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What is the importance of the Seventh Amendment?Amendment VII - Trial by...

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sara212 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted September 30, 2011 at 1:46 PM via web

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What is the importance of the Seventh Amendment?

Amendment VII - Trial by Jury in Common Law Cases
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 30, 2011 at 1:50 PM (Answer #1)

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The Seventh Amendment is important because it protects us from having our rights abused by the government.  It ensures that the government cannot simply "railroad" us into prison on flimsy charges.  By doing so, it protects us from government tyranny.

If we did not have the right to trial by jury, we could simply be tried before judges.  Judges are, of course, government officials.  They might (if the government wanted to be tyrannical) simply find us guilty of whatever the prosecutors said we had done.  If this were the case, we would have no protection against the government.

By instituting the right to trial by jury, the 7th Amendment protects us from this danger.  It allows us to be tried by a jury of our peers who will, presumably, ensure that the government actually has a real case against us and will not allow us to be imprisoned or otherwise punished without good cause.

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lalithareddy | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted September 30, 2011 at 7:55 PM (Answer #2)

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The Seventh Amendment of the US Constitution is a provision regarding when jury trial may be appropriate in civil suits. The text of the amendment is the following:

common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law."

The amendment states that any amount sought in a suit $20 US Dollars (USD) or more would basically allow for people to demand their right to have their cause heard in common law or civil court operated on a federal level by a jury of their peers. Of course, $20 USD was a great deal when the Bill of Rights was first established. Today we would be hard pressed to find someone seeking a jury trial when suing for that amount.

The main point of the Seventh Amendment was to create distinction between the work of a judge and that of a jury in operation in Federal civil court. Judges were there to instruct juries, to deliberate which evidence could be legally heard, and to advise juries on matters of law. The jury needed to hear the facts in evidence, determine which ones were most weighted, and determine if a lawsuit brought was viable or not. Juries can also decide which amounts to award in most suits.

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