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
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