Sunday, October 4, 2009
[1822 - Rutherford Birchard Hayes, 19th President,
born in Delaware, Ohio]
Trial by Jury
The jury trial concept was introduced early into the American colonies that formed our great nation. The first colonists well understood the crucial importance of the right to trial by a jury of one's peers; a right that had been won at great cost from the English monarchs in the mother country. Unfortunately, the last half century of legal evolution in these United States has seen a continuing erosion of this key right.
On the criminal side, accused persons are frightened and coerced by prosecutors, judges, and their own defense counsel into accepting plea bargains in lieu of risking a trial that might result in a more severe sentence. On the civil side of the justice system, a whole industry has grown up around mediation, arbitration, and other forms of coerced settlement of cases. Instead of trying cases, most judges and lawyers now spend their time participating in and administering the behemoth called Discovery, a virtual bottomless pit for consuming legal resources. While the current system provides full employment for the thousands of new lawyers that pour out of our law schools each year, it is a far cry from justice, and serves the interests of the wealthy and the powerful at the expense of all the rest.
William's Whimsical Words:
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Last updated on October 3, 2009