Trial By Jury - Quiz Answers Explained
- False. Magna Carta's article 39 provided "No freemen shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him nor send upon him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land." In hindsight, "right to trial by a jury of his peers" was read into the phrase "lawful judgment of his peers." The original purpose of Magna Carta, however, was to reassert the rights of the barons against the king, not to grant new liberties to the English people at large. The association between Magna Carta and the right to trial by jury owes much to Sir Edward Coke's reinterpretation of the Magna Carta in the early seventeenth century.
The legal reforms of King Henry II (reigned 1154-89) were more important to the development of trial by jury in the Middle Ages. These reforms included:
- the "assize" actions, which made the use of panels resembling trial juries to resolve disputes over land and inheritances, and
- the Assize of Clarendon, which solidified the use of what would become known as "grand" juries.
- False. Medieval juries have been described as "self-informing" juries. They were expected to bring their knowledge of the parties and the events at issue to the trial. The right of juries to rely on their own personal knowledge was affirmed as late as 1670 in Bushell's Case.
- True. Jurors could be held liable for an "untrue" verdict under the action for a writ of attaint. The trial jury's verdict would be tried again by a jury of 24 persons, and if their verdict was overturned, they were liable to be arrested and imprisoned, declared "infamous," and forfeit their lands and goods. The independence of jurors was eventually established in Bushell's Case (1670) and the writ of attaint fell into disuse, though it was not formally abolished until 1825.
- False. Although trial by jury in criminal trials is provided for in Article III, Section 2, the Constitution did not originally guarantee the right to trial by jury in civil cases. This became a major source of "antifederalist" objections to the Constitution. The right to trial by jury in most civil cases was eventually protected by the Seventh Amendment.
- True. In Williams v. Florida, 399 U.S. 78 (1970), the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the use of six-member jury for non-capital criminal cases in Florida. The Court described the tradition of 12-member juries as an "historical accident" and found nothing in the Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury that required a jury of 12.
- False. In two cases decided in 1972 ( Apodaca v. Oregon, 406 U.S. 404, and Johnson v. Louisiana, 406 U.S. 356), the Supreme Court upheld criminal convictions by "super-majorities" of 12-member juries. In the Oregon case, 10 of 12 jurors voted to convict. In the Louisiana case, the verdict was based on the decision of 9 of 12 jurors. Few states have adopted less-than-unanimous verdict standards for criminal juries.
- True. The losing party can make a post-trial motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict. The judge can set aside the verdict if he or she finds that the jury verdict had no reasonable basis in fact.
- False. Once a jury delivers a verdict of not guilty in a case, the Fifth Amendment's prohibition against placing a person in double jeopardy for a crime takes effect.
- True. England abolished peremptory challenges in 1989. English jurors now can be dismissed only for cause. Peremptory challenges are allowed in the United States; the number of challenges allowed each party varies by jurisdiction.
- True. The Supreme Court has affirmed that jury pools are to represent a "fair cross-section" of the community, with no one denied service on the basis of race, sex, or other impermissible factors. See, for example, Taylor v. Louisiana, 419 U.S. 522 (1975) [striking down state law automatically exempting women from service unless they filed a written declaration of willingness to serve], and Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986) [declaring impermissible the use of peremptory challenges to alter the racial makeup of the jury].