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Article

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The Jury System under Changing Conditions, 47 American Law Review 67 (1913)

Abstract

When we stop to theorize about our courts, we find no room for the conception of a judicial tribunal which is not perfectly unbiased and free to determine the facts as they exist and to apply the law as it stands. But judicial tribunals must be comlosed of men-with men's infirmities, both mental and moral. No human tribunal can be infallible in its judgments; but on the whole, no country has succeeded better than the English speaking people in providing for the just determination of causes–notwithstanding the fact that reforms in judicial procedure are needed, especially in this country. Our judges command respect for their learning and judicial temperament. Respect for the men has begotten respect for the office and that, in turn, has caused the men to be selected with a view to their fitness. This seems to be generally true, whether the office is filled by appointment or by popular vote. And yet, in spite of the general presumption that must exist in favor of a judge's fitness to preside in the trial of causes, so jealous is the law. in the administration of justice that there are cases in which a judge, by reason of his relation to the parties in the cause, or to the subject matter, is absolutely disqualified from acting. In certain jurisdiction, were he to insist upon performing the judicial functions in such a case, the proceedings before him would be a nullity. In other cases, the judge is expected to recuse himself if he finds in his own mind a bias which might influence his rulings. To the honor of our judges, be it said, this confidence reposed in them by the law is rarely abused.

Date of Authorship for this Version

1913

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