When the United States established our institution of government through the Constitution the jury system was enshrined in that document. The 6th and 7th amendment were later added to the Constitution and protected the right to juries in criminal and civil cases.
But still more was needed to enforce this cherished right. African-Americans under federal law were given the right to serve on juries in 1875, but in practice many were openly and routinely removed from juries based on race until a US Supreme Court case in 1986 declared that conduct was prohibited by the constitution. Watch the video to learn more.
As late as 1942, only 28 states had laws that allowed women to serve as jurors, but these states also gave them the right to claim exemption based on their sex. The Civil Rights Act of 1957 gave women the right to serve on federal juries, but not until 1973 could women serve on juries in all fifty states.
The right to serve on jury is something people fought for and died for because this right is so important to the fabric of our laws. The primary purposes of civil tort law in America and here in Illinois as described by the Illinois Supreme Court is when someone has been wrongly injured by the acts of another the law is to:
- to compensate the victims;
- to reduce future wrong acts; and
- to encourage careful conduct in the future to protect all of our citizens.
The jury enforces these laws through their collective verdict. By serving on juries, you are able to voice your opinion and influence the collective verdict. If you do not show up, you are allowing someone else to decide how the laws should be enforced. Therefore, someone else will have the power to determine the type of community you will live in. So remember, the juries’ verdict is how you enforce the laws of your community. That is why it’s so important to serve.
If you have questions about trial or your own serious injury, contact the Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd. at 312-384-1920 or by email. Our Chicago personal injury attorneys are known for their expertise and tough litigation. Schedule a free consultation with one of our personal injury trial lawyers practicing throughout Illinois.