Trial by Jury: Why It Matters in a Democratic Society

In the United States, there is only one time (apart from military draft in wartime) when our government can demand that we go somewhere and do something at a specific time and place. That is when we are called to jury duty. Great thinkers from G.K. Chesterton to Alexis de Tocqueville have praised trial by jury as a key feature of democratic self-governance. Why is trial by jury important? Jurors are called on to be the "conscience of the community." By rendering a "verdict" -- which literally means a "speaking of the truth" -- See more +
In the United States, there is only one time (apart from military draft in wartime) when our government can demand that we go somewhere and do something at a specific time and place. That is when we are called to jury duty. Great thinkers from G.K. Chesterton to Alexis de Tocqueville have praised trial by jury as a key feature of democratic self-governance. Why is trial by jury important? Jurors are called on to be the "conscience of the community." By rendering a "verdict" -- which literally means a "speaking of the truth" -- jurors express the community's judgment about right and wrong, guilt and innocence. Attorney Patrick Malone explores what it means to have trial by jury, both for the governance of the community, and for the legal education of the jurors. See less -

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