Fully Informed Jury Association

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Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 17 Jan 2011

You Can Be a Martin Luther King Juror

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One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?”
The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust.
I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws.
One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws.
Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.
I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

-Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, 16 April 1963

Because an unjust law is no law at all, you have the right and responsibility when serving on a jury to refuse to convict a defendant accused to violating an unjust law. Paul Butler, law professor at George Washington University and author of Let’s Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice, explains how you can exercise your vote as what he calls “a Martin Luther King juror.”

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