Fully Informed Jury Association

Are you fully informed about jury nullification?

FIJA in the News & Function of Juries | 25 Aug 2010

The Oath Keeper Juror


The Oath Keeper Juror
By Don Doig

The Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and the Oath is to the Constitution, not to the government, or to any official. This has implications for persons summoned for jury duty. It has implications for judges and prosecutors too, should they be interested in obeying their oath.

Trial by jury is secured by the Constitution (Art. III Section 2) and in the Six Amendment and Seventh Amendment of the Bill of Rights, and also in the Due Process clause of the Fifth. The power (and right and responsibility) of the jury to vote according to conscience and to judge the merits (and constitutionality) of the law as well as the facts in the case is what makes trial by jury an important bulwark of liberty. Trial by Jury places protection of the rights of the citizens in the hands of the citizens directly.

The Founders believed that trial by jury would preserve and protect our rights, and they put a lot of emphasis on it as a bedrock principle of a free society, going back to the Magna carta.

Thomas Jefferson said, “I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.”

John Adams said of the juror, “it is not only his right, but his duty – to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.” (Yale Law Journal, 1964:173)

The trials of the Quaker William Penn in England for preaching an illegal religion to an unlawful assembly and the publisher John Peter Zenger for publishing unlawful (but true) criticism of the royal governor of New York colony helped establish
our legal traditions of freedom of religion and speech. In both cases, rebellious, conscientious jurors voted for acquittal against the law and the instructions of the judge.

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