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The phrase, a legal term signifying that an accused person has the right to be judged by a group of people from his or her own community or society, and with the same set of principles and morals as the accused, implies that besides the strict written law there is a common law of decency that only a group of like-minded citizens can assess. While the sheriff and the other men of the community have the legal power to accuse, only the women, including the sheriff's wife, are "peers" in this society, because the women have shared the subordinate status of women in this community, and only they can determine whether the murder was "justified." The facr that they do not reveal the dead canary (the motive for the murder) means that they have acted as "a jury of her peers" and found her not guilty. This, the appropriateness of the title.
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