The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Hot buttons

The other day I mentioned the jury instructional film setting off a few hot buttons of mine, but I forgot about it until Bunny reminded me about it.

The first hot button—democracy. We are not a democracy. A democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what's for dinner. No, we are a representational republic with democratic leanings. That's where the two wolves and the lamb appoint representatives and the choice of dinner ends in deadlock, as it should be. But this is a minor gripe compared to the next one.

The other hot button that got pressed—“jury of your peers.” Yup, the film actually said “we have a right to a trial with a jury of your peers.”

No!

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, and no!

Article 3, § 2 of The Constitution of the United States (emphasis added):

The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury; and such trial shall be held in the state where the said crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any state, the trial shall be at such place or places as the Congress may by law have directed.

Amendment VI of the Constitution (emphasis added):

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

and Amendment VII of the Constitution (emphasis added):

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Do you see “peers” stated anywhere in the Constitution?

No.

Why do you not see “peers” stated in the Constitution?

Because we don't have a peerage system here in the United States, despite our legal system having largely derived from England.

Why do we not have a peerage system in the United States?

Because our Founding Fathers specifically rejected the peerage system.

I knew our educational system was bad, but this bad?

Sheesh!

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