Lstreadingnotesmarch31

The case of Duncan v. Louisiana held that the constitution was violated when the right to a jury trial was refuted. The court ruled that it was in direct violation of the 6th amendment. The jury serves to counter government oppression when the founding fathers created an independent judicial system. The judge aknowledged the jury's weaknesses being they may misinterpret complex evidence/testimony and they may be unpredictable. He went on to say however that evidence has shown that the jury does come to sound decisions based on the evidence. In Blakely v. Washington, the judge utilized precedent to convey that a judge's authority to sentace is solely derived from the jury's conviction. The judge cannot decide on his own. The founding fathers insisted on trial by jury because they were unwilling to trust the government apart from a jury. The judge reversed the courts decision and allowed the defendent to recieve a jury trial. He said although the punishment may have been fair, if the legal system was willing to deprive him of 3 years of liberty, he has a right to a jury. In Trial by Jury in the United States, Tocqueville considers the jury in 2 points of view: political and judicial. He argues that the jury is political because it places the direction of society in the hands of the governed and keeps the majority empowered. It seen sparsely and used as an instrument of justice in criminal cases. In civil cases, its effects are more publicized because it directly affects the community. In Jury Nullification by Scheflin we learn about the long history of nullification in America. It began in the British colonies with lawyers like Alexander Hamilton insisting that the jury judge with their conscience rather than the strict doctrine of the law. It showed again before the American Revolution when it engrained intself into the American pysche because of British oppression. The founding fathers urged jurors to evaluate both fact and law to combat judical oppression. Jury nullification stands between the will of the state and the will of the people and serves in a sense as a mediator. This allows the judical system to retain its legitimacy because social unrest is curtailed when the will of the people is victorious. The juror is the embodiment of community values. Merciful Juries disputed whether or not jurors should be informed of their right to nullify. There is currently a populist movement to inform the jury of this right and it is more active than ever in modern times. The most publicity is given to cases where a clash of values is present. The passage argues that jurys should respect acts of legislature but obtain the right to decide whether or not the law produces justice. In The United States v. Dougherty the judge concluded that nullification is nessicary to counter casehardened judges and arbitrary prosecutors. He went on to say that the jury does not have to be informed of this right because it would undermine jury deliberation and put unnessicary stress on the juror. If the jury decides to nullify, they must feel so passionate that they independently pursue it.

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