet been planted.
Look at the docu— ments that follow and answer our question: Is the American jury system still a good idea? This page may be reproduced for classroom use Jury System Mini-Q . Background Essay Is the American Jury System Still a Good Idea? Jury System Mini-Q EV It happens every year: A big trial is covered on television and in the newspapers.
The Value Of A Jury System - The Value of a Jury System The Founders of our nation understood that no idea was more central to our Bill of Rights -- indeed, to government of the people, by the people, and for the people -- than the citizen jury.
The Jury System - The concept of the jury system was probably imported into Britain after the Norman Conquest, though its early functions were quite different from those today.
Early jurors in England acted as witnesses providing.