Jul 17

Judges are increasingly dismissing civil cases.


As many legal commentators have noted, jury trials are virtually vanishing.

Prosecutors file complicated multi-count indictments, expecting that every defendant will be forced to plead guilty to something. Increasingly, only a fool would risk his life by taking such cases to a jury. Almost every error is a crime and almost every crime is a felony. Sentences have gradually increased so that no one can afford to demand a jury trial.

Most modern criminal cases are resolved not by judges or juries but by plea negotiations with prosecutors.

In the civil arena, judges rather than prosecutors play the key role. They increasingly proclaim that issues are “LEGAL” questions for them (judges) to decide, not “FACT” questions for juries to decide.

Here is an interesting law review article about the increasing use of “summary judgment” in civil cases. Attorney Richard L. Steagall authored the article in 2009. The title is “The Recent Explosion in Summary Judgments Entered by the Federal Courts Has Eliminated the Jury From the Judicial Power.” You can find a link to the article here.