The Anabaptist Conscience and Religious Exemption to Jury Service
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This article addresses whether the court system should force a citizen to participate in jury duty even if the citizen refuses to serve on a jury for deeply held and unconditional religious beliefs. Professor Hatfield argues that the answer to this question is no, and develops a proposed framework for a religious exemption to jury service. The article commences with an introduction explaining the purpose and format of the article. Part I provides background regarding why and how juries are impaneled. Part II describes the Anabaptist [Amish, Mennonite, Brethren, and Hutterite] worldview, explaining why jury service is inherently inconsistent with an Anabaptist’s religious principles. Part III argues for a constitutional guarantee of a religious exemption from jury service. Part IV provides a proposal for categorical exclusion of conscientious objectors to jury service.