West Virginia Law Review


B. F. Howard

Document Type



When the colonists came to America, they brought with them the right of trial by jury. To preserve and protect this right for them and their descendants, it was incorporated in the Bill of Rights of the Virginias, and it is now firmly entrenched in the judiciary system of West Virginia. The citizens of our state have ever zealously guarded this as a sacred right, and looked to it as a bulwark of protection when their rights have been invaded, or their liberties jeopardized. Notwithstanding all the recognized defects and imperfections of the jury system, experience has demonstrated that trial by a jury of "twelve good men and true" is the best machinery yet devised for arriving at a true result. Through the ages, our jury system has repelled vicious assaults of its enemies. It would be folly for one to now advocate that trial by jury be supplanted by any other method of determining an issue of fact. In this treatise, neither the abolishment of trial by jury, nor any radical and revolutionary changes in that system will be advocated; but an endeavor will be made to examine the mechanics of the jury system of West Virginia to determine whether it can be developed into a smoother running machine by adjustments and lubrication. By so doing, we may find that the machinery of the jury system is properly designed and fabricated to do the work prescribed for it, but, because of the lack of necessary adjustments and lubrication, and inefficient and careless engineers, it has developed some "piston knocks" that have unjustly relegated it to the graveyard of used and useless machinery, in which the public is losing confidence.



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