On September 5, we celebrate Jury Rights Day. On this day in 1670, Quaker William Penn of London was arrested, pled not guilty, and subsequently argued against England’s Conventicle Acts, which outlawed the practice of religions other than the Church of England.
The judge instructed the jurors to find Penn guilty. The jurors’ refusal to enforce a bad law led to the court jailing and withholding food and water from the jurors.
Some of the jurors appealed their fines and imprisonment. The higher court confirmed the right of the jurors to base their verdict on their best judgment and conscience. Even though there was a law against freedom of religion, the high court held that juries could not be required to enforce any law they thought was wrong.
This higher court ruling established that jurors cannot be punished for their verdict. It also set a foundation for our rights of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly.
This ruling established protection for the jury, and firmly established the right of the jurors to refuse to accept bad government laws. This refusal of bad laws is called jury nullification or jury veto. Through jury nullification, people can control their government by refusing to allow bad laws to be enforced.
These underlying common law concepts firmly establish the fact that Jurors cannot be punished for their verdict. As well, jurors are not required to give a reason for the verdict they render. The fundamental right of Jurors to render their verdict based on conscience is basic to the preservation of Justice, in a free society.
William Penn later came to Colonial America and founded Pennsylvania. Jurors continue to have the authority to nullify bad laws. This authority is our peaceful protection to stop corrupt government servants from violating our rights.
Help Provide Jury Rights Day Materials
Help FIJA provide Jury Rights Day materials to groups and individuals hosting Jury Rights Day events around the country. Each Jury Rights Day kit provided will contain 100 Jury Rights Day postcards, printed with FIJA’s message on one side and blank on the other, plus 2 100-packs of brochures, chosen by the event hosts. The postcards are suitable for mailing or handing out at events. The blank side can be used by the event host to add a custom message. Additional items may also be included depending on the size and nature of the event. We will assemble and ship these kits to as many event hosts as possible at no charge to them. You can sponsor a Jury Rights Day kit for $75, by donating below.
Request Jury Rights Day Materials
If you commit to hosting a Jury Rights Day event and need materials, we may be able to help you. Each year we are able to provide a limited amount of materials to individuals and groups who are hosting Jury Rights Day events on or near Jury Rights Day. These materials are for Jury Rights Day events only, and are not just for general use. Therefore, we ask that those who are requesting them provide us details of the event they will be hosting and also commit to providing us with a brief event report within two weeks after the event.
To request complementary materials for your Jury Rights Day event, please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
-Your name and phone number (so we can contact you if we need more information)
-Address to which you would like the materials sent
-Name of group(s) hosting the event (if hosted by a group)
-Date and time of the event
-Specific location/address of the event (not just a city and state)
-Description of the event and what activities will be conducted
-Link to the Facebook event page for the event, if there is one
We will not ship complementary materials until we have your event listed on the calendar.
By requesting materials, you agree that you will provide, within two weeks after the event:
-a short thank you note to FIJA donors for providing Jury Rights Day materials,
-a written event report consisting of 6-8 sentences reporting on the event, and
-at least 3 digital photos showing the FIJA materials you received being used (not just generic event photos, but photos specifically illustrating how the FIJA materials were used).
Video is not required, but we would appreciate links to any online videos of your event. These help us continue to promote Jury Rights Day and its message after the event, publicize your local efforts and give you public credit for your hard work, inspire other activists in future years, and thank donors for making this possible with their support. We will be keeping track that everyone fulfills this agreement as a condition of receiving materials again for future events.
Upon receiving your request, we will discuss with you the size and type of the event and put together a package of materials based on that discussion including Jury Rights Day postcards, FIJA brochures, and possibly other materials if called for.
Special note for The Human Solution chapters:
If you are a chapter of The Human Solution requesting materials, please make a note of this in your request. To help save on shipping costs, FIJA has agreed to include THS/FIJA postcards in our Jury Rights Day flat rate shipments rather than having THS pay extra to ship them separately. We will verify with THS national leadership that you are an official chapter and include additional materials.
Deadline for your request:
We must receive your request on or before Wednesday, 27 August 2014, or one week before the scheduled start date of your event, whichever is earlier. All shipments will be sent by priority mail, no later than Friday, 29 August, to ensure delivery in time for Jury Rights Day. (Keep in mind that Monday, 1 September is a federal holiday.)
What you can do
We encourage everyone to do one or more of the following simple things to celebrate Jury Rights Day:
-Gather a group of friends and hand out some brochures (order here or print your own).
-Call in to or be a guest on talk radio shows.
-Write letters to the editor (download boilerplates you can adapt).
-Speak at schools or to civic groups.
-Add a Jury Rights Day graphic to your website and link to FIJA.
-Follow @FIJA_AJI on Twitter and use hashtag #JuryRightsDay to promote Jury Rights Day before September 5 and to inform people about jurors’ rights on September 5.
-Post a Jury Rights Day status on your Facebook page and link to FIJA.
-Kick off a Challenge for Churches series at your church.
-Borrow a FIJA banner to display in your community.
-Carry a FIJA banner in your local Labor Day parade and distribute literature along the route. This is a great way to get the word out to many people in just one day.
You can also send out Jury Rights Day postcards from out Media Catalog. (4.25″ X 5.5″, assorted colors, glossy finish)
Front contains Jury Rights Day logo, website, toll-free number, and the following text:
FIJA Activists Inform potential jurors of their traditional, legal authority to refuse to enforce corrupt laws; Inform potential jurors that they cannot be required to check their conscience at the courthouse door; Inform potential jurors that they cannot be punished for their verdict; Inform everyone to protect human rights against government tyranny. That is FIJA’s message.
The back side of each card is blank so you can address and stamp them to mail to people or you can print your local organization’s information on the back to hand out at events. These cards are great for announcing Jury Rights Day events. The date is marked on the cards with no year specified. Since Jury Rights Day is on September 5th each year, if you have cards leftover this year, you can still put them to use next year.
Generally make the news known that jurors can and must vote their conscience!
Contact the FIJA National office for literature, press release boilerplates, proclamation boilerplates which we encourage mayors and governors to sign, and other materials. Please also feel free to e-mail us with a summary of your Jury Rights Day plans if you would like us to help publicize them through our website and social networks. Also, use the state news section of the forums for coordination and announcements!
Finally, we encourage you to get in touch with us after Jury Rights Day to let us report back on your events. Let us know what you do and what happens so we can publish the news in the newsletter and on our website.
Here are a couple of videos showing how others have participated in Jury Rights Day:
Other posts related to Jury Rights Day:
- -Jury Rights Day: Jury Nullification Outreach in Fairbanks, Alaska
- -Jury Rights Day: Jury Nullification Outreach in Camden, New Jersey
- -7 Films for Jury Rights Day
- -Jury Rights Day: Jury Nullification Outreach in Asheville, North Carolina
- -Jury Nullification Keeps Government in Check
- -When Jurors Judge the Law
- -Online Volunteer Training for Courthouse Outreach
- -FIJA Educates about Jury Nullification on Jury Rights Day
- -Tehama County Man Touts Jury Rights Day
- -Frank Turney and Joshua Bennett Talk Jury Nullification on Patriots’ Lament
- -A Jury Rights Day Message from FIJA National
- -Jury Nullification Outreach at the Ravalli County Fair
- -New Hampshire Governor Proclaims September 5 Jury Appreciation Day
- -FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Activists Across the Nation Celebrate Jury Rights Day on September 5
- -A Jury’s Secret Power – Jury Nullification