The Attaint

The practice of attainting a jury was the method by which for centuries the English law corrected an erroneous finding of fact by the body of men who, in course of time, came to be called a jury. Today this necessary corrective of judicial administration is very inadequately performed by the judge or judges presiding over the trial. The proceeding is now called a motion for a new trial. The new trial is inadequate for the reason that it does not, as did the attaint, substitute a correct verdict for the one given. It merely reverses or sets aside the former verdict and restores the party prejudiced to his cause of action or defense, as the case may be. It wipes out the former trial and requires the whole trial to take place again. As a matter of fact, the demonstration of a necessity for a new trial ought to carry with it the demonstration of what would be a correct verdict and judgment, and to save useless expense that judgment should be entered.