Criminal Law and Philosophy

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 423–442 | Cite as

The Jury and Criminal Responsibility in Anglo-American History

  • Thomas A. GreenEmail author
Original Paper


Anglo-American theories of criminal responsibility require scholars to grapple with, inter alia, the relationship between the formal rule of law and the powers of the lay jury as well as two inherent ideas of freedom: freedom of the will and political liberty. Here, by way of canvassing my past work and prefiguring future work, I sketch some elements of the history of the Anglo-American jury and offer some glimpses of commentary on the interplay between the jury—particularly its application of conventional morality to criminal judgments—and the formal rule of law of the state. My central intent is to pose questions for further study (by myself and others) regarding the historical behavior of the jury, the jury’s role in reinforcing notions of political liberty and free will, and, primarily, how scholarly conceptions of the jury’s role and behavior have informed elite theory regarding the justifications for imposing criminal responsibility.


Criminal responsibility Free will Jury Determinism Conventional morality Nullification 



I want to thank the participants at the University of Minnesota Law School Robina Institute workshop on “Criminal Responsibility and its History,” especially my commentators, Dan Richman and Jonathan Simon, and the conveners of the workshop (and editors of this symposium), Susanna Blumenthal and Antony Duff. Special thanks also to Elizabeth P. Kamali and Michael Lobban for insightful critiques of successive drafts of this paper and to Merrill Hodnefield for excellent research and editorial assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.John P. Dawson Collegiate Professor of Law Emeritus and, Professor of History EmeritusUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.University of Michigan Law SchoolAnn ArborUSA

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