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The Stanford Center for Law and History will hold its final workshop of the Quarter on Tuesday, November 16, from 12:45-1:45 PM (Pacific). Sara Forsdyke, Classical Studies & History, University of Michigan, will share the paper: “Democratic Justice: The Jury Trial in Ancient Greece and Criminal Justice Reform In the United States.”
The workshop will be a hybrid event held in-person (Room 320D) and via Zoom. As a reminder, we ask that you RSVP for each workshop in advance so that we can circulate the paper, provide the Zoom link to the event, and for food ordering purposes for those of you who wish to join us in-person. Please read the paper in advance.
Current guidelines do not allow us to bring food into events. For those who attend in-person, however, lunch will be provided at 12:25PM, 20 minutes before the talk at a table in Crocker Garden to the left of Room 190 entry doors.
We also ask all those who attend in-person to comply with current Stanford event guidelines which can be found here.
To RSVP, click here. Those who confirm their attendance will receive a separate email containing the paper and link to the event.
A fundamental principle of American Constitution is the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury (Article 3.2, Sixth Amendment). Yet today, despite some high-profile cases, only a tiny percentage of criminal cases at both the federal and state levels are decided by juries. This paper asks what is lost when the jury trial is circumvented. It answers this question by way of ancient Greece. The ancient Greeks invented the jury trial at the same time as they invented democracy (508/7 BCE). This historical connection reveals the essential relation between the jury and democracy, since not only was the jury trial a means of securing the equal protection of the law, but also jury service was an essential element of democratic citizenship. More controversially, the ancient Greek jury trial allowed jurors to find law as well as fact, demonstrating the benefits of system that brings the law into harmony with evolving community views of right and wrong. While I will not suggest that we imitate the ancient Greek jury trial in all its features – after all, juries numbering in the hundreds or even thousands are impracticable today! – nevertheless I shall argue that the case of ancient Greece can suggest directions for reform.