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Legal trivia: origin of the word "juror"

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  • Legal trivia: origin of the word "juror"

    I'm reading a book about the origins of the concept of a free press
    (Emergence of a Free Press, by Leonard Levy). In the chapter on the period
    of the American Revolution I encountered repeated, odd uses of the word
    "juror." For example, in a passage on loyalty oaths: "Nonjurors were
    disarmed and lost all rights to vote, hold public office, serve on juries,
    sue for debts, or buy property."

    I investigated this, and discovered that a "nonjuror" is a person who
    refuses to take an oath -- in this case a loyalty oath.

    It makes sense, once explained. A "juror" is a person who does take an
    oath -- in the common sense, an oath to render an impartial verdict on the
    evidence, in accord with the law. By one of those quirks of language
    development, the word and its antonym came to mean completely unrelated
    things, rather than opposites.


  • #2
    Legal trivia: origin of the word "juror"

    "Jonathan Sachs" <[email protected]> writes:
    I investigated this, and discovered that a "nonjuror" is a person who refuses to take an oath -- in this case a loyalty oath.
    And related to that, the bit of text on documents like
    income tax forms that says something like "I promise
    that under the pains and penalties of perjury that
    the information on this form is correct to the best
    of my knowledge" is called a "jurat".

    --
    Rich Carreiro [email protected]

    Comment


    • #3
      Legal trivia: origin of the word &quot;juror&quot;

      >And related to that, the bit of text on documents like
      income tax forms that says something like "I promisethat under the pains and penalties of perjury thatthe information on this form is correct to the bestof my knowledge" is called a "jurat".
      If I remember correctly, the members of the courts of Jersey and Guernsey
      (Channel Islands) are called jurats.

      Comment


      • #4
        Legal trivia: origin of the word &quot;juror&quot;

        Manoj wrote:
        And related to that, the bit of text on documents likeincome tax forms that says something like "I promisethat under the pains and penalties of perjury thatthe information on this form is correct to the bestof my knowledge" is called a "jurat". If I remember correctly, the members of the courts of Jersey and Guernsey (Channel Islands) are called jurats.
        My understanding is that the original jurors were those who actually
        witnessed the incident.

        Stu

        Comment


        • #5
          Legal trivia: origin of the word &quot;juror&quot;

          "Stuart Bronstein" <[email protected]> wrote in
          misc.legal.moderated:
          Manoj wrote:
          And related to that, the bit of text on documents likeincome tax forms that says something like "I promisethat under the pains and penalties of perjury thatthe information on this form is correct to the bestof my knowledge" is called a "jurat". If I remember correctly, the members of the courts of Jersey and Guernsey (Channel Islands) are called jurats.
          My understanding is that the original jurors were those who actuallywitnessed the incident.
          "It [trial by jury] had more than a single origin. This has
          contributed to the melee of scholarship." -- Charles Rembar, in /The
          Law of the Land/.

          The first juries in England, according to Rembar, were more like
          what we would call civil than criminal. Under William I, they
          decided ownership of land; Henry II (late 12th century), adapted the
          jury to his Assize of Novel Dissseisin, which also decided
          ownership(*) of land. In both cases the idea was that the jurors
          should be people of the vicinity who knew the facts and would swear
          to them. "It was not the jury as we know it. It was a body of
          neighbors who acted on their own knowledge of the law, as did the
          juries of the Domesday Book. They did not sit and listen to the
          evidence; they brought the evidence to court themselves, inside
          their heads." -- Rembar

          (*) Actually, "seisin", which was somewhere between and had elements
          of pure de jure ownership and pure de facto possession. It survives
          today in deeds that read that the seller is "seized" of the land and
          grants it to the buyer.

          --
          If you e-mail me from a fake address, your fingers will drop off.

          I am not a lawyer; this is not legal advice. When you read anything
          legal on the net, always verify it on your own, in light of your
          particular circumstances. You may also need to consult a lawyer.

          Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Cortland County, New York, USA
          http://OakRoadSystems.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Legal trivia: origin of the word &quot;juror&quot;

            >In both cases the idea was that the jurors
            should be people of the vicinity who knew the facts and would swearto them.
            Surprising how this has taken a 180-degree turn in modern times. Nowadays we
            impanel jurors who know nothing about what happened and are not predisposed one
            way or the other.

            Comment

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