Letter to the Editor: Juries Under Siege

The New York Times
Saturday, August 31, 2002

To the Editor:

As "Debate Grows on Jury's Role in Injury Cases" shows (front page, Aug. 26), the civil jury system, which has served and protected us so well for more than 200 years, is today an embattled and vulnerable institution.

Corporate wrongdoers and their insurers have been at the forefront of attacks on civil juries in recent years as these industries seek to limit corporate liability exposure, including punitive damages awards.

The civil jury system is critical to protecting individual liberties, ensuring public health and safety and stopping corporate malfeasance. As Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist once wrote of the civil jury, "A right so fundamental and sacred to the citizen . . . should be jealously guarded."

When companies attack juries because of decisions they have rendered, the very foundations of our democracy are challenged.

Executive Director
Center for Justice and Democracy
New York, Aug. 27, 2002

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