Stealth_JurorStealth Juror
by Trent Hammerstein
Paladin Press, 2002, Pb 109 pages
ISBN 1-58160-338-X

Reviewed by Don Doig

At once thoughtful and angry, this is a well-done exposition of the rights and responsibilities of jurors in the context of the struggle over the question of jury nullification, written by an intelligent layman.

A stealth juror, the author says, is a bit different from a fully informed juror: “You see, the people running the U.S. court system have set up an entire radar net to detect fully informed jurors and block them from getting on any meaningful jury. If you are a fully informed juror and let them know it, you will most likely be booted out early in the selection process.” In light of recent court cases such as U.S. v. Thomas, this is an important distinction.

Stealth Juror includes a brief history of trial by jury and jury veto power, and discusses in practical terms the risks and rewards of being a stealth juror, including the case of Laura Kriho. Hammerstein discusses the process of voir dire from the standpoint of the stealth juror, what to expect during trial, ethical consideration in the use of jury nullification, and offers advice on how to conduct yourself in the jury room during deliberations.

Jury nullification is clearly a power that our forefathers handed down to us: our conscientious and responsible use of this power is necessary to hold our government to the Constitution. While this is a book full of advice to be used judiciously, it is certainly worth reading. Hammerstein conceived of the need for this book before he had even heard of FIJA.