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The jury was not what you think it was! | 168 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
The US Wanted To Be Different (NOT!)
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 05 2012 @ 01:51 PM EDT
<em>If the US wanted to be different why did it base it's legal system so
much on English law?</em>

They didn't want to be different they wanted to rule themselves and not be under
English rule.

Because that was the law in the US under the English rule. The spreading of
knowledge was not as fast in those days as today. So at that time it was the
law they knew.

However some of the way they made their government was based on french ideas.
Back then France and England was the two big powers of the known world they

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

The US Wanted To Be Different (NOT!)
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 05 2012 @ 06:36 PM EDT
Have you ever actually *read* the Magna Carta? There's some pretty wild stuff
in there. For instance, if a man owes money to a Jew and he dies, his widow is
*not* liable for the debt. Just imagine the kind of law you'd get by expanding
that into in the modern world...

FYI...The reason I read it was because of whimsical effort to convert the
student government in the dorm I was in (UC Berkeley, late 1960s) into a
Constitutional Monarchy. UC Housing Office read what I wrote up and had no
problems with it. The left wing radical freshmen we had a bunch of in the dorm
that year actually voted for it (it would have almost, but not quite,
disenfranchised them), and it got a bit over a 2/3 majority but didn't quite
reach the 3/4 majority it needed to go into effect.

Had it passed, I could very well have added "King of
Richards-Oldenburg" to my resume...

--W. H. Heydt

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

The jury was not what you think it was!
Authored by: Ian Al on Saturday, October 06 2012 @ 05:26 AM EDT
The Magna Carta (1216–1369) wrested courts from the Court. Before this, the King was the judge and jury, either in person or via delegated powers given to sheriffs. The monarch was the law, although common law and the Law of the Forest had also developed. IIRC (I am very old) the Magna Carta signalled the end to the monarch acting as law-maker (where common law did not prevail), judge and jury. It also introduced law common to the monarchy, the peerage and the subjects.

I found this pdf about Magna Carta - Article 52
The grand jury was originally a body of twelve, and later twenty-three men that served as accusers who presented indictments at the request of not only the prosecutor of the king, but also at the request of individual [barons]. In 1681 the grand jury rule of secrecy was adopted. This allowed the grand jury to meet in secret, especially out of the sight of the king’s prosecutors who might interfere. This secrecy provided the grand jury great power as an independent body with oversight over the government...

The grand jury served the public in two ways. First, it limited the power of government to prosecute citizens by permitting the grand jury to vote for or against an indictment and second, it had the power to make a presentment. A presentment was a public report of the grand jury’s activity. Through a presentment, the grand jury could make criminal activity known to the public, including criminal conduct committed by government officials, judges, or prosecutors...
Magna Carta - Article 61
Since for God, for the improvement of our kingdom, and to better allay the discord arisen between us and our barons, we have granted all these concessions, and wishing that the concessions be enjoyed in their entirety with firm endurance (for ever), we give and grant to the barons the following security: namely, that the barons choose any twenty-five barons of the kingdom they wish, who must with all their might observe and hold, and cause to be observed, the peace and liberties we have granted and confirmed to them by this our present Charter. Then, if we, our chief justice, our bailiffs or any of our officials, offend in any respect against any man, or break any of the articles of the peace or of this security, and the offence is notified to four of the said twenty-five barons, the four shall come to us-or to our chief justice if we are absent from the kingdom-to declare the transgression and petition that we make amends without delay.
Bear in mind that the 'government' was the government of the country by the monarch. Parliamentary government was not the rule until centuries later and considerable further reduction of the direct power of the monarchy. The 25 peers were peers of the realm, the nobility, 25 of the English barons. The 'witnesses' were more witnesses to the accused's character and whether the accused was likely to be guilty of the indictments brought by the grand jury than witnesses of facts. They would often not deal with the facts of the indictment, but only to patterns of behaviour and the sort of company kept by the accused.

It was not until towards the 16th century that juries selected from subjects, rather than peers, gave verdicts based on relevant facts presented by first-hand witnesses.

I don't do Latin so I won't do habeas corpus. However, the Magna Carta did provide the first written and widely published charter for common law.

From the CONFIRMATIO CARTARUM, October 10, 1297:
EDWARD, by the grace of God, King of England, ...have granted for us and our heirs, that the Charter of liberties, and the Charter of the forest, which were made by common assent of all the realm, in the time of King HENRY our father, shall be kept in every point without breach.

And we will that the same charters shall be sent under our seal, as well to our justices of the forest, as to others, and to all sheriffs of shires, and to all our other officers, and to all our cities throughout the realm, together with our writs, in the which it shall be contained, that they cause the foresaid charters to be published, and to declare to the people that we have confirmed them in all points;

and that our justices, sheriffs, mayors, and other ministers, which under us have the laws of our land to guide, shall allow the said charters pleaded before them in judgement in all their points, that is to wit, the Great Charter as the common law[*] and the Charter of the forest, for the wealth of our realm.

Ian Al
Software Patents: It's the disclosed functions in the patent, stupid!

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

The US Wanted To Be Different (NOT!)
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, October 06 2012 @ 08:02 AM EDT
The US Wanted To Be Different (NOT!)

The Founding Fathers didn't create the Constitution to be different, they created the Constitution to work by cherry-picking the best ideas from history.

Is it perfect? Maybe not, but considering it was written by a committee it's pretty darn good.

Of course nowadays the Constitution is a "living document" to be twisted in the political wind.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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