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The Palladium of Justice: Origins of Trial by Jury Hardcover – June 8, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-1566632591 ISBN-10: 1566632595 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 125 pages
  • Publisher: Ivan R. Dee; First Edition edition (June 8, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566632595
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566632591
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #517,724 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A compact, lucid analysis from a master of constitutional disputes. (Louis Fisher, author of American Constitutional Law)

Erudite, fascinating, inspiring, and relevant to our times. (Forrest McDonald, author of We the People)

Illuminating. (William E. Leuchtenburg, author of The Supreme Court Reborn)

Incisively, thoroughly, and thoughtfully—as always—Leonard Levy offers his historical meaning and understanding to one of our most basic rights. We are once again in his debt. (Stanley I. Kutler, author of The Wars of Watergate and Abuse of Power)

Enlightening. (Atlantic Monthly)

About the Author

Leonard W. Levy, whose Origins of the Fifth Amendment won the Pulitzer Prize in history, is formerly Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional History at Brandeis University and Andrew W. Mellon All-Claremont Professor of Humanities and History at the Claremont Graduate School. His other writings, many of which have also won awards, include Origins of the Fifth Amendment, Blasphemy, The Establishment Clause, Freedom of the Press from Zenger to Jefferson, Original Intent and the Framers' Constitution, and Jefferson and Civil Liberties. He lives in Ashland, Oregon. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Donovan G. Rinker on May 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
Levy's defense of juries and the Anglo-American accusatorial system is a worthwile evening's read that condenses 600 years of legal history into a scarce hundred pages of simple prose--a truly remarkable feat.

As an alternative to trial by ordeal, conjurgation, and battle, juries were an innovative fact-finding solution that helped spread the power of the central government in England, yet also helped focus resistance to British power in revolutionary America.

Levy argues plausibly that though the Anglo-American tradition was hardly perfect, it better averted torture and other excesses of the inquisitorial (Continental) system during the 13th-17th centuries because bringing suspects before a jury to find the facts reduced the likelihood that judges would resort to other means of extracting confessions. The excesses of Guantanamo/Iraq/Afghanistan, where juries have been denied, suggest Levy's point is more than merely academic.

The discussion of the role of juries in the Revolution seems less convincing, if only because the subject matter is less exotic, and contrary impressions are readily available. Still, the Constitutional debates over jury nullification remain relevant today.

A 103-page book, Levy's text does not seek to be an exhaustive treatise so much as an extended essay readily ingestable in an evening or two. Chock-full of interesting tidbits, it should appeal to anyone interested in the purpose and history of juries, one of the most distinctive characteristics of American legal heritage.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. Jaksetic on July 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
This brief book provides a good introduction to the origins and early history of trial by jury. The author surveys the history of trial by jury, including its roots in Great Britain, its evolution in Great Britain and the British colonies in North America, and its incorporation into American constitutional law.

The author compares and contrasts the adversarial system of justice in England with the inquisitorial system of justice that prevailed in much of Continental Europe. In doing so, the author highlights some of the pros and cons of both systems of justice, and concludes the English adversarial system of justice was better overall. The author also briefly discusses how the grand jury developed as a separate institution from the trial jury in Great Britain. Finally, the author reviews the trial by jury experience in colonial America, and its incorporation into American constitutional law.

The book is too short to provide a detailed or comprehensive look at the origins and early history of trial by jury. But, it provides a good, basic introduction for anyone interested in the subject.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This volume is far from the author's best work. It was, in fact, a disappointing read. In some places, it was simply inaccurate. In others, the author made statements that needed support - but he declined to use either end notes or foot notes, so we the readers can't check. I believe he wrote this book for casual readers, not serious readers or students.
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