In the U.S., a person can be appointed as a juror without volunteering for the position.

If a person would find themselves appointed as a juror over a monetary dispute between two Jews, how should they deal with the case? Should they submit their opinion according to Torah law, or according to U.S. law?

If a person were in the selection pool for such a case, and they could present themselves in such a way as to increase or decrease their odds of being selected for this case, should they try to be selected, or to avoid being selected, or is there no halachic preference?

  • I was once selected to be a foreman. During final selections one lawyer looked me square inn the eyes and addressed 'everyone' by saying here in America we believe in monetary compensation for physical losses. We don't blind the aggressor as an eye for an eye, can everyone comply with that? I agreed that I could. They dropped me anyway. – user6591 Jan 5 '15 at 20:12
  • @user6591 Awesome. Did everyone else agree, or only you responded? – Y     e     z Jan 5 '15 at 20:12
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    I'm telling you he was looking right at me and everyone knew he was talking to me. I actually first thought about being a wise guy and song no. Then i thought about letting him in on our secret. Then i decided to just let it go and let the next Jew on his jury get off too:) – user6591 Jan 5 '15 at 20:23

Serving as a juror between two Jews in a case dealing with the law of the country is not problematic unless the law of the country in question conflicts with Talmudic or Biblical law. Per Dina D'Malchuta Dina, one is obliged to serve on a jury if chosen as it is a civil duty. Additionally, as the US Government cannot be claimed to be a "Wicked Government" under halakhic law, for US Cases, one should follow US Law as proscribed by the concept of Dina D'Malchuta.

Source: Arutz Sheva: Religious or Secular Law?


By law one is required to use American law to decide guilt. This would then fall under dina dimalchusa which one must adhere to. Falsifying reasons to be dismissed is a crime. If you are worried how you can judge a Jew with nonjewish laws I would mention a tshuva in the Igros Moshe about working for the I.R.S. He says one is allowed to take the job even though at some point he may have to report a Jew. His intentions when taking the job were not to do mesira and by the time the situation came up its already his job which he is required to do. I think the same logic applies to a juror who accepted this position without the intention of sitting on a case between Jews.

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    "By law one is required to use American law to decide guilt." Juries are actually allowed to decide guilt or lack thereof as they see fit, regardless of statutes on the books. Although the Supreme Court has ruled that judges may falsely imply (in jury instructions) that a jury lacks this right (U.S. v. Moylan, 1969), or even remove jurors who appear willing to exercise this right (U.S. v. Thomas, 1997), juries are technically allowed by law to rule however they want. – Fred Jan 5 '15 at 20:36
  • @Fred That's not what I've been told by the lawyers doing the screening. On multiple occasions. – user6591 Jan 5 '15 at 20:39
  • I know. They are essentially lying, and they know it. Ask lawyers who you know personally, and they'll probably admit it to you. Trial lawyers hate jury nullification. – Fred Jan 5 '15 at 20:41
  • @Fred from your link it seems more like a bidieved rishus more than a lichatchila heter. But point taken. – user6591 Jan 5 '15 at 20:42
  • This doesn't really answer the question (except for removing the possibility of lying to get yourself dismissed, but lying isn't the only option). What to do once you're on the jury, according to Halacha, you haven't really shown. I suppose you were attempting to indicate, with your first line, but I wasn't asking what American law wants you to do, and that doesn't necessarily indicate what Halacha wants you to do. – Y     e     z Jan 5 '15 at 21:04

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