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Elias Harris
Elias Harris

The Power And Duty Of Federal Judges To Marshall And Comment On The Evidence In Jury Trials And Some !FULL!

Polygraphic Co., supra. There are factors present here which might reduce that possibility. The trial judge in the federal system has powers denied the judges of many States to comment on the weight of evidence and credibility of witnesses, and discretion to grant a new trial if the verdict appears to him to be against the weight of the evidence. We do not think the likelihood of a different result is so strong as to require the federal practice of jury determination of disputed factual issues to yield to the state rule in the interest of uniformity of outcome. [Footnote 15]

The power and duty of federal judges to marshall and comment on the evidence in jury trials and some

Antifederalists viewed the federal judiciary as a source of danger to individual liberty, the state judiciaries, and the future existence of the states themselves. The Constitution guaranteed jury trials in criminal cases, but it said nothing about civil cases. Thus, Antifederalists were concerned that the judicial power of the United States would compromise the right to jury trials in civil cases. They also noted that in criminal cases, juries of vicinage (local juries) were not guaranteed. This meant that individuals might need to travel distances of hundreds of miles to federal courts placing undue hardship on them. In cases that would come before the Supreme Court, travel could entail thousands of miles. Additionally, Antifederalists worried that the jurisdiction of the federal courts was too broad, and as federal power grew, which they believed was inevitable, more cases would be taken to federal courts rather than state courts, thus reducing the importance of state judiciaries. Since federal judges would be the interpreters of the ambiguities of the Constitution, the federal courts would accrue more power as they allowed federal power to expand at state expense.

Part I of this Note provides background information on the early history of the federal magistrate judge system, its development over the decades following its genesis in 1968, and the role of magistrate judges today. Part I also discusses the additional duty with the most well developed Supreme Court jurisprudence, the authority of magistrate judges to preside over jury selection in a federal felony case. The analytical framework developed in the cases on that power is important in assessing the role of magistrate judges more generally. Part II describes Stern v. Marshall and two recent decisions from the Seventh and Eleventh Circuits, which concern particular exercises of the additional-duties power by magistrate judges. This Part reaches some preliminary conclusions about the considerations the Court deemed important in assessing the appropriateness of an exercise of additional-duties authority in the jury selection cases described in Part I and re-evaluates these considerations in light of Stern. Part III proposes a framework that should be used to evaluate whether a particular additional duty meets statutory and constitutional muster, with a focus on ensuring the flexibility of the magistrate judge system and the supremacy of Article III district court judges over magistrate judges. This framework is then applied to the duties considered by the Seventh and Eleventh Circuits, rejecting arguments to extend the reasoning of Stern to magistrate judges. This Note argues that it would be a mistake to conclude that Stern should lead to a significant re-examination of the permissible duties of magistrate judges.

The powers and functions of the federal grand jury differ from those of the federal trial jury, which is called the petit jury. The petit jury listens to the evidence offered by the prosecution and the defense (if it chooses to offer any) during a criminal trial and returns a verdict of guilty or not guilty. The grand jury, on the other hand, does not determine guilt or innocence, but only whether there is probable cause to believe that a crime was committed and that a specific person or persons committed it. If the grand jury finds probable cause to exist, then it will return a written statement of the charges called an "indictment." After that, the accused will go to trial.

Each federal court district has a United States Attorney whose duty it is to represent the United States in federal matters within the district and to prosecute those accused of federal crimes. In the usual case, the United States Attorney or one of the Assistant United States Attorneys will present the evidence of alleged violations of the law to the grand jury. These attorneys also advise grand jurors as to what witnesses should be called and what documentary evidence should be produced for examination by the grand jury. The grand jury may ask that additional witnesses be called if it believes this necessary. The United States Attorney will also prepare the formal written indictments that the grand jury wishes to present. But neither the United States Attorney nor any Assistant United States Attorney may remain in the room while the grand jury deliberates and votes on an indictment. 350c69d7ab

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