The Jury Trials in the USA: History

The Jury Trials in the USA: History

The jury trials in the USA are more spread than in all other countries in the world: 90% of the world’s jury trials take place in the United States, where the practice is thriving. In its turn they reflect the American system of construction of the society and state: the court is directed by 12 juries who are the ordinary US citizens.

The system of jury trials in the USA was inherited from a British practice that aimed to protect subjects from tyranny by the king. The American has evolved with changes in society and has survived and absorbed the main elements from Britain: U.S. jurors were admonished to ignore anything they might know about the case and decide the facts solely on the evidence presented in court.

One more reason of appearance of jury trials in the USA can be considered the defense from oppressive prosecutions by the British. Repeatedly, the British rulers indicted Americans for illegally shipping goods in non-British vessels, only to have local juries acquit the accused. Finally, the Britain’s king was condemned by the authors of the Declaration of Independence “for depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury.”

Once and for all the jury trials were carried into the USA judicial system in Bill of Rights in 1791, where was announced “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury.” It also provided that the right to jury trials in civil cases should be preserved.

Later the U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted these guarantees in order to meet changing conditions: the right to participate in the jury trials was given to women, national minorities, in some cases was changed the amount of juries and conception that verdicts must be by unanimous votes.
Many observes criticizes the American judicial system, but majority considers it to be the most true, that was proved by time.