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Trial by Jury

Every year there are approximately 120,000 jury trials in the United States. The right to trial by jury is guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. This video explores the origins of the jury trial, explains the jury’s crucial role in our judicial system, and introduces students to the courtroom and the process of a trial. The program is divided into the following sections: The History of Jury Trials; What Trial Juries Do; Who’s Who in the Courtroom; Qualifications for Jury Service; What Happens During a Trial; Alternatives to Jury Trials; The Grand Jury; and Pros and Cons of Jury Trials.

Combining courtroom scenes, archival footage, and interviews, the video provides a valuable introduction to the basics of the U.S. system of justice. Key subjects include: historical antecedents such as trial by combat and trial by ordeal; an overview of the constitutional guarantees to jury trial; the role of juries in criminal and civil cases; the process of jury selection; jury deliberations and verdicts; and the future of jury trials.

A Cambridge Educational Production.

One 35-minute video.

Playing preview clip:
History of Jury Trials
Trial by contact, trial by oath, and trial by ordeal are examples of the jury trial's history. The 12-person jury has a long history and is an effective way to render justice.