Why the Founders Cherished the Jury

11 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2019

Date Written: April 1, 2019


The Founders insistence on trial by jury was not just a preference for ritualistic formalities. It was a prescriptive demand to protect liberty. It shifted the authority for final decisions from government bureaucrats into the hands of citizens, so that “before an individual can lose her liberty in a criminal case, the people themselves must agree.” The legislature could propose laws criminalizing behavior, the executive could enforce those laws with appropriate resources, and the judiciary could oversee the process to ensure legality. But the institution of the jury was the final check to hold all three branches accountable.

Keywords: criminal justice, plea bargaining, prosecutor, jury

Suggested Citation

Richardson, Jordan, Why the Founders Cherished the Jury (April 1, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3417747 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3417747

Jordan Richardson (Contact Author)

Independent ( email )

United States

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