"The guarantees of jury trial in the Federal and State Constitutions
reflect a profound judgment about the way in which law should be
enforced and justice administered. A right to jury trial is
granted to criminal defendants in order to prevent oppression by
the Government. (Footnote 23)
Footnote 23: "The [jury trial] clause was clearly intended
to protect the accused from oppression by the Government. *
* *." Singer v. United States, 85
S.Ct. 783, 788 (1965), "The first object of any tyrant
in Whitehall would be to make Parliament utterly subservient
to his will; and the next to overthrow or diminish trial by
jury, for no tyrant could afford to leave a subject's freedom
in the hands of twelve of his countrymen. So that trial
by jury is more than an instrument of justice and more than
one wheel of the constitution: it is the lamp that shows
that freedom lives." P. Devlin, Trial by Jury
164 (1956). (End of Footnote)
"Those who wrote our constitutions knew from history and experience
that it was necessary to protect against unfounded criminal charges
brought to eliminate enemies and against judges too responsive to
the voice of higher authority. The framers of the constitutions
strove to create an independent judiciary but insisted upon further
protection against arbitrary action. Providing an accused
with the right to be tried by a jury of his peers gave him an inestimable
safeguard against the corrupt or overzealous prosecutor and against
the compliant, biased, or eccentric judge. If the defendant
preferred the common-sense judgment of a jury to the more tutored
but perhaps less sympathetic reaction of the single judge, he was
to have it. Beyond this, the jury trial provisions in the
Federal and State Constitutions reflect a fundamental decision about
the exercise of official power--a reluctance to entrust plenary
powers over the life and liberty of the citizen to one judge or
to a group of judges. Fear of unchecked power, so typical
of our State and Federal Governments in other respects, found expression
in the criminal law in this insistence upon community participation
in the determination of guilt or innocence. The deep commitment
of the Nation to the right of jury trial in serious criminal cases
as a defense against arbitrary law enforcement qualifies for protection
under the Dues Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and must
therefore be respected by the States."
[Duncan v. State of Louisiana, 88 S.Ct. 1444, 1451 (1968),
391 U.S. 145]
It is the duty of the court to instruct the jury as to the law,
and it is the duty of the jury to follow the law, as it is laid
down by the court.
v. United States,
15 S.Ct. 273, 282; 156 U.S. 51 (1895)]
The jury can decide mixed questions of law and fact.
States v. Gaudin,
115 S.Ct. 2310 (1995)]
Acosta v. City and County of San Francisco, 83 F. 3d
1143, 1147 (9th Cir. 1996)
Decisionmakers (jury or judge) must rely on the jury's factual
findings as to the disputed issues of fact.
[Acosta v. City and County of San Francisco, 83
F. 3d 1143, 1147 (9th Cir. 1996)]
The Supreme Court had already expanded the language of the Sixth
Amendment well beyond its obvious meaning.
Scarpa v. Dubois, 38 F. 3d 1, 11 (1st Cir. 1994).
Jurors possess raw power . . . which defense counsel may not
[Scarpa v. Dubois, 38 F. 3d 1, 11 (1st Cir. 1994)]
United States v. Credit, 95 F. 3d 362, 364 (5th Cir.
The question of whether an offense is a crime of violence for
purposes of use of firearm is a question of law which should not
be submitted to the jury.
[United States v. Credit, 95 F. 3d 362, 364 (5th Cir. 1996)]
United States v. Houlihan, 92 F. 3d 1271, 1287 (1st
"that jurors, conscious of the gravity of their task, attend
closely the trial court's instructions in a criminal case."
Francis v. Franklin, 105 S.Ct. 1965, 1976 note 9 (1985), and that
they follow those instructions.
[United States v. Houlihan, 92 F. 3d 1271, 1287 (1st Cir. 1996)]