Fully Informed Jury Association

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Jury Nullification | 23 Nov 2009

The Fight for Liberty


The Constitutional Right to a Jury Trial

For Publication and General Distribution -11/20/09

I’m sure many liberty activists out there share the same realization as I do that the federal government, the Federal Reserve, Wall Street, the banks, and the big corporations are all collaborating to centralize, collectivize, and control all aspects of American life and are doing so to the detriment of individual liberty. As was the case leading up to the original American Revolution, this unnatural situation is driving many modern day Americans into poverty by making it impossible for them to make a basic living for themselves and their families, or to even maintain basic sustenance.

As more and more of us become affected by this tyranny, there will be times when an individual has some success resisting it. It then becomes important that he or she share the methods of such resistance so others can duplicate it. That’s the purpose of this communication. I’ve had my liberty and rights assaulted and so far I’ve fought off the attack. Here’s how I’ve done it. Maybe others like you can do the same if your life, liberty or pursuit of happiness is similarly threatened.

When my house in Derry, NH (see picture below) was foreclosed on in March of 2008 I decided to stay and make a fight of it. I’ve been holed up in the house ever since and have refused to give it up to the “government sponsored enterprise” known as “Fannie Mae”. So far they’ve tried three times in court to have me evicted but I’m still in the house holding my ground.

I am aware that there is a diversity of opinion out there about the issue of mortgage foreclosures, even within the freedom community. Some view it as a simple contract matter – if you don’t pay the mortgage you signed – you lose the house. Others like me view it very differently. If the free market system were being allowed to function properly, individual Americans would be able to prosper and flourish in a system based on hard work, individual productivity, creativity and self-sufficiency. Instead, we have a debt driven system dominated by banks, large corporations and big government that attempts to create “wealth” out of nothing. This is the actual true cause of many of the mortgage and loan defaults that are putting so many Americans out onto the street and into financial distress. The government has bailed out the big banks. Now the masters want the people to passively leave their homes with their tails between their legs. And go live where – in a homeless shelter or a tent?

Whatever anyone’s opinion is about the economic crisis, all liberty advocates would surely agree that no one’s property; liberty or life should be taken from him or her without guaranteed due process of law. This principal and right is basic to liberty.

In my pursuit of these rights, the last time I was in court (Derry District Court) regarding my house I insisted on a jury trial, which is a guaranteed right under both the US Constitution and the New Hampshire State constitution. All I want is what the supreme law of our land entitles me to: the opportunity to plead my case to a jury of my peers. I want to be judged by a fully informed jury composed of fellow citizens living under the same socioeconomic conditions as I am. I want the opportunity to convince the jury to send a message to the government and to the banking system – that here in New Hampshire we’re not easily inclined to take away our neighbors’ homes and throw families out onto the street. Instead, New Hampshire’s citizens should have the opportunity to say, “no, enough is enough” to this bunch of greedy criminals who have unconstitutionally taken over the government and have rigged the economic system in their favor to the detriment of ordinary hard-working Americans. Maybe the jury will agree with me and maybe not. But in any case, let the jury decide.

In my case, however, the judge has tried to sidestep both the US and New Hampshire Constitutions and has granted possession of the property to the bank without the required jury trial. Essentially, he has ignored the two constitutions and issued his judgment without granting me the trial by a jury of my peers as is constitutionally guaranteed.

From a civil liberties point of view, remember that the denial of trial by jury was a grievance stated in the Declaration of Independence as well as being a right guaranteed in the Constitution. In colonial times the practice was to allow elitist adjudicators, such as magistrates appointed by the king, to rule over the common people. Inevitably, this situation allowed for abuses by the upper classes to be committed against the common person.

Accordingly, the right to a trial by a jury of one’s peers was intended by the founding fathers to be a necessary check to prevent such abuses of power. It can be argued that the twelve Americans sitting in a jury box are as important to the preservation of American liberty as any American soldier that ever lay dead on a battlefield.

Being denied due process during foreclosures or debt proceedings has become a big issue in many states. People are being denied due process because the courts are overloaded with foreclosures and other loan defaults, a situation that the banks themselves largely created due to their own massive negligence and greed. In my opinion, it’s too bad for the banks if evictions and repossessions are not going fast enough for them because the system is too overloaded. Individuals are entitled to their guaranteed rights of due process at all times, whatever the circumstances.

There is a widely held belief that rather than serving as the guardians of individual liberty that they were intended to be, the courts in America have become rubber stamps for the ruling oligarchy. I’m sure many of you are already aware that other freedom-loving individuals throughout the state are growing increasingly concerned about worsening judicial misconduct and the abuses of power in New Hampshire’s courts. Based on what I’ve seen in my case and cases involving others, the concerns are well justified. There are double standards in favor of corporate litigants with attorneys and against ordinary people who cannot afford attorneys. The courts don’t follow established legal principles or even follow their own rules. For all practical purposes, there is no judicial oversight or accountability. There is a Judicial Conduct Committee but it has been observed to be ineffective as presently organized and operated.

My current situation is that the Derry District Court judge has gone as far as issuing the paperwork necessary to evict me. I should have been out of there a while ago, but as of this date he hasn’t issued the final order. So what is he waiting for? The only thing outstanding would seem to be my written request for a jury trial. Perhaps what’s on his mind is the fact that he’d be breaking the supreme law of the land, the precious US Constitution and its cousin the New Hampshire State Constitution. In effect, we’re eyeball to eyeball and so far it is him that has blinked. I’ve got him boxed into a corner. So as of now, the Gadsden Flag and Navy Jack, each bearing the inscription, “Don’t Tread on Me” are still proudly displayed on the front of my house. The 13-star US flag, which the Continental Army fought under, still flies there too. So far, the two constitutions have held.

The tyrants have been at my door for over a year and a half. But our flag is still there. If the tyrants come after you and try to deny you your liberty or property, do what I did. Hold up the Constitution and demand your right to a jury trial. Don’t let them roll over you. Demand your rights! Let’s plug up the whole system if necessary. Teach the elitists the lesson that it’s not that easy to create a disaster and then profit from it at the expense of average people. Teach them that the people will rise up and use the tools the founders gave them. Teach them that the people will fight back.

Acts of nonviolent resistance have already been taken against the judicial system elsewhere in the state, particularly in Keene. I’d like to get some help down here in Derry, especially if this constitutional violator of a judge actually tries to have me evicted without the due process I’m entitled to in our Constitution. Like Paul Revere, I’d like to set up a network of patriots that will come out for each other if called. My email address is below.

What I’ve done is drawn a constitutional line at my home in Derry. So far it’s holding. If anyone else out there draws a similar line as mine and needs my help to defend it, send out the call and I’ll come running. And if my line becomes threatened and looks in danger of faltering I’ll call out to you.

Our founders fought a bloody revolution and left us with a constitution to use as a tool to nonviolently protect our liberty and freedom. Back then the American Revolution was won because Americans banded together to protect each other’s lives, their neighbors’ homes, their neighbors’ possessions and their neighbors’ rights. Modern Americans need to do the same.

Your compatriot in liberty,

Joe Vignolo – gpsnavaids (at) comcast.net