Professor Andrew Trees, Roosevelt University
Virginia Declaration of Rights
Section 8. That in all capital or criminal prosecutions a man hath a right to demand the cause and nature of his accusation to be confronted with the accusers and witnesses, to call for evidence in his favor, and to a speedy trial by an impartial jury of his vicinage, without whose unanimous consent he cannot be found guilty, nor can he be compelled to give evidence against himself; that no man be deprived of his liberty except by the law of the land or the judgement of his peers.
Section 11. That in controversies respecting property and in suits between man and man, the ancient trial by jury is preferable to any other and ought to be held sacred.
Section eight and section eleven are precursors to the Seventh Amendment with its protection of “the right of trial by jury.” For a fuller discussion of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, see the introductory material.