Abstract

The civil jury, though constitutionally protected by the seventh amendment, has remained a controversial institution throughout much of Anglo-American legal history. Our romantic ideals are questioned by critics who view the civil jury as prejudiced and unpredictable; proponents note the sense of fairness and "earthy wisdom" gained by community participation in the legal process. This debate surfaces in the process of accommodation between certain substantive goals of the law and the pre-verdict and post-verdict procedural devices courts have employed to control the jury. In this article, Professor Rendleman examines this conflict in his three "chapters" involving racially motivated discharges of black teachers, defamation of public persons by the news media, and Civil Rights Act lawsuits before deep south juries. He concludes that "some actions are suited to jury freedom, others to jury control" depending on the nature of the substantive legal issues and the competing interests involved.

Document Type

Article

Publication Information

65 Kentucky Law Journal 769-798 (1977)

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