As we celebrate the 4th of July and our constitutional form of government built on checks and balances, it is trendy to complain that the legal system is broken by pointing to selected “facts” about it. Upon closer examination, those “facts” are often demonstrably inaccurate or taken out of context.
The fact of the matter is that our liberties and our prosperity are protected by the legal system we enjoy. Our legal system, while imperfect, protects the individual from the tyranny of the powerful. Trials must be open. Accusers must be faced. Citizens, not paid professionals, make the decisions [the jury].
The right to a jury trial, in both civil and criminal matters, is a great equalizer that makes our legal system work. Jurors, peers of the parties, make factual decisions in cases. And while jurors are subject to influence and biases, the fact that any wronged citizen has the right to bring that wrong to a jury of his or her peers for ultimate resolution serves as a bridle in the mouth of wrongdoers.
So as we celebrate the birth of our nation, and as we continue to work to improve our governmental system, we should also be grateful for the blessings of the jury, an integral cog in our legal machinery.