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The Criminal Jury in Our Time

By Kate Stith


In this essay, I consider the present discomfort with the jury in the context of our larger legal discourse. There is much about the jury (civil as well as criminal, though I am here concerned only with the latter) that does not fit comfortably into our modem constitutional and political culture. Many preeminent constitutional values of the founding period-private liberty, federalism, and local control-were well served by a requirement of jury verdicts in criminal trials. Over the past two hundred years, these values have been challenged, if not eclipsed, by competing values. Some essential characteristics of the jury--or, at least, characteristics that until recently we have believed essential to the jury-are difficult to reconcile with certain ofthe social and political values that characterize the latter halfofthe twentieth century

Topics: Law
Publisher: Yale Law School Legal Scholarship Repository
Year: 1995
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