Civil Jury Trials In North Dakota

Civil Jury Trials Are A Constitutional Right

March 22, 2018

Most of the time you only hear people talking of a few Constitutional rights, such as freedom of speech, right to bear arms, or protection from unreasonable searches and seizures. What many folks don’t understand, is that both the US Constitution and the North Dakota Constitution, provide an inviolate right to a civil jury trial. While far less talked about, it is still a very important right that is exercised every day in America.

Jury Trials In North Dakota Personal Injury Cases

In North Dakota state district court, parties are allowed to request a jury trial consisting of six or nine jurors. N.D.C.C. § 28-14-03.1 and North Dakota Rule of Civil Procedure 38 state in all civil cases where a jury is requested, it must consist of at least six jurors, unless a party makes a timely written demand for a nine-person jury. All decisions by the jury in a civil trial in North Dakota must be unanimous.

In Federal district court in North Dakota, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 48 and Local Civil Rule 47.1, the judicial officer will choose the size of the jury, which will be between six to twelve people on a jury. Similar to State jury trials, all decisions by a jury must be unanimous.

Importance Of Jury System

While a lot of folks are not particularly excited when they receive a jury summons in the mail, it is important for all parties in a civil case that a jury is drawn from the community to decide the case. Juries have an important function: citizens’ collective minds are good at applying common sense to the law and facts and arriving at a fair verdict.

Of secondary importance to jury trials is ensuring Constitutional rights are not violated. If access to a jury trial is removed or restricted, a basic and fundamental Federal and State Constitutional right is eliminated. Jury trials serve the continuing function of requiring America to live up to its guarantees to citizens, like any other Constitutional right.

So, if you have been called to serve on a jury, please know you are serving an important Constitutional guaranteed right for fellow citizens. If you are pursuing or defending a civil case, contact our team for more guidance on this fundamental right and others, and for representation to ensure that your rights are afforded and protected.

The information contained in this article and on this website is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to your particular set of facts.