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Glossary of Right to Jury Trial

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Seventh Amendment
Constitutional source; right to a jury trial. Not applicable to state civil actions, however, state constitutions provide for jury trial for civil actions.

At common law, jury to try legal v. equitable issues. Check the remedy sought to discern the right to jury trial.
Federal Statutes
Federal statute creates federal causes of action and expressly provide for jury trial.
Beacon Theatres v. Westover
Case containing both legal and equitable claims, issues that are common to these legal and equitable claims must be tried first by jury.
Assert Right to Jury/ federal court
Assert right by "serving upon the other parties a demand therefore in writing at nay time after the commencement of the action and not later than 10 days after the service of hte last pleading directed to such issue." Failure results in waiver of jury trial right.
Jury Selection/ 14th Amendment Protection
Prohibits systematic exclusion and arbitrary discrimination of minorities and women in jury selection.
Voir Dire Exam
Examination to determine whether juror is:
Fair
Impartial and unbiased.
Challenge for Cause
Peremptory Challenges
Any juror showing bias or interest in the outcome, excused for cause. No limit to such challenges.

Each party entitled to limited no. of challenges without showing cause.
Comments by Judge
Federal rules permit a trial judge to comment to the jury on the quality of proof presented, bearing on the issues, provided he informs the jury that they, not he, serve as decision-maker.
Jury Instructions
Judge - Ultimate responsibility

Lawyer- may submit jury instruction to judge who decides whether or not to submit to jury.

GR A failure to request an omitted instruction or to object to an instruction results in waiver.

Erroneous insufficient instruction, even if challenged, wil lnot results in reversal unless prejudicial error.
What is the Right to Jury Trial?
The 7th amendment guarantees a right to a jury trial for all legal actions triable at common law in excess of $20.00. there is no similar right to a jury trial of equitable claims.

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