We have a criminal jury system which is superior to any in the world;
and its efficiency is only marred by the difficulty of finding twelve
men every day who don't know anything and can't read.
Our admirable jury system enabled the persecuted ex-officials to secure
a jury of nine gentlemen from a neighboring asylum and three graduates
from Sing Sing, and presently they walked forth with characters vindicated.
The jury system puts a ban upon intelligence and honesty, and
a premium upon ignorance, stupidity and perjury. It is a shame that we must
continue to use a worthless system because it was good a thousand years ago...I
desire to tamper with the jury law. I wish to so alter it as to put a premium
on intelligence and character, and close the jury box against idiots, blacklegs,
and people who do not read newspapers. But no doubt I shall be defeated--every
effort I make to save the country "misses fire."
- Roughing It
On the inquest it was shown that Buck Fanshaw, in the delirium
of a wasting typhoid fever, had taken arsenic, shot himself through the body,
cut his throat, and jumped out of a four-story window and broken his neck--and
after due deliberation, the jury, sad and tearful, but with intelligence unblinded
by its sorrow, brought in a verdict of death "by the visitation of God."
What could the world do without juries?
- Roughing It
The humorist who invented trial by jury played a colossal practical joke upon the world, but since we have the system we ought to try and respect it. A thing which is not thoroughly easy to do, when we reflect that by command of the law a criminal juror must be an intellectual vacuum, attached to a melting heart and perfectly macaronian bowels of compassion.
-"Foster's Case," New York Tribune, 3/10/1873
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