The Importance of Trial by Jury

I recently read a speech given by Federal Judge William Young on the importance of our country's jury system.  No where in the world does the citizenry  have the right to play such a vital role in government.  Unfortunately, our jury system is under attack from many different directions.  It is often widely criticized by those who have no experience or familiarity with it.  Even worse it is attacked by those special interests who seek to take advantage of those who most need the protections of it.  The jury has always been the protector of the weak from being overrun by the strong.   Judge Young's speech should be a must read for every adult and high school student in this country.  Here is an excerpt from his speech:

Yet the American jury system is dying. It is dying faster in the federal courts than in the state courts. It is dying faster on the civil side than that on the criminal side, but it is dying. It will never go entirely, but it is already marginalized. It is not at the center of our political discourse. How is this possible, with our Constitution and every one of the 50 state constitutions guaranteeing the right to trial by jury? The general answer is that we do not care.  

The entire speech can be downloaded here.  Download file

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John Power - September 27, 2007 2:43 AM

Th jury is an important part of our legal system. The speech is disturbing.

Howard Citron - November 15, 2007 1:05 PM

I am saddended to read the referenced speech. As a practicing trial lawyer, the recent news involving our country's jury system is upsetting. I read a recent news article about a lawyer who lied about his profession to get on a jury and then wrote about the fraud on a blog while the trial was ongoing. What next?

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