WHY WE NEED JURIES
Every day in courtrooms across the country, real issues are being addressed by the collective
wisdom and will of The People. Small groups of average citizens, (6, 7 or 12) are given the
opportunity to deliberate and resolve legal disputes. The People often decide issues of
significant importance to the entire community: where a pipeline begins and property rights end;
whether law enforcement acted brutally; how to compensate, or not, for injury. The jury is
therefore democracy in action.
Our Founders intended this, solidifying the fundamental rights to a grand, criminal, and civil jury
in the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Amendments respectively. They believed, and history has shown,
that average citizens called upon to do their civic duty can protect our society against
overzealous prosecutions, unfair laws, and bring the community’s voice to matters affecting our
daily lives and the lives of our neighbors and businesses as well.
Unfortunately, there is a crisis brewing of which most people are unaware. Beneath the bigger
headlines of markets and terrorism, the right guaranteed by our Seventh Amendment that
empowers members of the community to resolve private disputes is eroding. The use of juries in
civil trials has fallen dramatically over the last few decades to the point that today juries decide
only about one percent of all civil cases. This fundamental right that serves to protect citizens
and business alike must not be lost. It is up to citizens in each of our communities to reclaim this
right and make sure we pass this on to the generations to come.
The opportunity to flex your democratic muscles in the jury box comes far more often than the
biennial ballot box. The right to take back whatever power citizens believe they have lost to
control their own destinies and the future of their communities is waiting for them in every jury
summons that goes out. It is up to you to come to the courthouse, to strengthen your community,
and make your voice heard in our jury system.
For Why We Need Juries in a PDF format, please click this link: Why We Need Juries