Donald L. Koch is a respected St. Louis financial services executive who presides over Koch Asset Management. Also head of the Koch Charitable Foundation, Donald L. Koch sponsors a variety of community events with a focus on educating high school and college students on the United States’ founding documents, such as the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
The Bill of Rights added a number of basic laws to the Constitution and addressed citizen concerns regarding the protection of basic liberties and states’ rights from federal incursion. The Seventh Amendment set in place a system of jury trials for civil court cases. While mandated only for federal courts, nearly every state has set a system of jury trials in place. It was considered an essential safeguard by leaders who previously had no recourse to such trials under British rule.
The United States is unique in the jury trial legal tradition, which stands in contrast to Continental systems and those prevalent in Asia and Latin America. This approach relies on a codified standard providing legal guidance, rather than judge-focused, precedence-based decisional law. Even in the United Kingdom and its colonies, the requirement for civil jury trials is largely a thing of the past.
Within the United States, civil trial jury maintains its central role. While fewer than 1 percent of lawsuits are settled by jury, this option plays an important role in protecting the integrity of court decisions.