The right to a trial by jury is the privilege of every person in the United States, whether citizen or alien. This right is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. It is also assured to all Tennesseans by our state constitution. The Tennessee Constitution, first adopted in 1797, provides, “the right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate…”
Obviously, jury trials cannot be held unless people such as you are willing to perform their civic duty. Jurors are essential to the administration of justice.
Trial by jury is not a perfect system of obtaining justice; it is simply the best system we have yet been able to devise. Serving on a jury is not only an obligation of every qualified citizen; it is a right and a privilege.
If you are required to serve on a jury, you become, along with the lawyers and the judge, an officer of the court, a part of the judicial system with an important responsibility to your state and your fellow citizens.
Please keep in mind that the administration of justice is not a process in which short-cuts should be taken simply to speed up the process. The determination of truth and the fair and impartial application of the law are matters of grave importance.
Jurors decide whether criminal defendants are guilty or not guilty. Jurors also decide whether someone is to recover money damages for an injury received in an automobile accident or from a defective product, a contract dispute, negligence or a similar case.
Jury service is a very important obligation of citizenship. It represents the juror’s contribution to the perpetuation of our democratic way of life and the system by which the laws of our state are administered by our courts.