The Importance Of The Jury Trial System

[An intricate part of due process in the United States is the jury trial system. The jury trial system provides a vehicle for the government to prove the case against the defendant and allows for the defendant to present a defense against the charge. In that process, the defendant has rights provided by the Sixth Amendment. Two of the rights afforded defendants are; the right to a speedy trial, the right to an impartial jury. The other important right is the right to an impartial judge, this was created by the Supreme Court. While two of these rights are guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment all three of these rights are assured by the procedures of the court. Therefore, the procedures that assure these rights will be explained. [The right to a…show more content…
Therefore, the right to an impartial judge is due to the Supreme Court (Worrall, 2015). The Supreme Court has held that the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment provided for the right for defendants in two specific situations (Worrall, 2015). The first is the bench trial in which the judge is responsible for the deciding the case, and the fate of the defendant. Additionally, the second is the jury trial where the judge acts as a captain of a ship, ensuring that the rules of law are applied, and that the case flows smoothly. Hence, the judge of a case must not have an interest in the outcome of the case or any interest in either side of the aisle. In some jurisdictions an attorney may request a judge be removed from a case, in other cases the judge may recuse themselves due to some conflict of interest. This aspect of impartiality is vital to the defendant being assured a trial that is as unbiased as…show more content…
This is perhaps the most intricate procedure. Considering that it is very difficult to assess what every individual sitting on a jury is thinking. Although, there is a requirement for jury trials in criminal trials, noncriminal proceedings do not require jury trials (Worrall, 2015). Two of the noncriminal type are juvenile delinquency hearings and civil commitment hearings which are part of the criminal process (Worrall, 2015). Contrary to the noncriminal hearings the Supreme Court created the petty crime exception to the Sixth Amendment right, which requires that the crime must hold a six month sentence or more to be considered for jury trial (Worrall, 2015). Another aspect of the jury trial is the size of the jury, which has been established between six and twelve members. This size is considered appropriate as a reasonable cross-section of the country. It has also been determined that the states have the right to choose the number of persons on a jury, between six or twelve. The majority of states have twelve member juries in felony cases, for misdemeanor crime the numbers are more varied (Worrall, 2015). Another important aspect of jury numbers is the number of jurors required for a conviction. A unanimous decision is not always required for conviction in state civil cases. However, all of the state misdemeanor trials are required to have a unanimous decision, except Oregon, as well all state

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