Legal process in which a group of citizens sworn as jurors hears evidence presented at trial and then collectively decides on the accused’s culpability for a crime or civil offense.
Article III, section 2, of the U.S. Constitution provides the right to trial by jury for all crimes except impeachment, and the Seventh Amendment grants this right in civil cases involving twenty dollars or more. The Sixth Amendment provides the right to be tried by an impartial jury.
In Palko v. Connecticut
The Court reversed its position in Duncan v. Louisiana
Despite the Court’s recognition of the importance of trial by jury, minors in the juvenile justice system lack this right. The Court, in the case In re Gault (1967), reasoned that because juvenile court proceedings are not adversarial (in contrast to adult courts), jury trials are not necessary. However, juveniles tried in adult court gain the right to trial by jury.
Historically, jurors had the right to decide questions of both law and fact, but in Sparf and Hansen v. United States
Abramson, Jeffrey. We, the Jury. New York: Basic Books, 1994. Del Carmen, Rolando V. Criminal Procedure: Law and Practice. 6th ed. Belmont, Calif.: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2004. Finkel, Norman J. Commonsense Justice: Jurors’ Notions of the Law. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1995. Jonakait, Randolph N. The American Jury System. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2003. Kalven, Harry, Jr., and Hans Zeisel. The American Jury. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970. Litan, Robert E., ed. Verdict: Assessing the Civil Jury System. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1993. Schwartz, Victor E., et al. Safeguarding the Right to a Representative Jury: The Need for Improved Jury Service Laws. Washington, D.C.: National Legal Center for the Public Interest, 2003.
Duncan v. Louisiana
Gault, In re
Jury composition and size