The Role of the Jury in America


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The idea of the jury system came to Britain with the Norman Conquest and its role was quite different from what we have today. At that time the jury was basically just a group of witnesses who provide information to the court. Under Henry II’s reign, the role of the jury became deliberating on evidence produced by the parties involved in a dispute and gradually the jury became the system we have today.

A jury is a group of people who have been chosen to listen to all the facts in a trial in a law court and to decide if a person is guilty or not guilty (Cambridge Dictionary). In most cases, the judge gives more information to the jury about the relevant law so that the jurors can make an appropriate decision. Juries are used in both criminal and civil cases although nowadays the use of juries is very small (Wikipedia). Various reasons make the role of the jury so important in the justice system. One of them is the fact that people are more likely to accept a decision made by a group of people rather than just by one person (The Pros and Cons of Jury System). If only one person is making the decision it is easy to question their authority. It also gives ordinary people the opportunity to take part in important decision making which gives the feeling of being useful to society. The jury system has some significant disadvantages as well. For example, in some really complicated cases, the jury may lack the knowledge of some laws and might not understand how deep a situation actually is. Another problem is that sometimes the jury might decide based on emotions rather than based on the facts. For example, there are cases in the USA where emotions or racism disturbed the judgment of the jurors (Wikipedia).

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As a whole, the jury plays have its good sides and of course, it has its bad sides but it is still playing a huge role in the justice system. In my opinion, the role of the jury is to represent how society and ordinary people see a certain case. Furthermore, the sentences given by the jury are more likely to be accepted by the public than they are given by ordinary people.

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