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In law, a body of individuals selected and sworn to inquire into a question of fact and to render a verdict according to the evidence. Juries may deal with questions of law in addition to questions of fact, though federal juries in the U.S. are usually limited to dealing with questions of fact. The modern jury can vary in size depending on the proceeding but usually has either 6 or 12 members. By U.S. law, federal grand juries and petit juries must be selected at random from a fair cross-section of the community in the district or division wherein the court convenes. State jury selection varies somewhat. The Supreme Court of the United States has stated in a series of decisions that a jury is to be composed of peers and equals and that systematic exclusion from a jury of a particular class of people (e.g., on the basis of sex, skin colour, or ancestry) violates the equal-protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and the defendant's right to a jury trial. A defendant is not, however, entitled to a jury of any particular composition. See alsogrand jury; petit jury; voir dire.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on jury, visit Britannica.com.