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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.


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