(Hey, let’s see you come up with enough clever headlines for this! I ain’t Dawn Eden, here.)
Amendment Seven – In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of a 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.
Well, there’s this trick. A person could be held on charges and the State could claim they were civil rather than criminal, and sue the accused rather than seek to jail him. It’s not much, perhaps, but the Constitution has been boxing things in pretty closely now. In fact, our story is building up to a big finish, and it’s looking good for us. But let’s make sure that the State can’t merely bankrupt people in lieu of criminal convictions.
We, the people, can always have our civil disputes heard by a jury, rather than by a judge, so long as the amount is sufficient; and their findings of fact in the matter can be reviewed only by established common-law rules. These rules are as much for the protection of a plaintiff as they are the defendant, of course. Any appellate process may discover that a dismissal or acquittal has been improper, just as they may find that a jury has erroneously found against the defense.
After all of this, of course, a jury of one’s peers could find in favor of the State. We’ll go ahead and say yeah, you had it comin’, you done it, and you deserve it. Our story has taken a sudden turn, hasn’t it…