Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentCivic Participation · 1 decade ago

How do the United States citizens serve on trial courts and why?

Also...what do you think?:

1. Should the United States court system look for alternatives to a trial by jury?

2. Is it fair and just to leave the deciding vote of a criminal case in the hands of a jury comprised of United States citizens? Why!? If not, should the deciding voted be determined by a dfferent decision making groupor individual?


Something that i am wondering.....

~How does an accused person recieve a fair and just trial in your mind?

There are something things to let your mind think about, do me a favor and if you give me some answers will you let me know which question you are answering some how, thanks for your help and opinions! :]


I really only am wondering for the most part about these two questions:

1. Is it fair and just to leave the deciding vote of a criminal case in the hands of a jury comprised of United States citizens? Why!? If not, should the deciding voted be determined by a dfferent decision making groupor individual?

2. How does an accused person recieve a fair and just trial in your mind?

Please if you answer them LABEL your answers some how so i know which on you are talking about, other wise it gets a little confusing! Thanks so much!

4 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense

    The right to a jury has always depended on the nature of the offense with which the defendant is charged. Petty offenses—those punishable by imprisonment for not more than six months—are not covered by the jury requirement. Even where multiple petty offenses are concerned, the total time of imprisonment possibly exceeding six months, the right to a jury trial does not exist (Lewis v. US, 1996). Proceedings in state juvenile courts do not require juries either.

    Originally, the Supreme Court held that the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial indicated a right to "a trial by jury as understood and applied at common law, and includes all the essential elements as they were recognized in this country and England when the Constitution was adopted." Therefore, it was held that juries had to be composed of twelve persons and that verdicts had to be unanimous, as was customary in England. When, under the Fourteenth Amendment, the Supreme Court extended the right to a trial by jury to defendants in state courts, it re-examined some of the standards. It has been held that the twelve came to be the number of jurors by "historical accident," and that a jury of six would be sufficient. Although on the basis of history and precedent the Sixth Amendment mandates unanimity in a federal jury trial, the Supreme Court has ruled that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, while requiring States to provide jury trials for serious crimes, does not incorporate all the elements of a jury trial within the meaning of the Sixth Amendment and does not require jury unanimity.

    Juries must be, by the terms of the Sixth Amendment, impartial. Firstly, the phrase has been interpreted as requiring individual jurors to be unbiased. At voir dire, each side may question potential jurors to determine any bias, and challenge them if the same is found; the court determines the validity of these challenges for cause. The defendant may not challenge a conviction, however, on the grounds that a challenge for cause was denied incorrectly if the defendant had the opportunity to use peremptory challenges.

    Another factor in determining the impartiality of the jury is the nature of the panel, or venire, from which the jurors are selected. Venires must represent a fair cross-section of the community; the defendant may establish that the requirement was violated by showing that the allegedly excluded group is a "distinctive" one in the community, that the representation of such a group in venires is unreasonable and unfair in regard to the number of persons belonging to such a group and that the underrepresentation is caused by a systematic exclusion in the selection process. Thus, in Taylor v. Louisiana (1975), the Supreme Court invalidated a state law that exempted women who had not made a declaration of willingness to serve from jury service, while not doing the same for men.

    The Constitution originally required that defendants be tried by juries selected from the state in which the crime was committed. The Sixth Amendment extends the rule by requiring trials to occur in districts ascertained by statute. As the Supreme Court found in Beavers v. Henkel (1904), the place where the offense is charged to have occurred determines the trial's location. Where multiple districts are alleged to have been locations of the crime, any of them may be chosen for the trial. In cases of offenses not committed in any state (for example, offenses committed at sea), the place of trial may be determined by Congress.

    Each day, American citizens just like you participate in our judicial process by serving as jurors. This page explains how lawsuits are tried and the important role of jurors within the judicial system.

    The United States jury system and our system in New Jersey have their source in English history. The right to trial by jury in this country dates back to the Colonial period. This right is discussed in the Declaration of Independence, and is guaranteed by the Sixth and Seventh Amendments to the United States Constitution, and in Article One of the New Jersey Constitution.

    The guarantee of trial by jury is the reason you have been called to serve as a juror. It is both an honor and a duty to participate in our judicial process. As a juror, you will have the opportunity to observe, participate in, and increase your knowledge about the operation of our court system and the judicial branch of government.

    The entire group summoned for service by the Assignment Judge is called the jury panel. The Jury Management Office within each county works with the trial judges and criminal and civil division managers to schedule a sufficient number of jurors for each day's anticipated trials. The Jury Management Office communicates with judges or their staff throughout the day so that jurors are available when needed and so that members of the jury panel may be dismissed for the day once all trial needs are met.

    The first step in a trial is to select from the panel the number of jurors required to try the case. As discussed earlier, in a civil case there are usually eight jurors seated, with six deliberating and the others selected as alternates. In criminal cases, there are usually 14 jurors selected so that alternates are available. Jurors may be selected by drawing names or numbers from a box, or they may be randomly selected by computer. If you are called as a prospective juror you are required to truthfully answer all questions regarding your qualifications to serve as a juror in the case. Each of the lawyers or participants in the case has been provided with a jury list, which contains information regarding each juror's name, address and occupation.

    After a short statement is given describing the case and the parties involved, the judge will question the prospective jurors to determine if they are qualified to act fairly impartially and have no interest in the result of the case. There are certain legal grounds for which a juror may be challenged for cause and excused, such as a juror being incapable of being impartial due to prior dealings with a party, witness, or attorney involved in the case.

    In addition, each side can excuse a certain number of jurors without giving any reason These are called peremptory challenges. The number of peremptory challenges is limited and is specified within the court rules. Peremptory challenges may be used, for example, when a party believes that a prospective juror has had some experience with the issues or facts in the case, and that experience could impact how that juror will decide the matter. In that situation, a party may simply prefer to have another juror seated. Jurors who are challenged should not feel offended -- such procedures are simply another safeguard operating within our trial system. The lawyers or the judge may ask prospective jurors questions about their personal lives and beliefs. These questions should be answered fairly, openly, candidly, and without embarrassment. If there is any reason prospective jurors feel they should not serve, that reason should be made known during this questioning. If there is a question a prospective juror feels he or she cannot answer in public, a request may be made to tell the judge privately at the bench. The entire process of juror questioning is called voir dire, which is French for "speak the truth."

    KINDA LONG, but that hits the important aspects

    Source(s): am a Paralegal, state of Indiana
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  • 1 decade ago

    First, there is an alternative to trial by jury: any defendant in a US Court can wave the right to a jury trial and have the judge decide.

    Second, if the defendant chooses to go with a jury...yeah, it's pretty fair. I've served on a jury, and I can tell you that the 12 people in the room during deliberations were going out of our way to be fair and impartial, and come to a decision based on the evidence presented.

    Finally, the fairness is provided by the judge, who makes sure that both sides play fair in their presentation of evidence, gives direction to the jury as needed, then defines the instructions by which the jury deliberates.

    There, I think I answered all of them as best I could. Good question.

    EDIT: Sway_27 has the jury selection process down right; I'd only add that the pool is usually chosen randomly from voter registration and DMV records.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    This is what happens, you get put into a pool, when they need jurors, they send you a summons and you show up at the courthouse, then the selection rpocess takes place, they try to find jurors who are most likely to not have an opinion already about the case at hand and jurors that are selcted are usually gicven special instructions, espexcially on high profile cases.

    I am still undecided on the whole trial by jury, it could be good and bad at times.

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  • 4 years ago

    because of the fact the regulation demands them to attain this. additionally because of the fact all of us recognize that if we are charged with against the regulation, we prefer an impartial group of our pals to make certain if we broke the regulation and so we function jurors in trial courts for others. it is the equipment human beings have confidence in and it protects our rights and freedoms.

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