Clay County Clerk
of the Circuit Court

Right to a Fair Trial/Jury Duty Video

Court in session with juryOne of the rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights was that of Trial By Jury

“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”.

– U.S. Constitution, Amendment VI.

That concept was revolutionary in the 18th Century, where trials were often a foregone conclusion, juries (if used) were hand-picked by the government or rulers, and the accused did not have the right to challenge his accusers or have proper assistance in his defense. Today, the right to a fair trial before a jury of one’s peers is a foundation of our democracy, and one of the hallmarks of an open, just and free society.

However, a person can only obtain a trial before such an impartial jury if sufficient people step forward to serve on these juries. Implicit in us having the right of a trial before an impartial jury is that we also accept our responsibility of serving on a jury when required.