Currently, a typical American legal practice of a trial by jury is vanishing. Legal experts claim that the decline happened due to the frequent use of mandatory minimum sentences which let defendants omit trials. The decline has been felt by judges and defendants; lawyers suppose that it disrupts a proper functioning of the court system.
The conception of a jury trial took place as far as the twelfth century in England. King Henry II introduced panels of “12 free and lawful men” who were engaged in settling land disputes in erstwhile England. These juries were treated as protectors from the extremities of the law. Later, as colonists came to America, they were deprived of jury trials. Consequently, the Sixth Amendment states that all individuals accused of crime shall have a right of a public trial held by an impartial jury of the State.
In the mid-twentieth century, the intelligence and qualification of jurors were doubted by judges. The latter reported of incidents when jurors acquitted criminals whose guilt was evident. Judges suggested to abolish jury completely and replace them with a panel of judges so that the trial is held by qualified professionals.
Canceling of the federal civil jury system was severely criticized as there is no alternative system in the current legal practice. Apparently, the system needs a reform which will help to push forward the cases which have been waiting for hearings for a long time.