[huge_it_share] Essay by: Brady Alan McMorris

Essay Subject: The right to a trial by jury is a fundamental tenet of our legal system which is enshrined in the United States Constitution. Under current law, however, only people accused of serious crimes that are punishable by more than six months prison have an absolute right to a jury trial. Do you agree with the current state of the law? Why or why not.

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The United States justice system has been embedded in our nation’s society for over 250 years, and has very much affected how our society functions. It has also provided many legal precedents that have stood the test of time and are still enshrined within our nation’s state of law today. It is one of the most efficient justice systems within the world, but is not without its many flaws. Over the course of the changing world, the United States justice system has had to change much of its legal policies, bringing many problematic issues and controversies with them. For example, the right to a trial by jury is one of the fundamental tenets of our United States Constitution, and has been in writing since the document was first implemented into our very government. Under current U.S. law however, the right to a trial by jury is only implemented in criminal cases with a punishment of six months in prison or greater. This is currently an ongoing issue and quite frankly needs to quickly be addressed sooner rather than later.

My opinion on this issue is very much related to the very wording of the constitution. I firmly believe that every criminal, no matter his offense, should indeed be entitled to the right of an impartial jury, as long as it is within the boundaries of a criminal case. It is that person’s inalienable right, and one that for no reason should taken away. Whether the chosen sentence is four years or even four months, the individual should never be deprived of his liberty. I think that we as the populace only look at the length of the sentencing, and refuse to see or even think about the extent of what exactly that person is losing. They are losing their freedom, job, children, marriages, and even their homes. I believe that it is only right that they are at least proven guilty by a jury of their peers.

On the other side of things, I can also understand the differing point of view that others may have about this issue. The population density of the United States has grown massive, with the rate of everyday crime continuing to grow throughout the nation. That being said, hundreds of everyday criminals pass through the court system day after day, and have ultimately backed up the overall efficiency of the system itself. With the justice system’s current situation, the courts simply do not have the time to give every single person a trial by jury. If that were the case, we would be unable to accomplish everyday justice and would not get anything done. They could also make an argument about the matter of the jury members themselves. Many people are required to miss work in order to attend jury duty. This can turn out to be very inconvenient for them, especially when the case requires a lesser sentence and can just as easily be handled by a prosecutor and judge.

Since the days of our founding fathers, this country has always supported the idea of personal liberties and justice for all. According to the constitution, “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” I personally believe that breaking these words goes against our nation’s ideals, as well as the very idea of what it means to truly be an American.


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