Fully Informed Jury Association

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Media Releases | 07 Mar 2013

– Murder-by-Drone of Americans Subverts Constitutional and Human Rights


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March 7, 2013

Murder–by-Drone of Americans Subverts
Constitutional and Human Rights

CONTACT: (406) 442-7800; aji@fija.org

Helena, MT—Kentucky Senator Rand Paul wrapped up a nearly 13-hour long filibuster very early this morning, in which he demanded answers from the Obama administration regarding its position on extrajudicial use of drones to kill American citizens on American soil. Though challenged repeatedly about the legality of killing citizens in violation their Constitutionally-guaranteed rights to due process and trial by jury, the Obama administration has thus far shown only disdain for Americans’ Constitutional and human rights.

The administration’s official response so far, delivered in a March 4, 2013 letter from Attorney General Eric Holder to Senator Paul, has been abhorrent. Attorney General Holder wrote, “It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States.” Holder invoked December 7, 1941 and September 11, 2001 as examples when an administration might decide to use such power.

This is an appalling misrepresentation of the protections for due process and trial by jury guaranteed in the Constitution, and hearkens back to the days in which English citizens in the American colonies listed their grievances against King George. The United States’ own Declaration of Independence lists “For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury” and “Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies” among the reasons why its signatories declared independence. To ensure such injustice would not occur in the United States, founders explicitly documented the rights to due process and trial by jury not only in the body of the Constitution, but in three of the first ten amendments to it, which comprise the Bill of Rights.

“In its insistence on longer sentences for those who demand their right to trial by jury, the government is already demonizing trial by jury. Killing people with drones is denying them of the right to trial by jury entirely,” said FIJA Director Iloilo Jones. “Any action by government that denies us of the protection of a trial before our peers is tyranny. Death without due process is not only murder, but is a declaration of war against peaceful and innocent people. We are all innocent until proven guilty before a jury of our peers. Without the protection of the jury, we are once again at the whim of government, and our lives, liberty, and property are all subject to the personal whim of some politician or bureaucrat.”

Independent juries take the people’s fate out of the hands of government. The primary purpose of the jury is to protect individuals from tyrannical abuses of power by government. Jurors can protect their neighbors, and themselves in the process, by insisting that government rigorously prove a defendant is guilty before he is punished and by refusing to enforce unjust or unjustly applied laws.

“If Mr. Holder wants to call up the specter of World War II, we would do well also to remember that government used that same war as a shameful excuse to imprison unjustly over 100,000 Japanese-Americans without charge, trial, or any recourse whatsoever,” said FIJA National Coordinator Kirsten Tynan. “The attacks of September 11 have similarly been invoked in justifying abusive government actions taken against Muslim-Americans and others. The disturbing difference here is that, instead of stopping at abusing or imprisoning people, this administration has for the first time put the outright killing of innocent people without any accountability on the table. It is a ‘permanent solution’, once used in Nazi Germany, from which victims or their families can never be restored to any degree.”

About the Fully Informed Jury Association
The Fully Informed Jury Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit association dedicated to educating the general public about their full rights, powers, and responsibilities in delivering just verdicts as trial jurors. The organization publishes and distributes educational literature and maintains a web site at FIJA.org to inform the general public of their Constitutional authority to protect human rights by refusing to enforce bad laws. FIJA encourages all jurors to consult their consciences when deliberating over a case, and to refuse to enforce any law that violates the human rights of the defendant.

Contact Information:
Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA)
(406) 442-7800
P.O. Box 5570
Helena, MT 59604-5570