Juries, right to juries - kent

Juries, right to juries - kent - Juries & the Adversarial...

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Right to a Jury Trial 0. The right to a jury trial is governed by three different sets of rules that apply to three different types of cases: 0. Civil cases in federal court 1. Civil cases in state court, and 2. Criminal cases (whether in federal court or state court). Civil Cases in Federal Court 0. In civil cases in federal court the right to a jury trial is governed by the 7th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “In Suits at Common Law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried to a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the Common Law.” 1. It is clear that the Amendment does not provide for jury trials in all federal civil cases 0. As of the time of the Amendment’s adoption in 1791 there were several kinds of cases that were not “Suits at Common Law”. 1. Subsequently many kinds of suits have come into being that did not exist at all in 1791, and the law/equity distinction was abolished in 1938. Civil Cases in Federal Court cont. 2. It is sometimes difficult to decide what jury trial rights “shall be preserved” under the 7th Amendment. 2. If the suit seeks money damages - the traditional remedy under the common law – likely a right to a jury trial, 3. If the suit seeks only equitable relief - like an injunction – likely no right to a jury trial. 3. Since about 1980 there has been a question whether there is a complexity exception to the 7th Amendment. 4. Cases so complex that jurors cannot be expected to have the capacity to rationally decide them; thus submitting such cases to a jury would violate the Due Process Clause. 5. One federal circuit has held that a “complex case” exception exists 6. Supreme Court has never directly ruled on the issue. Civil Cases in State Court Criminal Cases 1. The governing law for criminal cases in both federal and state courts is the 6th Amendment, which provides in part: “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 wherein the crime shall have been committed.” Criminal Cases 2. The 6th Amendment originally only applied to federal criminal prosecutions 3. In 1968 the Supreme Court decided that a right to trial by jury in most criminal cases is so fundamental that it constitutes an element of due process that the state is obligated to provide by the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause. 4. (Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U.S. 145). Criminal Cases 5.
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This note was uploaded on 02/03/2009 for the course PLSC 382I taught by Professor Kent,shanise during the Spring '08 term at Binghamton University.

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Juries, right to juries - kent - Juries & the Adversarial...

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