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The 7th Amendment to the United States Constitution ensures that citizens’ civil cases can be heard and decided upon by a jury of their peers. It provides parties to lawsuits with the opportunity to present facts and evidence for an eventual impartial decision under applicable law(s).

However, the civil jury trial is disappearing with the advent of forced mediation, arbitration and other settlement-based procedures.

As a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), I am very familiar with one of the principal missions of this organization: to uphold and preserve the jury system for present and future litigants. Judges now are more case managers than “trial judges”. Attorneys either lack or fail to develop trial skills, due at least in part to forced participation in other alternative dispute resolution processes. Another critical issue is the cost of jury trials, not only to the litigants but also to the prospective jurors, who must sacrifice their personal time and effort to preserve this face-to-face aspect of the justice system.

ABOTA has launched a website, devoted to the principal of upholding the jury system. More information regarding history, issues, problems, and solutions can be found at ABOTA’s skilled trial lawyers (plaintiff and defense civil litigators throughout the country) are intent on preserving your right to a trial by a jury. The website contains valuable information, educational materials and commentary regarding this important yet disappearing fundamental right.

Should you have any questions on your legal rights, including your right to trial by jury, the attorneys at Heiting & Irwin are available for consult and to represent your rights. Let’s fight together to protect and preserve the civil litigation system that is the backbone of our society and one of our most fundamental rights!


Dennis Stout is a native Californian with significant ties to the Inland Empire, where he continues to reside. A graduate of Upland High School, the University of California, Riverside (B.S. Economics), and the University of La Verne (J.D.), Mr. Stout has practiced law continuously since 1979. He has been married to his wife, Alicia (R.N., C.E.N., M.I.C.N.) since that same year, and they have three adult children, all of whom live in Southern California. View Attorney Dennis Stout's Attorney Bio Here.

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