The Missing American Jury

Criminal, civil, and grand juries have disappeared from the American legal system. Over time, despite their significant presence in the Constitution, juries have been robbed of their power by the federal government and the states. For example, leveraging harsher criminal penalties, executive officials have forced criminal defendants into plea bargains, eliminating juries. Capping money awards, legislatures have stripped juries of their power to fix damages. Ordering summary judgment, judges dispose of civil cases without sending them to a jury.

This is not what the founders intended. Examining the Constitution’s text and historical sources, the book explores how the jury’s authority has been taken and how it can be restored to its rightful, co-equal position as a “branch” of government. Discussing the value of juries beyond the Constitution’s requirements, the book also discusses the significance of juries world-wide and argues jury decision-making should be preferred over determinations by other governmental bodies.

Order from Amazon

Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban

Entrepreneur, Owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Shark Tank star and proud to have done his civic duty as a juror

“I strongly recommend this book. Professor Thomas shares the importance of our jury system. It’s a right that you never think you will need… until you do.”

David Boies

David Boies

Runner-up for Time Magazine Person of the Year, Lawyer in Bush v. Gore

“Professor Thomas highlights a very real problem-as the number of jury trials declines in favor of ever more specialist judges and alternative procedures, justice may not always be best served.”

Wayne LaFave

Wayne LaFave

Professor of Law, author of Search and Seizure, cited by US Supreme Court over 175 times

"The Missing American Jury deserves attention from anyone concerned with the quality of civil, and criminal justice in America today. Professor Thomas documents the decline in the use and power of criminal, civil and grand juries and the adverse impact this has had on our processes of justice, and then presents a series of provocative proposals for restoring these juries to meaningful roles."

Additional blurbs are found on the home page.

Book Reviews