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Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Are We Losing Our RIght to Trial by Jury?
The Fully Informed Jury Association is based in Montana and has done more to protect our jury rights than any other organization. In fact I would go so far as to say they really started the whole movement to protect jury rights. Now if we could just get them to understand they are dealing with the wrong jurisdiction entirely maybe they could make better progress.
Are We Losing Our
Right to Trial by Jury?
Good afternoon Paul,
Wow! There has been a sudden uptick in the already heavy news coverage of the situation for trial by jury in the United States and other common law countries. Click here to go straight to my latest report:
At this point, trials by jury are starting to resume or are on the verge of resuming in some states. Most notably, Oregon called jurors for its first jury trial in more than a month.
Some of the stories in this report raise substantial concerns about how resumption of trial by jury will play out. We are now starting to see three main areas of concern:
some courts are now starting to experiment with trials by jury conducted remotely via technology rather than in person,
judges are discussing asking defendants to voluntarily forfeit some of the protections afforded them by trial by jury, and
courts in several states are indicating that they are willing to suspend the Constitutionally-guaranteed right to trial by jury for 6-9 months at least!
What other rights can you imagine the government canceling for 6-9 months just for starters?
Remember, during that time, the government is still finding ways to:
accuse and arrest people,
incarcerate people pre-trial—people whose legal status is INNOCENT because they have yet to be proven guilty, and
coerce those people with the prospect of indefinite detention in crowded, unsanitary facilities during a pandemic into forfeiting their right to trial by jury and accepting a plea bargain or a bench trial.
It sickens me to wonder if we are watching our jury system being irreparably damaged—or if perhaps this is even the beginning of the end of our right to trial by jury.
Check out the latest issue of our Court in the Time of Corona report by clicking below to find out how this is playing out in your area, throughout the United States, and around the world.
Courts in different areas will be looking at each other to see what steps they can take to move forward—especially what rights violations we will allow in this unprecedented situation!