The Jury in America: Triumph and Decline

Event Start:
02/28/2017 5:30 PM
Event End:
02/28/2017 7:30 PM

When: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Where: Social Law Library, Boston
Reservations required.

Dennis Hale
Associate Professor of Political Science, Boston College

Lecture, Reception, Book Signing

“The Jury in America is an excellent historical examination of American juries. The book does an excellent job of examining how the political role of juries has changed.”  Law and Politics Book Review

The jury trial is one of the formative elements of American government, vitally important even when Americans were still colonial subjects of Great Britain. When the founding generation enshrined the jury in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, they were not inventing something new, but protecting something old: one of the traditional and essential rights of all free men. Judgment by an “impartial jury” would henceforth put citizen panels at the very heart of the American legal order. And yet at the dawn of the 21st century, juries resolve just two percent of the nation’s legal cases and critics warn that the jury is “vanishing” from both the criminal and civil courts. The jury’s critics point to sensational jury trials like those in the O. J. Simpson and Menendez cases, and conclude that the disappearance of the jury is no great loss. The jury’s defenders, from journeyman trial lawyers to members of the Supreme Court, take a different view, warning that the disappearance of the jury trial would be a profound loss.
In The Jury in America, a work that deftly combines legal history, political analysis, and storytelling, Dennis Hale takes us to the very heart of this debate to show us what the American jury system was, what it has become, and what the changes in the jury system tell us about our common political and civic life.

This program is made possible through the generosity of the William M. Wood Foundation, Bank of America, Trustee.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily of the Library or the Wood Foundation. Registrants for this program acknowledge that during the program their photographic or videographic images may be incidentally taken; registrants agree that the submission of their registrations for this program constitutes their written consent to the Social Law Library’s use of any such image in print and online materials solely for promotion of the Library’s noncommercial CLE seminars and other educational events and activities.



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