An in depth look at the role and rights of juries in the american justice system

In Depth Plea Bargains: Many countries, however, do not allow plea bargains, considering them unethical and immoral. What Are Plea Bargains? Plea bargains are an agreement in a criminal case between the prosecutor and the defendant that usually involves the defendant pleading guilty in order to receive a lesser offense or sentence.

An in depth look at the role and rights of juries in the american justice system

Indeed, Blackstone, the 18th century English scholar of law, was at pains to point out that in English law, trial by jury was a privilege, not a right. These other countries also make less frequent use of the civil jury; indeed, outside North Americathe civil jury has all but disappeared.

A judge will excuse anyone whose biased attitudes will interfere with his or her duties as a juror.

Legal basis: Federal and state

This pretrial phase called the voir dire, which weeds out biased jurors, is typically absent in England and Canada. Except for special circumstances, questioning jurors about their beliefs is forbidden. English and Canadian jurors are more or less randomly selected from the jury pool. At one time, American juries were instructed that after hearing the evidence, they had the right both to decide the facts of the case and to interpret the meaning of the law, regardless of what the judge told them.

Though this practice has changed in all but two states, American juries still have more power and discretion than English and Canadian juries. American juries play an important role in deciding whether or not the death penalty should be given to persons convicted of first-degree murder. Additionally, thirteen states give the jury the authority to prescribe the length of sentence for defendants convicted of other serious crimes.

When English and Canadian lawyers and judges are asked about the American judicial system, they express disapproval concerning the powers given to American juries. In their countries, juries are far more subservient to judges. Judges alone pronounce the law and set sentences. How did it become so deeply embedded in American democratic ethos?

The roots of the separate evolution began in the Colonial period. Even today, the jury is not a static institution but one which continues the process of gradual evolution.

While it is true that many colonists, including the Puritans and, later, people like William Penn, were rebels and dissenters, nevertheless they thought like the English, felt an allegiance to the King, and brought with them English customs, political institutions-and the law.

It was natural for the colonists to model their laws on those of the mother country. Thus, early Colonial law was based upon the English common law and British parliamentary statutes. However, England was a long way off in the days of sailing ships. One of these problems was a paucity of judges trained in law.

Another was the tendency of the Crown to send over governors and administrators who were greedy and unsympathetic to the needs of the colonists, and who frequently treated the colonists as less than equal. For this reason, American colonists began to develop their own perspectives on law and justice rather than to trust poorly trained judges or authorities whose interests lay elsewhere.

Furthermore, the jury of peers in itself became a ready-made vehicle for implementing revolutionary ideas and principles, particularly when the needs of new colonists and the dictates of the Crown were in conflict. Although the historical records of that period are incomplete, there is evidence showing that very early on the jury began to acquire a new political significance.

This difference from the English jury was subtle and largely unnoticed until an eloquent Philadelphia lawyer gave voice to "the law of the future" in the trial of John Peter Zenger.

Most American history books hail the trial of Zenger for seditious libel in as the leading case for freedom of the press and as an example of a victory of the people over an aristocracy.

Among other actions, Cosby dismissed a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who asserted that a legal suit brought by Cosby was improper. Cosby also used his official powers to support his cronies against another group in a profitable land speculation dispute. As the conflict heated up, Alexander used almost every section of the paper, including the advertising section, to criticize and satirize Governor Cosby and his associates.

He spent eight difficult months in jail awaiting trial while Alexander continued to stir the populace against Cosby.

An in depth look at the role and rights of juries in the american justice system

Alexander and another lawyer, William Smith, prepared to defend Zenger vigorously, as well as make the trial an indictment of Governor Cosby and his administration.

On a technicality, the governor had Alexander and Smith disbarred. Zenger was then required to petition for a new counsel. Since there were few lawyers in New York as experienced and skilled as Alexander and Smith, he was forced to accept the "services of one John Chambers.Plea bargains are extraordinarily common in the American legal system, accounting for roughly 90% of all criminal cases.

Many countries, however, do not allow plea In Depth; Plea Bargains: In Depth the report states the following: "We conclude that the efficient operation of Alaska's criminal justice system did not depend upon plea.

sarial adjudication, and the dual state-federal justice system. This brief exposi- it became the American primer on the role and duties of jurors.”). Alschuler & Deiss, supra note 8, at The discussion of the American criminal .

By looking at the administration of justice before the advent ot the jury system, the early history of juries, and the evolution of the modern jury in the United States, one sees the key role of the jury in ensuring fairness and public confidence in the justice system. A Look at Some of the Most Significant Ideas of John Marshall on American Justice System An In-Depth Look at the Role and Rights of Juries in the American Justice System.

5, words. 12 pages. The Issue of Poverty, Crime Among Teenagers and American Justice System in the United States A Need for a Reform in the American . Aug 17,  · “If you repeatedly see all-white juries convict African-Americans, what does that do to public confidence in the criminal justice system?” asked Elisabeth A.

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An in depth look at the role and rights of juries in the american justice system

For more than six hundred years-that is, since Magna Carta, in 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.

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