Attorney Sidebar: The Importance of Trial by Jury to Constitutional Accountability

~ Thomas Jefferson

I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.

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Trial by jury is part of the bright constellation which leads to peace, liberty and safety.

Thomas Jefferson reminds us that our right to trial by jury is critical to our Constitution, our government, our peace, our liberty and our safety.

Think about the negative implications when the accountability afforded by a jury trial is impinged by the acts of the government whether by legislation or rule making.  This would include legislation to cap jury verdicts which distrusts a jury of one’s peers, the conscience of the community, and deprives those suffering losses to bear the cost of another’s negligence.

Bushell’s Case decided back in 1670 demonstrates how government treated juries as rubber stamps of the Crown’s decision and those of the presiding judge, the controls on peaceful assembly, free speech and pursuit of religious liberty all wrapped up in one when Quakers speaking in front of Grace Street Church in London.  Jurors died for the preservation of this right, and withstood physical confinement and deprivations rather than be told to render a verdict that was unjust simply because that was what the presiding judge directed they do!

The above link is to the facts, but if you want a telling and spell-binding recitation that goes in to the events and the travails of the jurors, then read “I Remember Atticus: Inspiring Stories Every Trial Lawyer Should Know” by Jim M. Perdue.