Preserving the Right to Trial by Jury

Despite the recent controversial decisions made by the Bush Administration in their designation of individuals as “unlawful enemy combatants” and not deserving of a trial by jury, the right to trial by jury has been an integral part of the American system of law and justice and should be preserved.

Our jury system has many advantages. A jury is made up of local citizens, men and women from the community, who are able to evaluate cases based on community standards. The composition of the jury is not known in advance, so that the exertion of undue influence is rendered less likely. Jurors cannot be paid by either side, so that they can be considered relatively impartial. Jurors complete their service during the trial process and subsequently return to their private lives, so that ongoing efforts to influence their decisions do not typically occur. It may be possible to find an errant adjudicator, usually a judge, but it is less likely to find twelve jurors who will come to an outrageous conclusion.

America’s Founding Fathers, those august signers and framers of the U.S. Constitution, recognized in their collective judgment that a jury of a defendant’s “peers,” while not always fair or impartial, would be more reliable at arriving at “reasonable” decisions. But in some quarters of American society, the right to a trial by jury is under siege. In addition to the controversial “wartime” extraordinary powers invested in the Bush Administration’s policies toward detainees, designating a person as an “unlawful combatant” changes the rules pertaining to jury trials, making them subject to military tribunals in place of juries. Other groups hoisting agendas advocate for the elimination of the right to trial by jury in the interests of avoiding frivolous or nugatory lawsuits. But is there a hidden agenda behind such claims? Is the issue about not trusting a panel of individual jurors to come to a clear consensus? Is wariness about frivolous lawsuits often a smokescreen for immunizing wrongdoers from the consequences of their behavior? Would the dismissal of all juries really be in the best interests of our citizens? The right to trial by jury is an integral part of the American system of law and justice and should be preserved.

Alexandra Reed writes for Connecticut personal injury law firm, Stratton Faxon. Contact Stratton Faxon to speak with a Connecticut accident lawyer about your personal injury, wrongful death, or Connecticut malpractice case. To learn more about Connecticut accident lawyer, Connecticut personal injury, Connecticut malpractice lawyer, visit

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