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Jury, Liberty, and Decay

Steve Sheppard, The Jury is Dismissed, Library of Law and Liberty (May 16, 2013, 3:42 PM)

9 Pages Posted: 17 May 2013 Last revised: 20 May 2013

Stephen M. Sheppard

St. Mary's University School of Law

Date Written: April 1, 2013

Abstract

The jury is an ancient institution for the protection of an individuals’ liberty against wrongful accusation or punishment by the state. There are functional reasons why a group of laypersons may perform this task, but it is not an absolute assurance of liberty and justice. Among the risks to juror independence are ever more powerful efforts to alter the culture from which jurors come to the legal institution. Even so, its role is considered essential for the protection of liberty in the U.S. criminal justice system. However, the role is in fact in decline as a variety of forms of action are diverted from jury review. This essay considers why such diversions have grown and finds part of the fault in the interests of litigants and officials. The role of the jury is changing, and perhaps only a crisis of liberty may save it.

Keywords: jury, role of jury, liberty, legal history, justice, American law

JEL Classification: K00, K14, K19, K41

Suggested Citation

Sheppard, Stephen M., Jury, Liberty, and Decay (April 1, 2013). Steve Sheppard, The Jury is Dismissed, Library of Law and Liberty (May 16, 2013, 3:42 PM). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2246892

Stephen M. Sheppard (Contact Author)

St. Mary's University School of Law ( email )

One Camino Santa Maria
San Antonio, TX 78228-8602
United States

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