Jury

Jury in the United States

Contents:

A specific number of citizens called to render a judgment on various issues of fact in a legal proceeding. A jury functions in its most common forms as a grand jury or as a petit, or trial, jury. The grand jury hears evidence and determines whether a person must stand trial on a Cffffn’fTai1 charge. A petft jury7 makes an actual determination of guilt or innocence in a criminal trial or resolves disputes in civil cases. Article IV of the U.S. Constitution mandates jury trials in all federal criminal cases. The right is repeated in the Sixth Amendment, which entitles an accused to “a public trial, by an impartial jury.” The Seventh Amendment preserves the right of jury trials in civil cases where the amount in controversy exceeds $20. In 1968, the Supreme Court extended the jury trial provision in criminal cases involving “serious” crimes to the states in Duncan v. Louisiana (391 U.S. 145). The Court said trial by jury is “fundamental to the American scheme of justice.” Selection of jurors must conform to constitutional and statutory guidelines. Juries must be selected in ways that do not systematically exclude any segment of the population, although no particular jury needs to reflect proportionately a community’s population. The venire or jury pool from which a particular jury is to be drawn is created by random selection from a master list of registered voters or licensed drivers within the jurisdiction. Once the venire has been established, a voir dire examination is conducted to determine if the potential jurors are impartial. Jurors whose responses to questions during voir dire are not acceptable are excused for cause. Following voir dire, counsel for either party may exclude jurors through a peremptory challenge. Juries are typically composed of twelve people, but states are permitted to use juries of as few as six people in criminal or civil cases. Federal civil juries may be smaller than twelve people, but in criminal proceedings juries must consist of twelve citizens. State juries need not resolve fact issues by unanimous decision even in criminal cases. Decisions by juries divided by as much as nine to three are constitutionally permissible in state criminal cases. Unanimity is required if the jury is as small as six and is required in all federal criminal jury decisions.

See Also

Grand Jury (Criminal Process) Master Jury List (Criminal Process) Venire (Criminal Process) Verdict (Criminal Process) Voir Dire (Criminal Process).

Analysis and Relevance

A jury trial is guaranteed to all defendants in federal criminal cases by the Sixth Amendment. The jury system, like many other elements of the U.S. legal process, was inherited from England. The expectation that selected citizens should participate in making judgments about other citizens is deeply ingrained in the legal traditions of both countries. Indeed, the utilization of the jury is seen by many as imperative to the proper functioning of the adversary system. Yet the quality of jury performance is frequently questioned. The options the Supreme Court has permitted states regarding jury size and unanimity will prompt further questions. Nonetheless, the jury fosters citizen involvement in the justice system, and, specific case deviations notwithstanding, it brings a common sense element into the legal process. A defendant in a criminal case need not exercise the right to trial by jury. Upwards of 90 percent of all criminal defendants waive jury trial and plead guilty to some charge in lieu of trial, or agree to have both questions of fact and law decided by the presiding judge.

Notes and References

  1. Definition of Jury from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California

Jury Definition

(Lat. jurata, sworn). In practice. A body of men who are sworn to declare the facts of a case as they are delivered from the evidence placed before them. It is applied loosely to a number of bodies, as coroners’ juries, etc. As applied to petit juries, its most common use, the full number of twelve men is essential to a common-law jury. 18 N. Y. 128. The origin of this venerable institution of the common law is lost in the obscurity of the middle ages. Antiquarians trace it back to an early period of English history; but, if known to the Saxons, it must have existed in a very crude form, and may have been derived to them from the mode of administering justice by the peers of litigant parties, under the feudal institutions of France, Germany, and the other northern nations of Europe. The ancient ordeals of red-hot iron and boiling water, practiced by the AngloSaxons to test the iimocence of a party accused of crime, gradually gave way to the wager of battle, in the days of the Normans; while this latter mode of trial disappeared in civil cases in the thirteenth century, when Henry II. introduced into the assizes a trial by jury. It is referred to in Magna, Charta as an institution existing in England at that time, and its subsequent history is well known. See Grand Assize; 3 Bl. Comm. 349; 1 Reeve, Hist. Eng. Law, 23, 84; Glanv. c, 9; Bracton, 155. A jury de medietate linguae is one composed half of aliens and half of denizens. Such juries might formerly be claimed, both in civil and criminal cases, where the party claiming the privilege was an alien born, by virtue of 28 Edw. III. c. 13. And see 8 Hen. VI. c. 29; 3 Geo. IIL c. 25, by which latter statute the right is thought to be taken away in civil cases. See 3 Sharswood, Bl. Comm. 360; 4 Sharswood, Bl. Comm. 352. A provision of a similar nature, providing for a jury one-half of the nationality of the party claiming the privilege, where he is a foreigner, exists in some of the states of the United States. A grand jury is one organized for certain preliminary purposes. See Grand Jury. A petit jury is a jury who try the question in issue, and pass finally upon the truth of the facts in dispute. The term jury is ordinarily applied to this body distinctively. A common jury is one drawn in the usual manner. A special or strucik jury is one selected by the assistanoe of the parties. This is granted in some cases upon motion and cause shown, under various local provislons. See 33 Eng. Law & Eq. 406. The method at common law was for the officer to return the names of forty-eight principal freeholders to the prothonotary or proper officer. The attorneys of the respective parties, being present, strike oflf each twelve names, and from the remaining twenty-four the jury is selected. A similar course is pursued in those states where such juries are allowed. See 3 Sharswood, Bl. Comm. 857.

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(Lat. jurata, sworn). In practice. A body of men who are sworn to declare the facts of a case as they are delivered from the evidence placed before them. It is applied loosely to a number of bodies, as coroners’ juries, etc. As applied to petit juries, its most common use, the full number of twelve men is essential to a common-law jury. 18 N. Y. 128. The origin of this venerable institution of the common law is lost in the obscurity of the middle ages. Antiquarians trace it back to an early period of English history; but, if known to the Saxons, it must have existed in a very crude form, and may have been derived to them from the mode of administering justice by the peers of litigant parties, under the feudal institutions of France, Germany, and the other northern nations of Europe. The ancient ordeals of red-hot iron and boiling water, practiced by the AngloSaxons to test the iimocence of a party accused of crime, gradually gave way to the wager of battle, in the days of the Normans; while this latter mode of trial disappeared in civil cases in the thirteenth century, when Henry II. introduced into the assizes a trial by jury. It is referred to in Magna, Charta as an institution existing in England at that time, and its subsequent history is well known. See Grand Assize; 3 Bl. Comm. 349; 1 Reeve, Hist. Eng. Law, 23, 84; Glanv. c, 9; Bracton, 155. A jury de medietate linguae is one composed half of aliens and half of denizens. Such juries might formerly be claimed, both in civil and criminal cases, where the party claiming the privilege was an alien born, by virtue of 28 Edw. III. c. 13. And see 8 Hen. VI. c. 29; 3 Geo. IIL c. 25, by which latter statute the right is thought to be taken away in civil cases. See 3 Sharswood, Bl. Comm. 360; 4 Sharswood, Bl. Comm. 352. A provision of a similar nature, providing for a jury one-half of the nationality of the party claiming the privilege, where he is a foreigner, exists in some of the states of the United States. A grand jury is one organized for certain preliminary purposes. See Grand Jury. A petit jury is a jury who try the question in issue, and pass finally upon the truth of the facts in dispute. The term jury is ordinarily applied to this body distinctively. A common jury is one drawn in the usual manner. A special or strucik jury is one selected by the assistanoe of the parties. This is granted in some cases upon motion and cause shown, under various local provislons. See 33 Eng. Law & Eq. 406. The method at common law was for the officer to return the names of forty-eight principal freeholders to the prothonotary or proper officer. The attorneys of the respective parties, being present, strike oflf each twelve names, and from the remaining twenty-four the jury is selected. A similar course is pursued in those states where such juries are allowed. See 3 Sharswood, Bl. Comm. 857.

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Notice

This definition of Jury Is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This definition needs to be proofread..

Plain-English Law

Jury as defined by Nolo’s Encyclopedia of Everyday Law (p. 437-455):

A group of people selected to apply the law, as stated by a judge, to the facts of a case and render a decision, called the verdict.

Practical Information

Note: Some of this information was last updated in 1982

In Practice. A certain number of men or women, selected according to law, and sworn (jurat) to inquire of certain matters of fact and declare the truth upon evidence to be laid before them. This definition embraces the various subdivision of juries, as grand jury, petit jury, common jury, special jury, coroner’s jury, sheriff’s jury.

(Revised by Ann De Vries)

What is Jury?

For a meaning of it, read Jury in the Legal Dictionary here. Browse and search more U.S. and international free legal definitions and legal terms related to Jury.

Concept of Jury

In the U.S., in the context of Judiciary power and branch, Jury has the following meaning: A trial, or petit jury, is a group of citizens (usually 12) who hear charges brought by the government against a defendant, or in a civil case, arguments between a plaintiff and defendant, and decide guilt, innocence, and liability. (Source of this definition of Jury : University of Texas)

Jury

Resources

See Also

  • Judiciary Power
  • Judiciary Branch

Resources

See Also

  • Legal Topics.
  • Litigation.

    Due Process of Law; Grand Jury.

    Further Reading (Books)

    See A. T. Vanderbilt, Judges and Jurors: Their Functions, Qualifications, and Selection (1956); P. A. Devlin, Trial by Jury (1956).

    Further Reading (Articles)

    Juries, Gale Encyclopedia of Everyday Law; January 1, 2006;

    Jury Duty Is a Poll Tax: The Case for Severing the Link between Voter Registration and Jury Service, Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems; October 1, 2012; Preller, Alexander E.

    Juries, judges, and punitive damages: an empirical study. Cornell Law Review; March 1, 2002; Eisenberg, Theodore LaFountain, Neil Ostrom, Brian Rottman, David Wells, Martin T.

    Jury Nullification as a Tool to Balance the Demands of Law and Justice, Brigham Young University Law Review; July 1, 2013; McKnight, Aaron

    Juries Should Not Be Abolished in Civil Cases, The Bill of Rights 1; January 1, 2005

    Jury convicts Gerard of murdering Hendricks in confrontation at rooster-training location, Virgin Islands Daily News; April 15, 2010; JOY BLACKBURN

    Jury Center off to a Great Start, Judicature; January 1, 2005; Sobel, Allan D.

    Jury Nullification: Right, Remedy, or Danger?, Freeman; June 1, 2011; McElroy, Wendy

    HUNG JURIES ARE PART OF GAMBLE WITH JURY TRIALS, The Roanoke Times (Roanoke, VA); August 28, 2007; Mike Allen mike.allen@roanoke.com 981-3236

    Jury service a basic duty of citizens — Via random selection, registered voters chosen, The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN); October 3, 2011

    JURY SYSTEM STANDING COMMITTEE OF COLORADO SUPREME COURT SURVEY FINDS JURORS FEEL APPREHENSIVE BEFORE SERVING, RESPECTED, APPRECIATED AFTER, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; April 3, 2008

    Jury Selection Should Be on Trial, The Washington Post; December 20, 1994; COLMAN McCARTHY

    Our Juries Will Be out for Ever Unless We Stand by This Right, The Independent (London, England); September 24, 2000; Anderson, Clive

    Jury system ‘doesn’t work,’ lawyer says, Winnipeg Free Press; August 24, 2006; McIntyre, Mike

    Jury Declines to Announce Verdict On 1 of 14 Counts Against Barry, The Washington Post; August 8, 1990; Michael York Barton Gellman

    Juries in Virginia should know more when pronouncing sentence. The Washington Post; August 19, 1990

    Jury Nullification, The Humanist; January 1, 1999; Jackson, Paul

    Jury Duty Scofflaws May Face Fine, Jail, The Washington Times (Washington, DC); August 22, 2001; Keary, Jim

    Jury Discrimination, Encyclopedia of the American Constitution; January 1, 2000

    Jury consultants work best when brought in early. Florida Bar News; January 15, 2000; Moore, Alice G.

    Capital Jury Project in relation to Crime and Race

    Capital Jury Project is included in the Encyclopedia of Race and Crime (1), beginning with: The Capital Jury Project (CJP) is a national study of jury discretion in death penalty cases that began in 1991. In order to conduct interviews with former capital trials in all major regions of the country, the CJP brought together a broad consortium of legal and social science scholars. Typically, four jurors were administered a 2- to 3-hour interview about their entire trial and posttrial experience— from jury selection to sentencing decision to how the experience has influenced their present views on capital punishment. In order to provide a detailed comparison of the sentencing process, equal numbers of cases ending in life sentences and in death penalty sentences were sampled. Over the past 17 years, more than 1,200 juror interviews from some 350 capital trials have been conducted in 14 states.

    Concept of Jury

    In the U.S., in the context of Judiciary power and branch, Jury has the following meaning: A trial, or petit jury, is a group of citizens (usually 12) who hear charges brought by the government against a defendant, or in a civil case, arguments between a plaintiff and defendant, and decide guilt, innocence, and liability. (Source of this definition of Jury : University of Texas)

    Jury

    Resources

    See Also

    • Judiciary Power
    • Judiciary Branch

    Resources

    Notes and References

    1. Entry about Capital Jury Project in the Encyclopedia of Race and Crime

    See Also

    Jury Nullification in relation to Crime and Race

    Jury Nullification is included in the Encyclopedia of Race and Crime (1), beginning with: Serving on a jury is considered to be a duty of all American citizens. Jury nullification exists when a jury ignores the facts presented in court, the legal aspects of the case, or both, and votes based on conscience, personal values and beliefs, or preconceived biases and prejudices. Through jury nullification, a jury has the power to bring about a verdict that is outside of what is expected or required by facts and law. This section examines jury nullification by presenting it within the contexts of its history, race, ethnicity, and its future use in the criminal justice system. In the initial stages of building the modern-day American criminal justice system, the concept of a “jury of peers” was introduced in the court system. This concept, still promoted today, was intended to ensure that a defendant would be judged fairly by presenting the case to a group of common citizens.

    Concept of Jury

    In the U.S., in the context of Judiciary power and branch, Jury has the following meaning: A trial, or petit jury, is a group of citizens (usually 12) who hear charges brought by the government against a defendant, or in a civil case, arguments between a plaintiff and defendant, and decide guilt, innocence, and liability. (Source of this definition of Jury : University of Texas)

    Jury

    Resources

    See Also

    • Judiciary Power
    • Judiciary Branch

    Resources

    Notes and References

    1. Entry about Jury Nullification in the Encyclopedia of Race and Crime

    See Also

    Jury Definition in the context of the Federal Court System

    The group of local citizens selected by the court to hear the evidence in a trial and render a verdict on matters of fact. See also “grand jury.”

    Jury: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

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