• What Is Bail Money Actually For?
    Articles,  Blog

    What Is Bail Money Actually For?

    We’ve all seen the courtroom drama show- the judge hears the initial details of a case and then after a little bit of deliberation, announces that the trial will proceed, and the defendant is told “bail is set at $100,000!”. But what does that mean exactly, and what happens when you post bail? You’re probably familiar with the term “getting bailed out” of something, or being saved from having to do something unpleasant by someone or something else out of your control. In reality, bail is similar, though unlike what some hopeful criminals might think, paying, or posting, your bail does not in any way get you out of your…

  • What did democracy really mean in Athens? – Melissa Schwartzberg
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    What did democracy really mean in Athens? – Melissa Schwartzberg

    Hey, congratulations! You’ve just won the lottery, only the prize isn’t cash or a luxury cruise. It’s a position in your country’s national legislature. And you aren’t the only lucky winner. All of your fellow lawmakers were chosen in the same way. This might strike you as a strange way to run a government, let alone a democracy. Elections are the epitome of democracy, right? Well, the ancient Athenians who coined the word had another view. In fact, elections only played a small role in Athenian democracy, with most offices filled by random lottery from a pool of citizen volunteers. Unlike the representative democracies common today, where voters elect leaders…

  • The Seventh Amendment – The Story of the Bill of Rights
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    The Seventh Amendment – The Story of the Bill of Rights

    The 7th Amendment. In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law. One of the characteristics of civil trials, of course, is that the government is not a party. The Seventh Amendment takes the protection of the other amendments that give you a trial by jury in a criminal case, and applies the right to a trial by jury in a civil case. You don’t go to jail…

  • The big problem with how we pick juries
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    The big problem with how we pick juries

    In October of 2014, Jason Van Dyke – a white Chicago police officer – shot and killed Laquan McDonald – a black teenager. A year after the shooting, the city released the graphic video that captured the incident. It shows McDonald walking down a busy roadway, holding a knife. As he walks away from the officers, Van Dyke shoots him. 16 times. “16 shots. 16 shots.” The response to the release of the footage was swift and widespread. Chicago residents protested. The police chief was fired. The state’s attorney was voted out. A Justice Department investigation unearthed a pattern of excessive deadly force and racial bias among Chicago Police officers.…

  • A Conversation on the Constitution: The Right to Trial by an Impartial Jury
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    A Conversation on the Constitution: The Right to Trial by an Impartial Jury

    IN THIS CASE, SOMEBODY HAD BEEN INJURED, AND HE WAS SUING THE PEOPLE WHO HAD INJURED HIM, AND WANTED RECOVERY, AND IT WENT TO A JURY TRIAL, DIDN’T IT? HAVE ANY OF YOU EVER WATCHED A TRIAL IN A COURT WHERE THERE WAS A JURY? RAISE YOUR HANDS IF YOU HAVE. YEAH, SEVERAL HAVE. AND… EVERY STATE, IF THERE’S AN ISSUE OF FACT TO BE DECIDED IN A PRIVATE CASE, NORMALLY ALLOWS THE PLAINTIFF TO SAY, “WELL, I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE A JURY TRIAL.” AND IF SO, PEOPLE ARE CHOSEN AT RANDOM FROM THE VOTER REGISTRATION LIST TO SERVE AS JURORS. AND MAYBE IT’S GOING TO BE A 12-MEMBER…

  • The founding fathers and the jury system
    Articles,  Blog

    The founding fathers and the jury system

    Hi, this is Brigham Cluff. This is my sixth video in my series all about Arizona juries, what the Founding Fathers thought about the jury system and the Seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution. Juries were of great importance to the founders of our country. It was actually one of the motivating factors that prompted the Revolution to begin with. There was this concern among the Americans that their liberties were being taken away by the King of England. Those liberties included taxation without representation and although it hasn’t received quite as much attention, another issue that was very important was that their jury system was being taken away…

  • Constitution Lectures 6: Who is the Ultimate Arbiter? (HD version)
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    Constitution Lectures 6: Who is the Ultimate Arbiter? (HD version)

    In order to have an effective Constitution, there needs to be a process for determining whether or not its requirements have been met, or if it’s limitations have been exceeded. This inevitably leads to the controversy of the Ultimate Arbiter. Is there one Ultimate Arbiter of the Constitution whose word is the final say? And if so, who is it? Let’s start by asking the question, “Who can decide if an act is unconstitutional?” We’ll look at the three branches, starting with the Legislative branch. Certainly if a new act is under debate, the legislators can determine for themselves if it violates the Constitution, If so, they can vote against…

  • How does impeachment work? – Alex Gendler
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    How does impeachment work? – Alex Gendler

    For most jobs, it’s understood that you can be fired, whether for crime, incompetence, or just poor performance. But what if your job happens to be the most powerful position in the country, or the world? That’s where impeachment comes in. Impeachment isn’t the same as actually removing someone from office. Like an indictment in criminal court, it’s only the formal accusation that launches a trial, which could end in conviction or acquittal. Originating in the United Kingdom, impeachment allowed Parliament to vote for removing a government official from office even without the king’s consent. Although this was an important check on royal power, the king couldn’t be impeached because…