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Trial by Jury Class 2.

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Presentation on theme: "Trial by Jury Class 2."— Presentation transcript:

1 Trial by Jury Class 2

2 7th Amendment– U.S. Constitution
“In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved,……..” Jury trial guaranteed in civil cases in federal courts Juries in the U.S. have 2 fact-finding roles: 1—they decide what the facts are in a case—what happened or how much pain did the injured person experience? And 2—the jury also applies the law as it is explained to them by the judge—to the facts they have already found. So in a tort case, the jury decides whether or not a plaintiff was negligent or at fault… These findings by the jury are made at the end of a case—after the jury has heard all the evidence from both sides and listened to the instructions of the judge as to what the law is.

3 6th Amendment– U.S. Constitution
“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed…..”

4 SRI Int’l v. Matsushita Electric Corp. of America, 775 F
SRI Int’l v. Matsushita Electric Corp. of America, 775 F.2d 1107 (9th Cir. 1985) Facts: involved a claim of patent infringement on complicated technology Defendant argued the “complexity exception”– legally or factually complex matters are “too complex” for juries to comprehend, and those cases should be tried by a single judge. Examples of complex cases: patent, antitrust, securities, mass torts… Some have argued that there should be a complexity exception to the right to jury trials in federal court.

5 Upheld right to trial by jury under the 7th Amendment;
SRI Int’l v. Matsushita Electric Corp. of America, 775 F.2d 1107 (9th Cir. 1985) Upheld right to trial by jury under the 7th Amendment; There is no distinction in the 7th Amendment between complex and less complex factual issues No basis for a complexity exception denying parties the constitutional right to a trial by jury under the 7th Amendment. --involved a claim of patent infringement on complicated technology. Assumes lawyers competently present evidence to the jury and, Judge competently supplies carefully-prepared legal instructions. Q: How does a case with complex facts affect the skills a lawyer needs to have to win the case? Almost inevitably must rely on an expert witness. In the torts context, products liability cases can be extremely complex—e.g. cases in which the plaintiff alleges a design defect in a product or a manufacturing error.

6 Arguments against jury trials
Trial by judge is more impartial Trial by judge is more efficient A judge is more independent Trial by a Judge upholds respect for the law Judge more impartial?? Juries have safety net of 6 to 12 people who must explain their reasoning lawyers and judge can eliminate jurors with most obvious prejudices. Judges are people with prejudices as well. More Efficient: Yes expensive—trials lengthier; jurors are paid, sometime sequestered in hotel, Lawyers take cost of jury trial into account—may help get case settled or parties may agree on a bench trial— More Independent: Many judges are elected in the US (not federal judges, but state judges.) Respect for the Law: Many believe that ordinary people from all walks of life on the jury are more likely to be respected by the parties than judges who are in a different social and economic class. Juries provide a check on the power of the judiciary.

7 Right to Trial by Jury Civil Cases
Right to jury trial in federal civil cases States differ on whether there is a jury trial right in civil cases (not required by 7th Amendment) Lots of litigation over kinds of civil cases entitled to jury trial Must request trial by jury in a civil case or the right is waived. 7th Amendment says that “in suits at common law…the right of trial by jury shall be preserved.” Difficult to know what kind of “suits at common law” were meant by the Constitution in 1791.

8 Right to Trial by Jury Criminal Cases
Right to Trial by Jury in federal cases Guaranteed by Article III and the 6th Amendment of the Constitution Most state Constitutions require trial by jury in all criminal cases. Supreme Court has held that trial by jury is guaranteed for all serious criminal cases. Supreme Court case involving Louisiana: Duncan v. Louisiana, Held that right of jury trial in serious criminal cases qualifies for protection under Due Process Clause of 14th Amendment and must be respected by the States.

9 Selection of the Trial Jury
Venire: list from which jurors are selected (voter registration lists, driver’s license records; telephone directory) Goal is to have cross-section of the population represented Some exemptions: person < 18; incompetents, non-English speaking etc. Hardship exemptions Hardship– must apply to judge for hardship exemption. e.g.—no child care, transportation, illness, financial burden, Venire = “to cause to come” --used to be selected from voter registration lists only—not representative enough. --Some states have automatic exemptions for policemen, lawyers, others.

10 Selection of the Trial Jury
Summons—subpoened to come to court Considered citizen’s duty—illegal in most states to fire someone serving on a jury; Voir Dire: lawyers or the judge question the jurors to determine their suitability to serve. Peremptory Challenges—lawyer can excuse certain number of jurors for any reason Challenges for Cause– can challenge any juror who has obvious bias in case. Try to determine whether any bias—know any of the parties etc. --discuss voir dire J.E.B. v. Alabama 511 U.S. 127 (1994)—all female jury found JEB to be father of a child and required him to pay child support. I: Does Equal Protection Clause forbid intentional discrimination on the basis of gender. H: No, litigants may not strike potential jurors solely on the basis of gender. Batson v. Kentucky (1986) {black suspect convicted by all-white jury] H: preemptory challenges based solely on race violate = protection.

11 Federal Rules of Evidence
Many of the Rules exist to regulate the information given to the jury. “hearsay” statement, other than testimony at trial, introduced at trial to prove the truth of the matter asserted --John talked to Joe who said that the defendant ran the red light. --excluded if offered for the truth… Expert Witnesses: hired by parties to testify. Judge must decide whether expert’s testimony rests on a reliable foundation and is relevant to the task at hand.

12 Jury Verdict – Civil Case
Jury listens to testimony and considers written evidence. Jurors don’t ask questions during trial. After closing arguments, Judge reads instructions on the law to the jury. Jury must decide the facts based on the evidence, and apply the law to the facts. Jury also decides damages. Instructions are standarized by jurisdiction based on legal issues involved. Verdict in criminal case must be unanimous in federal court and in over 40 states. Supreme Court has held that a six-person jury in a criminal case has to be unanimous (because of small size) Civil Cases: some jurisdictions require simple majority vote, other a 2/3 vote and others a unanimous verdict.

13 Jury Verdict Hung Jury: jury that is unable to reach a verdict. Judge will eventually declare a mistrial. Announcing the verdict—written verdict. Foreperson hands verdict to judge who reads it and hands it back. Verdict read by foreperson Discuss process in jury room: elect a foreperson; discuss; supposed to discuss only the evidence presented in court; take a vote etc. Jury deliberations are secret—even from judge. Civil Case: Verdict is whether defendant is liable to plaintiff and if so, amount of damages. Criminal Case: guilty or not-guilty Jury nullification

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