In comments to yesterday’s post, Robert Downey Jr said “celebrity juries suck!”, citing OJ, Wacko Jacko and Robert Blake as examples. I doubt anyone would argue with that statement because trial by jury in those circumstances does not work in the interests of justice, but that has to be an unfortunate consequence of our system because trial by jury is necessary to guard against oppression and preserve liberty.
In the past, juries have been an important defence against tyranny largely due to the establishment of the principle that juries can refuse to convict on the basis of conscience - Bushell’s Case 1670. The
The Declaration of Independence lists “depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury” as one of the proofs of the tyranny of George III and