The Right Of Juries To Judge The Justice Of The Law

5507 words - 22 pages

The Right of Juries to Judge the Justice of the Law

For more than six hundred years-that is, since Magna Carta, in 1215--there has been no clearer principle of
English or American constitutional law, than that, in criminal cases, it is not only the right and duty of juries
to judge what are the facts, what is the law, and what was the moral intent of the accused; but that it is also
their light, and their primary and paramount duty, to judge the justice of the law, and to hold all
laws invalid, that are, in their opinion, unjust or oppressive, and all persons guiltless in violating, or
resisting the execution of, such law.

Unless such be the right and duty of jurors, it is plain that, instead of juries being a "palladium of liberty"-a
barrier against the tyranny and oppression of the government-they are really mere tools in its hands, for
carrying into execution any injustice and oppression it may desire to have executed.

But for their right to judge the law, and the justice of the law, juries would be no protection to an accused
person, even as to matters Of fact; for, if the government can dictate to a jury any law whatever, in a
criminal case, it can certainly dictate to them the laws of evidence. That is, it can dictate what evidence is
admissible, and what inadmissible, and also what force or weight is to be given to the evidence
admitted. And if the government can thus dictate to a jury the laws of evidence, it can not only make it
necessary for them to convict on a partial exhibition of the evidence rightfully pertaining to the case, but it can
even require them to convict on any evidence whatever that it pleases to offer them.

That the rights and duties of jurors must necessarily be such as are here claimed for them, will be evident
when it is considered what the trial by jury is, and what is its object.

"The trial by jury," then, is a "trial by the country"-that is, by the people- as distinguished from a trial
by the government.

It was anciently called "trial per pais"-that is, "trial by the country." And now, in every criminal trial, the
jury are told that the accused "has, for trial, put himself upon the country; which country you (the jury)
are."

The object of this trial "by the country," or by the people, in preference to a trial by the government, is to
guard against every species of oppression by the government. In order to effect this end, it is indispensable
that the people, or "the country," judge and determine their own liberties against the government; instead of
the government's judging of and determining its own powers over the people.

If the government may decide who may, and who may not, be jurors, it will of course select only its
partisans, and those friendly to its measures. It may not only prescribe who may, and who may not, be
eligible to be drawn as jurors; but is may also question each person drawn as a juror, as to his sentiments...

Find Another Essay On The Right of Juries to Judge the Justice of the Law

"Before The Law": Themes of Law and Justice

2357 words - 10 pages more difficult to define explicitly. Plato defines justice as the equal treatment of those that are equal and the unequal treatment of those that are unequal. Modern definitions tend to define justice as the moral sense of what is right through a rational, conscientious decision-making process. In any case, these terms create an argument that is over-arching in relation to the novel. Law and justice, especially for Joseph K, has to be sought out, it

Did William Marbury Have a Right to the Commision as Justice of Peace?

712 words - 3 pages At the end of President John Adam's term, his secretary of state, John Marshall, failed to deliver documents commissioning William Marbury as the new Justice of Peace. Thomas Jefferson claimed the commissions as invalid and denied Marbury the right of Justice of Peace. Marbury then sued Jefferson's Secretary of State, James Madison asking the supreme court to demand the delivery of the documents. Did Marbury have a right to the commission

The Incorporation of the Human Right Act into British Law

2404 words - 10 pages with the European convention on Human Rights. It is bound to be cheaper because citizens will not have to go aboard to obtain justice. Most of the rights contained in the convention already exist in UK statutes or in common law so perhaps the act is not such a big step forward. But it will make a difference in dealing with the range of rights such as: · The right to life · The right to family life

The History of Law and the Justice System

1552 words - 7 pages law was required to be written, and justice couldn’t be up to a judge alone. The Twelve Tables protected the lower class from legal abuse by the upper class. A board of commissioners created ten laws, which were passed by an assembly of patricians and plebians. After that, the board disbanded. However, a year later, they claimed that the Gods sent word that the ten tables weren’t enough. So the board created two more laws, which were approved by

Evaluate the role of Juries in achieving just outcomes for VOS - Essay

999 words - 4 pages The role of juries in achieving just outcomes for VOS has significantly diminished over the years due to its contribution in eroding an individual’s right to a fair trial. Increased media influence, a lack in the understanding of legal evidence and terminology, and the alternative option of judge-only trials, all crystallise the discernible issues present in jury trials and how they hinder the achievement of justice in the judicial system via

History of Criminal Law from the Roman Justice

4665 words - 19 pages With the name of "dogma of the completude", a phenomenon appears of the medieval roman tradition - from the times where the Roman law goes being, to the few, considered as the Right for excellence, of a time for all statement in the "iuris Corpus" -, that it compelled the jurist and the Judge to trust the sufficiency of the legal system - without necessity of if helping in the fairness -, workmanship of an infallible State in the construction of

Geoffrey Roberston's "The Justice Game" Speech entitled "The reality of law and justice"

985 words - 4 pages Untitled Assessment Task 3 Geoffrey Robertson's "The Justice Game" The reality of justice and law Law... Justice... two words... Many meanings. As stated in the OED Law is all the rules of conduct in an organized community as upheld by authority. Justice is the administration of law. So justice equals law right? WRONG! As shown in Robertson's "The Justice Game" and the comedy &quot

The Methods and Techniques of Judge Dee from Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee

679 words - 3 pages job. He would have barely gained any support since these skills were signs of a good leader. The Magistrates were almost miniature monarchs of their own lands. Even though whatever they say is not law, they are able to convict and torture people until they listen. Judge Dee took everything under his control form the detective work to sentences. He used lieutenants and constables to help out, but most work was done single-handedly. No one else

According to Plato Justice occurs when all three parts of the whole perform there right proper functions. Explain Fully

1021 words - 4 pages self". I also agree with this if you do not know yourself how can you know if you are a moral person or an immoral person. I think that Aldifi had it right so did Aristotle. Plato's philosophy of altruism leads to socialism and colitrism.In conclusion that is why when all three parts of the whole perform there right proper functions does Justice occur.you could add more to the conclusion and add more qouts from plato's Republic

The role of a Provincial Court Judge, sitting in the

706 words - 3 pages punishments they carry cannot exceed 6 months imprisonment with a $2000 fine. An example of a Summary Conviction Offense would be Mischief. Someone accused of a Summary Conviction Offense will come to court, and be tried in the Criminal Division of, in this case, the Provincial Court of B.C. They are tried by a Judge, who acts as the trier-of-law, and the trier-of-fact. The Judge must interpret the facts, and decide using the law if the accused committed

DONT JUDGE SHYLOCK from the book THE MERCHANT OF VENICE

812 words - 3 pages Is dearly bought; 'tis mine, and I will have it If you deny me, fie upon your law:"(IV.i.99) Shylock justifies his rights explaining that if everybody has the right to own slaves because of purchase, then he has the right to Antonio's flesh because of the same principle. Shylocks desire for Antonio's flesh is not selfish because he only wants what is rightfully his by a mutual contract. Throughout the play Shylock expresses the

Similar Essays

The Anonymity Of Juries Essay

2510 words - 10 pages The Anonymity of Juries The American criminal justice system has traditionally made the identities and addresses of jurors known to the judge, the prosecution, and the defense. That tradition began to erode with the unprecedented sua sponte trial court decision to use an anonymous jury in the case of United States v. Barnes, a highly publicized criminal trial of notorious organized crime figures in New York City

The History Of Juries Essay

749 words - 3 pages juries. It was constructed of men who were sworn by oath to tell the king what they knew. King Henry II then expanded on the idea by using a group of white men with good morals to not only judge the accused, but also to investigate crimes. King Henry II had panels of 12 everyday, law abiding men; this aspect of it is much like modern juries. The difference is that these early jurors were “self-informing”. This means that they were expected to

The Title Of Judge Essay

1095 words - 5 pages The American legal system is a complex animal with many parts and functions dictated to it. At the heart of the legal system are the judges who make the hard calls in the name of justice and equality. While the majority of people know what a judge is, great multitudes do not know the full extent of their positions and role in the grand scheme of the legal system. And so, the question arises, “What is the role of the judge in the American legal

The Hurricane Miscarriage Of Justice Law Assignment

1213 words - 5 pages The Hurricane Miscarriage of Justice Wrongful convictions occur due to the mentality of individuals with authority mixed with the bad science. The four cases I reviewed (Walchuk, Carter, Waudby and Truscott) all had something in common. They were all convicted quickly, the crown had the mentality they were correct and scientific evidence was faulty and inaccurate. Firstly, Leon Walchuk was wrongfully convicted for killing his wife (Corinne