Posts Tagged ‘Trial by Jury’

Report Traces the Role of American Civil Justice System in Improving Auto Safety

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

The American Association for Justice (AAJ) has released a report that traces the history of auto safety improvements in the United States spurred by the civil justice system.  The springboard for the April, 2010 report is the recent accelerator defects in many Toyota models.  However, the report focuses on the accomplishments of our jury system in bringing about positive change in everything in our cars from gas tanks to tires and air bag safety.

Through historical examples, the report gives us a sense for how far the auto industry has come and where we would be without seriously injured people having access to justice.  For example, the report’s introduction takes us back to 1964, when Chevrolet built a sold steering shaft 3 inches from the front tires of its Corvair model, which caused the shaft to ram violently into a driver’s head when he was struck head-on by another vehicle.   General Motors was wise to redesign its steering mechanism after evidence of such a preventable injury became public in a court of law.  Ultimately, the AAJ report concludes with a diagram theorizing what today’s auto would look like if the American civil justice system didn’t exist.

View full report here:

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stevens Will Leave a Legacy of Jury Trial Protection When He Retires This Summer

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

As of tomorrow it will be one week since Justice John Paul Stevens officially announced his retirement from the United States Supreme Court effective at the close of the current term this summer.  The announcement was not a surprise given the long and successful career of Justice Stevens.  He turns 90 in five days.  Supreme Court historians will debate Justice Stevens’ legacy for years to come.  Writers and pundits have already started to evaluate his legacy.  (To learn more about a handful of landmark cases in which Justice Stevens played a pivotal role, you can read a Newsweek blog at:  Overall, Justice Stevens is likely to be remembered for his reasoned approach to civil liberties, civil rights, and the right to trial by jury in both criminal and civil cases.  Given Justice Stevens cared deeply about applying the wisdom of the constitution’s founders to the issues of modern times, it is appropriate to invoke the words of John Adams in 1774, who said, “Representative government and trial by jury are the heart and lungs of liberty.”