Juries on the Rampage

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Burton Katz, "Juries on the Rampage". “Juries on the Rampage” has been excerpted from Burton S. Katz’s book Justice Overruled: Unmasking the Criminal Justice System. In this essay, Katz argues that the jury system as it functions in the United States must be changed in order for justice to actually be upheld in our courts. The author states his thesis in the ninth paragraph in these words: “Juries, attorneys, and judges need to be reined in without taking away the essential power of the jury.” Examples are pulled from history to illustrate how the jury system was intended to work and how it has come to work at the present time. As for the content of the paper and its strength, Katz’s article did not have the depth required to justify the thesis. Katz referenced four main examples to show that the jury system indecent at its core. He spent five paragraphs discussing the Bushell case from the seventeenth century. This was the case that determined the future of the jury system, liberating juries from the will of any other governing body (known as “jury nullification”). He then spent another two paragraphs to give the setting of the Zenger case of 1735. Both of these cases eventually brought about justice in the eyes of the people. With regard to the Bushell case, William Penn was saved from unjust punishment; with Zenger’s, freedom of press was upheld. Katz goes on to quote the Declaration of Independence as a support for the importance of the jury system. One of the reasons given against King George of England for the American Revolution was that he refused to allow the American Colonies the benefits of jury trial. The ideal purpose of a jury trial is that an accused person is given the opportunity to convince a group of his or her peers regarding his or her innocence. So, the same values that the accused cherishes are held by the jurors. Katz states that the
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