The Public Interest

Our faltering jury

Albert W. Alschuler

Winter 1996

ONCE I was invited to dinner by an elderly gentleman from China. When my host discovered that I was a law student, he talked about the American legal system. “There, in the courtroom,” he said, “are two lawyers. They have been to school for many years. They are wise, able, experienced, and greatly respected in their communities.  And above them, at the head of the courtroom, is the judge. He is even older, even wiser, even more experienced, and even more respected than the lawyers. But who decides the case? Twelve people brought in from the street!” The old man laughed.

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