Why We Need Jury Trials – Lance Cooper
Why We Need Jury Trials
by Lance Cooper
Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Melton entered an order this week giving local courts discretion as to whether to resume jury trials. Jury trials must resume as soon as possible. It has been a year since the first order recommending the suspension of jury trials. Georgians who are accused of crimes have waited over a year for their day in court and many of these individuals are sitting in jail awaiting a trial. Of course, jury trials in criminal cases must take priority. What is not as often discussed, however, are the adverse consequences of the postponement of jury trials for civil cases.
We represent individuals and family members who have been harmed by the negligence and recklessness of others. When we file a lawsuit on behalf of our client, the most meaningful pressure that is placed on the persons or corporations we sue is the prospect of a jury trial. Defendants who do not feel this pressure rarely will do the right thing and accept responsibility for the harm they caused.
When we file a lawsuit on behalf of our client, the most meaningful pressure that is placed on the persons or corporations we sue is the prospect of a jury trial.
Of course, without jurors there will be no jury trials. Therefore, it is critical that courts take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of jurors so that people can safely enter a courtroom and serve as jurors. You can be sure that the local courts have already made plans to make jurors as safe as possible. If you are summoned to serve as a juror, please show up. If you have concerns about the safety, I am sure court personnel, particularly the judges, will do whatever they can to make you feel safe.
The right to trial by jury is one of our most precious constitutional rights. The founding fathers understood it was the foundation for all other rights. This pandemic has already put tremendous strain on the dispensation of justice and we must now fight harder than ever to preserve and protect our rights.
If you’d like to read more about Chief Justice Melton’s order, click here to go to The Daily Report.