Fully Informed Jury Association

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Jury Nullification | 12 Jun 2015

-Nathan Goodman to Serve as FIJA Fellow

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Nathan_GoodmanHello, FIJA supporters! My name is Nathan Goodman, and I will be joining the Fully Informed Jury Association this summer as a Fellow, conducting research for FIJA’s new Jury Health Project. I’ll be studying various issues related to the right to trial by jury as they vary across the federal, state, and Washington, DC court systems.

The long-term goal of the Jury Health Project is to evaluate the health of the jury system across the United States and produce a Jury Health Index ranking the courts by how well (or poorly) they’re upholding the right to trial by jury. However, this project encompasses many issues, so in the coming weeks and months we’ll be releasing papers and other educational materials on these specific issues, which will eventually culminate in the Jury Health Index.

I recently received my bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Utah. In addition, I have written extensively for the Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS), where I am the Lysander Spooner Research Scholar in Abolitionist Studies. My writing and research at C4SS largely focuses on the criminal justice system. For the past year, I have also been involved with Students For Liberty (SFL), where I have written for the SFL blog and helped organize student events, including an event in Salt Lake City on courthouse outreach and juror education for last year’s Jury Rights Day as well as co-hosting a presentation with FIJA regarding the use of jury nullification to end the prison state in Utah. I’ve also been involved in various forms of civil liberties activism in Utah for years.

I look forward to bringing the analytical skills I developed in my formal studies, my passion for liberty, and my experience writing about the criminal justice system together in order to study and protect the right to trial by jury.

Last month, I met with FIJA executive director Kirsten Tynan and with attorney and FIJA Advisory Board member Dr. Roger Roots to prepare for my summer fellowship at FIJA. We did research at the University of Utah’s SJ Quinney Law Library in order to find sources on the various questions I’ll be investigating this summer. We also developed some concrete plans for getting a steady writing and research output going in relation to the Jury Health Project.

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Last week I attended the opening seminar of the Koch Fellow Program, a program of the Charles Koch Institute which is funding my work at FIJA this summer. The seminar largely consists of engaging lectures on philosophy, economics, American history, constitutional law, and public policy analysis, along with sessions for developing professional skills. The intellectual atmosphere at the seminar has been electric, with discussion sessions featuring lively debates among fellows from a diverse range of non-profit organizations.

Now that the opening seminar is concluding, I will start diving into my research and writing responsibilities for FIJA. There’s some exciting stuff in the works at FIJA, and I look forward to sharing that with all of you in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for updates in the weeks ahead!

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