Essay on the Trial by Jury

Lysander SPOONER (1808 - 1897)

FOR more than six hundred years that is, since Magna Carta, in 1215 there has been no clearer principle of English or American constitutional law, than that, in criminal cases, it is not only the right and duty of juries to judge what are the facts, what is the law, and what was the moral intent of the accused; but that it is also their right, and their primary and paramount duty, to judge of the justice of the law, and to hold all laws invalid, that are, in their opinion, unjust or oppressive, and all persons guiltless in violating, or resisting the execution of, such laws.

So begins Spooner's epic on the jury, its origins and history. Spooner examines the history and powers of a jury, from the magna carta in King John's time, to the practices in the 18th century. A classic work on law, Spooner argues that the decision of the jury is sovereign over the king's law. (Summary by Bethanne)

Genre(s): Essays & Short Works, History , Political Science

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 00 Notes BethAnne
00:02:55
Play 01 Ch 1 – The Right of Juries to Judge the Justice of Laws BethAnne
00:43:15
Play 02 Ch 2 – Part 1 – Trial by Jury Defined by Magna Carta BethAnne
00:53:39
Play 03 Ch 2 – Part 2 – Language of Magna Carta BethAnne
00:49:16
Play 04 Ch 3 – Part 1 – Additionnal Proofs of the Rights and Duties of Jurors BethAnne
00:41:27
Play 05 Ch 3 – Part 2 – Ancient Common Law Juries were Mere Courts of Conscience BethAnne
00:23:31
Play 06 Ch 3 – Part 3 – Ancient Common Law Juries were Mere Courts of Conscience BethAnne
00:43:59
Play 07 Ch 3 – Part 4 – Oaths of Jurors BethAnne
00:30:11
Play 08 Ch 3 – Part 5 – Right of Jurors to fix the Sentence BethAnne
00:33:31
Play 09 Ch 3 – Part 6 – The Coronation Oath BethAnne
00:25:49
Play 10 Ch 4 – The Rights and Duties of Juries in Civil Suits BethAnne
00:39:14
Play 11 Ch 5 – Part 1 – Objections Answered BethAnne
00:26:58
Play 12 Ch 5 – Part 2 – Objections Answered BethAnne
00:25:17
Play 13 Ch 6 – Juries of the Present Day Illegal BethAnne
00:43:41
Play 14 Ch 7 – Part 1 – Illegal Judges BethAnne
00:26:27
Play 15 Ch 7 – Part 2 – Illegal Judges BethAnne
00:33:38
Play 16 Ch 8 – Free Administration of Justice BethAnne
00:15:06
Play 17 Ch 9 – The Criminal Intent BethAnne
00:31:46
Play 18 Ch 10 – Moral Considerations for Jurors BethAnne
00:07:10
Play 19 Ch 11 – Authority of Magna Carta BethAnne
00:41:04
Play 20 Ch 12 – Limitations Imposed Upon the Majority by the Trial by Jury BethAnne
00:41:31
Play 21 Appendix BethAnne
00:09:16