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Stars and Stripes

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Stars and Stripes - Page Text Content

BC: 2012

FC: The Seventh Amendment of America

1: In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

2: American colonists had just suffered through a period of not being allowed jury trials by the British government. In the 18th century, American juries were not only triers of fact, but also triers of law. This means decided which laws applied. The colonists were used to declaring in their neighbors' favor against British law, whether British laws were violated or not, and they continued doing this after Independence. This actually endangered the new nation's economy because investors from other nations were consistently ruled against by American juries, even if their rights had been violated by American citizens. Foreign investors were very reluctant to invest in the new country, for they knew they would lose before an American jury if they had to sue for their rights in court. | The problem that created the 7th Amendment

3: It requires that the right to trial by jury only be preserved in cases at Common Law, so that the law must be taken into account in a jury's verdict. This is how framers of the Bill of Rights protected the right to trial by jury for defendants and protected the right to be protected by the law for plaintiffs. The way this works out is that judges determine specific laws that apply to a case, but juries decide the case facts. So, judges are charged with things as determining whether or not some evidence is admissible in court, instructing jurors about the laws relevant to the case, pointing out important issues relevant to the case and expressing their opinions in regard to the case facts. They are not, however, allowed to determine the facts. These are left to the jury to decide. | The Solution

4: SCOPE | In the early times, the people affected by the 7th amendment were colonists who were treated harshly by the British mainland. Currently, this amendment affects anyone who is under trial

5: This amendment affects the court, as in the defendent and their right to a jury.

6: INTENSITY | People were affected because this meant court would not be unfair anymore. "The people" remain in control of legal decisions, rather than allowing a single judge, who could become corrupt or try to enforce his own will on people, to make such important decisions, and also ensures that juries will not throw out justified law that would justifiably protect plaintiffs.

7: Because of this amendment, the court would be just and equal.

8: Duration | The duration of this problem started at an earlier time. The tradition of trial by jury started in the 12th century. However, in the days of the revolutionary war, smuggling went rampant, and when people were sentenced to trial, the jury sided with the convicted. This greatly angered the King of England. There for he created courts with no jury.

9: Stars 'n' Stripes Forever | After some time the situation was solved around December 15, 1791

10: Resources | This amendment saved the government from losing several foreign investors.Otherwise, there were no notable resources used or related to the 7th amendment

11: Controversy | The Amendment rose from controversy surrounding the original Constitution. Many states felt it lacked enough information on how civil trials proceeded. Once the Amendment was drafted, it was quickly adopted. Its original intent was to divide the civil court into two branches: common law and equity. The common law courts, those dealing specifically with monetary values exceeding 20 dollars, would be judged by a jury. Other lawsuits, which involved legal knowledge and would call for things such as court injunctions, would be decided by a lawyer, without a jury present

12: The law and equity branches of the civil court system were now merged together into a single court. These caused problems to arise when a case was presented that should have been split between both the equity and law branches. The solution was found by the Supreme Court, in that the jury would first make the decision that would have been done in the law branch, and the judge would then follow with his ruling in what would have been the equity branch. Controversial cases include: Tull vs. United States Bank of Columbia vs. Okely Colgrove vs. Battin | Controversy Continued

13: You decide about these Cases Are they controversial? | Tull vs US: The United States (P) filed against Tull (D) for dumping fill material into wetlands in violation of the Clean Water Act. P sought over $22 million and relief. The district court denied Tull’s motion for a jury trial and entered judgment for P for $325,000. The court of appeals affirmed the denial of a jury trial and the Supreme Court granted cert. 1) What is the test for determining whether the Seventh Amendment preserves the right to a jury trial on the merits? 2) For cases in which the Seventh Amendment preserves the right to a trial by jury, does the Seventh Amendment also mandate the right to a jury trial for the determination of civil penalties?

14: Bank of Columbia vs. Okely | Johnson, J., delivered the opinion of the court: In this case the defendant's right to a trial by jury, as secured to him by the constitution of the United States, and of the state of Maryland, has been violated. The question is one of the deepest interest; and if the complaint be well founded, the claims of the citizen on the protection of this court are peculiarly strong.

15: Colgrove vs. Battin | The local rules in the district of Montana provide for a jury of six in civil cases. When Federal District Court Judge Battin (respondent) set this case before a six-member jury, Colgrove sought mandamus to compel Battin to make a 12-person jury. Colgrove contended that the local rule violated the Seventh Amendment and 28 U.S.C. 2072 (rules shall preserve the right of trial by jury as at common law and as declared by the Seventh Amendment) and inconsistent with Rule 48 which called for not less than twelve members for a jury. The Court of Appeals sustained the local rule and denied the writ and Colgrove appealed.

16: The Court held that the framers of the Constitution intended the Seventh Amendment to preserve the right to trial by jury in civil cases at law, but not the various incidents of trial by jury, and that the Constitution does not bind the federal courts to the exact details of jury trial according common law in 1791. The Court held that the right to a 12 member jury was not a substantive aspect of the right of trial by jury. The Montana rule did not violate the right of a jury trial at common law and it did not conflict with Rule 48. | Controversy Continued

17: There are more cases out there that are linked with the 7th amendment but these are just a few.

18: Bibliography

19: for the court cases: And last but not least... Wikipedia

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