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Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 20 Jan 2012

Freedom Friday: Be a Martin Luther King Juror


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

This week’s Freedom Friday video asks us all to be Martin Luther King jurors and refuse to enforce unjust laws. 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 a juror to defend peaceful people against unjust laws.

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