Fully Informed Jury Association

Are you fully informed about jury nullification?

Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 15 Oct 2014

-Bucks County Wanted Jury Nullification Educators Arrested, Cops Refused

Share

Chris Daley threatens jury nullification educators with arrest

Bucks County official Chris Daley threatens jury nullification educators with arrest.

Thanks to reporter James McGinnis of the Bucks County Courier Times for coverage of local jury nullification educators’ most recent experience in which Bucks County Courthouse official Chris Daley attempted to have them arrested for exercising their First Amendment-protected rights on the public sidewalk adjacent to the courthouse. The public sidewalk has long been held by the Supreme Court to be a public forum for First Amendment activity, and apparently the Central Bucks Regional Police, who Daley called to arrest these educators, recognizes that a county policy manual cannot override the Constitution. (Be sure to check out the article today, as I understand it goes behind a paywall starting tomorrow.)

Bucks County wanted activists arrested, but cops refused

As documented in the five-minute video, Central Bucks Regional Police Sgt. Lance Carlen arrived on the scene to investigate county allegations of “criminal trespass” on public property.
In the video, Carlen shakes hands with Babb and Rumbold. He questions them briefly but refuses to arrest the pair.

It was the right call, Central Bucks Police Chief James Donnelly said Tuesday.

“Clearly, the public sidewalk is public property,” Donnelly told the newspaper. “County policy does not trump the U.S. Constitution.”

The newspaper contacted Daley seeking comment on the incident. Daley said he would only speak to media after consulting with the county’s public information office. Reached later that afternoon, Chris Edwards, county spokesman, said Daley would not be available to speak with the press.

A small correction is warranted regarding this statement in the article:

Babb and Rumbold are members of the group Fully Informed Jury Association, which argues for the increased power of juries. The group’s members argue that juries should be able to dismiss charges for “victimless crimes” such as drug use.

FIJA educates everyone that jurors ALREADY are able to nullify charges by voting Not Guilty whenever a just verdict requires it, even if the law has technically been broken. Such situations include when jurors believe the law is unjust or unjustly applied, if the penalty for the offense is unjustly severe, or if there are other mitigating circumstances that would make strictly enforcing the law unjust in the case at hand. Jurors in every single courtroom in the United States can do this RIGHT NOW, with the power they already have. Jurors need be granted no new power to do this.

We encourage all FIJA activists to learn and understand the strategy here. When public officials try to put us at a disadvantage by attempting to get us out of sight of the courthouse entrance, that is an opportunity we can turn into an advantage that will help us spread FIJA’s message even further. You can reach a certain number of people by handing out brochures, but you can reach FAR MORE people when your outreach gets local media coverage and is reported in publications that circulate to thousands or more people. Further, the more times and ways people encounter the issue, the more their curiosity is piqued to learn about it and the more their confidence grows in using the information it should they ever have the opportunity to do so.

Most importantly, FIJA activists should understand that they can assert their right to do this work without getting arrested. FIJA’s strategy and policy are to exercise peaceful forbearance and avoid getting arrested, as being arrested is not helpful to, and can be detrimental to, effective juror education. Government officials who want to get rid of us would like nothing more than to tarnish our message by putting a negative image of the messengers into the minds of the general public. Getting arrested is not only not necessary, but it plays into the pre-written script that government officials know very well how to leverage for their own purposes. On the other hand, challenging their unlawful orders through the public media, or civil, legal processes if necessary, are much harder for them to manipulate to their own ends.

Share

Jury Nullification & Volunteer | 14 Oct 2014

-Volunteer Educators Will Offer FIJA Literature On Jury Nullification Near Bucks County Courthouse

Share

FIJA Logo with URL14 October 2014

Volunteer Educators Will Offer
FIJA Literature On Jury Nullification
Near Bucks County Courthouse

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (610) 574-1222; jamesbabb@mac.com

Doylestown, PA—On October 21 at 7:30 am, juror rights educators will peacefully exercise their First Amendment-protected rights in support of the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Amendments. They will share free jury nullification information from the Fully Informed Jury Association on the public sidewalk adjacent to Bucks County Courthouse in Doylestown, PA. This day of outreach follows successful outreach on October 6, when local police declined to make the volunteers leave, despite repeated harassment from courthouse employees.

“Pennsylvania has a strong legacy of free speech activism, beginning with its founder,” says juror rights educator James Babb. “In 1670, when William Penn was charged with illegally addressing a group of Quakers, the jury refused to convict him. Despite considerable pressure from the judge, the jury understood their right to vote their conscience and nullify an unjust law. 344 years later, jurors still retain this right, and some judges still don’t like it,” Babb said.

When volunteers kicked off the campaign in July, officials sought to make them leave, citing anti-solicitation rules. Since they were merely offering free jury nullification brochures to passersby, however, the volunteers were not soliciting. Upon explaining this to the official trying to send them away, the volunteers were left to continue their work that day.

Educators again hosted outreach in September as part of FIJA’s annual Jury Rights Day celebration. This time an official threatened them with arrest if they didn’t leave, suggesting they would be charged with disorderly conduct for peacefully offering free jury nullification literature to passersby. Not wishing to be arrested, volunteers exercised peaceful forbearance and left, with the intention of returning after investigating the legality of this verbal order.

“Such behavior by public employees is particularly disappointing in Pennsylvania,” said Kirsten Tynan, executive director of the Fully Informed Jury Association. “Jury Rights Day commemorates jurors’ refusal to convict William Penn for publicly preaching against the order of the king. Penn’s case firmly established in English common law, not only jurors’ right to conscientiously acquit by jury nullification, but also freedoms of religion, speech, and assembly that would later be enumerated in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Pennsylvania employees dishonor their history when they attempt to undermine the very same rights that William Penn stood firmly in defense of throughout his life,” Tynan said.

On October 3, volunteers returned to the courthouse, this time having researched the legal basis officials claimed for violating their rights. Volunteers received a page of an unidentified Security manual that relegated petitioning and protesting to a “free speech zone” in a remote corner of the courthouse campus. As they were engaging in neither activity, juror educators again chose to work on the public sidewalk where they had been before. Bucks County Security Division director Chris Daley aggressively harassed them, incorrectly accusing them of petitioning, demanding they not record him in the course of his tax-paid, official capacity, and subsequently calling local police.

“Never in a million years would I have thought I would have been detained and investigated for ‘trespassing’ on a public sidewalk for the peaceful act of handing out juror rights flyers to those who wished to take them,” said juror rights educator Andrew Rumbold.

Fortunately, Sgt. Lance Carlen of the Central Bucks Regional Police Department checked into the matter before going so far as to forcefully remove volunteers who, he later acknowledged, were acting lawfully. He determined from Chief Deputy District Attorney Matt Weintraub that they were free to do what they were doing in their selected location.

In hopes of finally being allowed to conduct educational outreach without being bullied now that they have video documentation that courthouse officials have been instructed they are allowed to be there, juror educators will hold another day of outreach on October 21. They hope to make significant progress in educating everyone throughout Bucks County that:
• Jurors cannot be punished for their verdicts.
• Jurors have the right to deliver a general verdict and are not required to explain the reason for their verdict.
• Jurors have the legal authority and the ethical duty to consult their consciences and to render a just verdict, even if it requires setting aside the law to do so.

About the Fully Informed Jury Association
FIJA is a non-profit, educational organization dedicated to informing the public about their rights and responsibilities as jurors in delivering just verdicts. The organization publishes and distributes educational literature, organizes and assists volunteers in local outreach, offers educational programs, and maintains a web site at FIJA.org to inform the general public of their traditional, legal 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 human rights.

Additional Information:
-FIJA’s Fresh Air for Justice Brochure
-FIJA’s True or False Brochure

-Know Your Rights: Demonstrations and Protests from the ACLU

May I distribute leaflets and other literature on public sidewalks without a permit?

Yes. You may approach pedestrians on public sidewalks with leaflets, newspapers, petitions, and solicitations for donations without a permit. These types of free speech activities are legal as long as entrances to buildings are not blocked and passers-by are not physically and maliciously detained. However, a permit may be required to set up tables or other physical structures.

Share

Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 14 Oct 2014

-Supreme Court Turns Blind Eye to Judges Usurping Jury Rights

Share

GavelIconWhile many people disagree (incorrectly) on the jury’s right to judge the law as well as the facts, it is supposed to be well-settled that the jury is, indeed, the fact-finder in all trials by jury. Unfortunately, the power vortex that is government has not been satisfied merely to deny the jury’s function in standing as a bulwark against unjust laws by refusing to enforce them, but in recent years it has more and more usurped the jury’s role as the finders of fact in the courtroom.

Oftentimes we hear from jurors here in the FIJA office who are appalled to learn once a trial is over that they convicted someone without knowing the whole story because relevant evidence had been pre-filtered out by the judge. They want to know how they can retract their Guilty vote after the fact, and I have to explain to them how very little power they have now that they’ve played into the hands of a far from impartial referee fixing the game in favor of conviction. The best they can do is to beg a biased judge for leniency on behalf of the defendant or perhaps shame the judge publicly into leniency, neither of which can force the judge to do the right thing and often which are ignored.

But it’s one thing for corrupt to courts at least to feel they have to hide their power grab under the guise of trying to ensure a fair trial. It is another thing entirely when they openly and blatantly ignore jury rights and jury verdicts, go home for dinner without giving it a second thought, and have no problem looking themselves in the mirror the next morning. The fact that they don’t even feel like they have to justify or conceal their power grab is a flashing red indicator of a more heightened level of corruption and lack of conscience because it shows they either have no moral qualms about what they are doing, or they feel so protected that they need not conceal their unconscionable abuses of their positions.

One such abusive loophole they are not only exploiting, but have apparently invented out of whole cloth, is called sentencing on acquitted conduct. Here’s how it works:
1. The jury acquits a defendant of some charges, but convicts on one or more others.
2. The judge unilaterally decides, that despite an outright jury acquittal on one or more of the acquitted charges, he or she believes the defendant to be guilty of them.
3. The judge unilaterally “enhances” the defendant’s sentence for convicted charges based on his or her belief that the defendant was actually guilty of one or more of the acquitted charges.

This month the Supreme Court had a chance to consider reining in such corrupt and abusive judges, but it instead made a horrifying move this morning in denying certiorari in the case of Joseph Jones, Desmond Thurston, and Antwaun Ball v. United States. (We’ve previously discussed Antwuan Ball’s case in particular here and here.)

To their credit, Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Ginsburg were in dissent. This is especially excruciating, however, given that a single additional Supreme Court justice on their side would have allowed this case to be heard. One. Just one more person had to do the right thing.

Their dissent reads:

A jury convicted petitioners Joseph Jones, Desmond Thurston, and Antwuan Ball of distributing very small amounts of crack cocaine, and acquitted them of conspiring to distribute drugs. The sentencing judge, however, found that they had engaged in the charged conspiracy and, relying largely on that finding, imposed sentences that petitioners say were many times longer than those the Guidelines would otherwise have recommended.

Petitioners present a strong case that, but for the judge’s finding of fact, their sentences would have been “substantively unreasonable” and therefore illegal. See Rita v. United States, 551 U. S. 338, 372 (2007) (SCALIA, J., joined by THOMAS, J., concurring in part and concurring in judgment). If so, their constitutional rights were violated. The Sixth Amendment, together with the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, “requires that each element of a crime” be either admitted by the defendant, or “proved to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt.” Alleyne v. United States, 570 U. S. ___, ___ (2013) (slip op., at 3). Any fact that increases the penalty to which a defendant is exposed constitutes an element of a crime, Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U. S. 466, 483, n. 10, 490 (2000), and “must be found by a jury, not a judge,” Cunningham v. California, 549 U. S. 270, 281 (2007).* We have held that a substantively unreasonable penalty is illegal and must be set aside. Gall v. United States, 552 U. S. 38, 51 (2007). It unavoidably follows that any fact necessary to prevent a sentence from being substantively unreasonable—thereby exposing the defendant to the longer sentence—is an element that must be either admitted by the defendant or found by the jury. It may not be found by a judge.

For years, however, we have refrained from saying so. In Rita v. United States, we dismissed the possibility of Sixth Amendment violations resulting from substantive reasonableness review as hypothetical and not presented by the facts of the case. We thus left for another day the question whether the Sixth Amendment is violated when courts impose sentences that, but for a judge-found fact, would be reversed for substantive unreasonableness. 551 U. S., at 353; see also id., at 366 (Stevens, J., joined in part by GINSBURG, J., concurring) (“Such a hypothetical case should be decided if and when it arises”). Nonetheless, the Courts of Appeals have uniformly taken our continuing silence to suggest that the Constitution does permit otherwise unreasonable sentences supported by judicial factfinding, so long as they are within the statutory range. See, e.g., United States v. Benkahla, 530 F. 3d 300, 312 (CA4 2008); United States v. Hernandez, 633 F. 3d 370, 374 (CA5 2011); United States v. Ashqar, 582 F. 3d 819, 824–825 (CA7 2009); United States v. Tread- well, 593 F. 3d 990, 1017–1018 (CA9 2010); United States v. Redcorn, 528 F. 3d 727, 745–746 (CA10 2008).

This has gone on long enough. The present petition presents the nonhypothetical case the Court claimed to have been waiting for. And it is a particularly appealing case, because not only did no jury convict these defendants of the offense the sentencing judge thought them guilty of, but a jury acquitted them of that offense. Petitioners were convicted of distributing drugs, but acquitted of conspiring to distribute drugs. The sentencing judge found that petitioners had engaged in the conspiracy of which the jury acquitted them. The Guidelines, petitioners claim, recommend sentences of between 27 and 71 months for their distribution convictions. But in light of the conspiracy finding, the court calculated much higher Guidelines ranges, and sentenced Jones, Thurston, and Ball to 180, 194, and 225 months’ imprisonment.

On petitioners’ appeal, the D. C. Circuit held that even if their sentences would have been substantively unreasonable but for judge-found facts, their Sixth Amendment rights were not violated. 744 F. 3d 1362, 1369 (2014). We should grant certiorari to put an end to the unbroken string of cases disregarding the Sixth Amendment—or to eliminate the Sixth Amendment difficulty by acknowledging that all sentences below the statutory maximum are substantively reasonable.

Professor Douglas Berman, who submitted an Amicus brief in this case, expresses his disappointment here:
Three Justices dissent from denial of certiorari in Jones/Ball acquitted conduct case

Given that we now have no idea how long the Supreme Court will continue to ignore this blatant disregard for compliance with the Sixth Amendment—a surefire guarantee that it will continue and expand—it is time to redouble our efforts to educate everyone about the jury’s right of conscientious acquittal. Antwuan Ball was convicted of one single charge of a victimless drug transaction. For many people, simply understanding jury nullification would have been enough for them to refuse to convict on that charge as well. But even for those who think that victimless drug offenses or other victimless offenses deserve some punishment, it is imperative that we fully inform them about the door they are opening for egregiously harsh sentencing on acquitted conduct when they convict on such charges.

Share

Jury Nullification & Volunteer | 10 Oct 2014

-Jury Rights Educators Stand Firm at Pennsylvania Courthouse

Share

GavelIconA big congratulations to volunteer juror educators James Babb and Andrew Rumbold for successfully asserting their First Amendment right to express themselves in support of the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Amendments.

Repeatedly over the course of some months now, Bucks County Courthouse officials have attempted to bully juror educators who have been handing out Fully Informed Jury Association brochures to passersby in a general educational outreach effort to fully inform everyone of jurors’ full authority to judge the law as well as the facts in a case before them. On one occasion, officials tried to use anti-solicitation rules to get rid of them. Unfortunately for the bullies, handing someone a piece of FIJA literature for free is not “solicitation”. On another occasion, they were said to be “trespassing”. In this instance, county Security department head Chris Daley tries to relegate them to a “free speech zone” in a distant corner of the courthouse campus far from traffic coming and going from the main entrance. However, these educators had already gotten a copy of the county Security policy on the free speech zone, and it only applies to petitioning and protesting. Moreover, it is not clear that the public sidewalk, a public right-of-way within the town of Doylestown, is even county property to which the county Security manual would be applicable, or whether or not county bureaucrats can simply invent new rules in contradiction to Supreme Court precedent that clearly identifies public sidewalks as a traditional forum for First Amendment activity of this type. Check out this video for a nice lesson in how to assert your rights as a jury educator without being arrested:

FIJA’s outreach strategy is that if courthouse officials or others try to impose unacceptable limits that impede our educational work, we do NOT try to get arrested. An arrest is not helpful to spreading FIJA’s message, but rather plays into the script pre-written by the government to try and discredit jurors’ right of conscientious acquittal by associating it with law-breaking in the eyes of the general public. So our strategy is NOT to get arrested, but rather to pursue other channels besides criminal court that are more advantageous for challenging unlawful orders, such as making these unlawful commands very publicly visible.

As juror educators, we seek to do three things:
1. Inform as many people as possible of the information about which jurors are not informed or are outright misinformed in court.
2. Pique their curiosity and encourage them to learn more about it than we can tell them in a 1-2 minute interaction.
3. Persuade them that jury nullification is a valid option, if one day they serve as a juror in a case where they are guided by their conscience that Not Guilty is a just verdict, even if the law has technically been broken.

When courthouse officials try to chase us away, they have made a huge mistake that we can use in support of our goals. By exercising peaceful forbearance in not getting arrested while still working through other channels, we can both assert our First Amendment right to do this educational work AND amplify the signal and spread our message much further by engaging the media in our story. This story is a perfect case in point:
Jury Rights Activists Refuse To Back Down

If you are conducting courthouse outreach and are getting pushback from local government officials or those hired by them to do security work, please feel free to get in touch with us in the FIJA National office at 406-442-7800 or aji@fija.org. We do not have lawyers on staff, nor do we give legal advice. However, we can share with you our observations of how to turn officials’ efforts to impede your work into an advantage that will help you spread the message further.

Share

Function of Juries & Sixth Amendment | 08 Oct 2014

-Memo to Mississippi and New York: Trial by Jury Is NOT Optional!

Share

Fence_of_Prison-BPOMuch public concern has been expressed over the increasingly broader indefinite detention provisions included in the National Defense Authorization Acts for Fiscal Years 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Nonetheless, indefinite detention is often considered a mostly hypothetical abuse, which is for now confined to far off places like Guantanamo and for non-U.S. citizens like the 149 remaining Guantanamo prisoners, 79 of whom are cleared for release. To some people, such abuses seem remote.

But in recent days, indefinite detention perpetrated by abusive state governments right here in the United States has come to prominence in public discourse. Consider the following news stories. The first documents the case of a 16-year-old high school student, who was jailed for nearly three years without trial, nearly 800 days of which he spent in the brutal environment of solitary confinement, and who was subsequently bullied by the judge to try and coerce a plea deal for time served. When he turned it down because he maintained his innocence, the case against him was dismissed.

Accused of Stealing a Backpack, High School Student Jailed for Nearly Three Years Without Trial

We look at the incredible story of how a 16-year-old high school sophomore from the Bronx ended up spending nearly three years locked up at the Rikers jail in New York City after he says he was falsely accused of stealing a backpack. Kalief Browder never pleaded guilty and was never convicted. Browder maintained his innocence and requested a trial, but was only offered plea deals while the trial was repeatedly delayed. Near the end of his time in jail, the judge offered to sentence him to time served if he entered a guilty plea, and warned him he could face 15 years in prison if he was convicted. But Browder still refused to accept the deal, and was only released when the case was dismissed. During this time, Browder spent nearly 800 days in solitary confinement, a juvenile imprisonment practice that the New York Department of Corrections has now banned.

The second story regards a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Mississippi, and the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center against Scott County Mississippi, which has been found to be holding people for as long as a year without legal counsel or being charged, let alone a trial by jury. Such detention disproportionately impacts lower income citizens who cannot afford bail and are therefore consigned to a cage, their life being destroyed in their absence, with no idea how long they will be punished without trial.
ACLU Sues Scott County on Behalf of Mississippians Jailed Indefinitely Without Lawyer or Indictment

The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Mississippi, and the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center filed a class action suit late yesterday against the Scott County (Mississippi) sheriff, district attorney, and judges after learning that the Scott County Detention Center has held people for as long as a year without appointing counsel and without indicting them. The county’s practices violate the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments’ rights to counsel, to a speedy trial, and to a fair bail hearing.

“This is indefinite detention, pure and simple. Scott County jail routinely holds people without giving them a lawyer and without formally charging them for months, with no end in sight. For those waiting for indictment, the county has created its own Constitution-free zone,” said Brandon Buskey, Staff Attorney at the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project. “These prisoners’ cases are frozen, their lives outside the jail are disintegrating, and they haven’t even been charged with a crime. The county has tossed these people into a legal black hole.”

In addition to the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which is incorporated to the states, Article I, Section 2 of the New York state constitution and Article III, Section 26 of the Mississippi state constitution guarantee the right to trial by jury. Additionally, the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, as well as Article I, Section 6 of the New York state constitution and Article III, Section 14 of the Mississippi state constitution purport to guarantee that no person shall “be deprived of life, liberty, or property” without due process of law. That supposed guarantee is made in almost exactly the same words in all three documents.

And lest one think that New York has some technical wiggle room under the notion that juveniles, one of the most vulnerable demographics, are not guaranteed trial by jury, please note that New York is one of two states who automatically treat teens as adults instead of juveniles upon reaching the age of 16.

Yet for some mysterious reason, governments in New York and Mississippi seem to be under the impression that following the highest laws of the land that were codified supposedly to protect us all from their abuses is optional. Does the memo need to be reissued to them that trial by jury is NOT OPTIONAL?

Share

Jury Nullification & Jury Rights Day | 02 Oct 2014

-Jury Rights Day: Jury Nullification Outreach in Fairbanks, Alaska

Share

JRD_brightblue_square_438x441Jury Rights Day was a big event again in Fairbanks, Alaska thanks to jury educator Maria Rensel and FIJA state contact Frank Turney organizing folks for jury nullification outreach. Maria reports on the day’s events:

We had a nice Jury Rights Day Celebration that was scheduled from 9 a.m to 1 p.m. but ended up lasting all day. We started out downtown at the Courthouse with Frank Turney (of course) and few others holding up a beautiful banner with the Statue of Liberty image on one end. But we were interview by our local television station and even though it wasn’t my best interview we got the word out and had a great time. At lunchtime we moved from the downtown area out to Airport Way to catch more traffic. Alex Ford held a hymnal in one hand and sang while I waved at traffic and helped him hold the banner up. Later we met back up with Frank on the Cushman Street Bridge. Alex sang again, Frank played the air guitar, much to the delight of the passing traffic while I passed out pamphlets and waved.

I’d like to try and make it bigger next year, but we had a wonderful time and shared the message of Liberty!

As has done regularly over the years, Frank Turney was kind enough to get a Jury Rights Day proclamation signed. This year’s was issued by Mayor Luke Hopkins of the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

Jury Rights Day 2014 Fairbanks Proclamation

Frank has also ordered up a copy of the television interview that we will share with you when it is available. In the meantime, check out these photos of juror educators in Fairbanks educating the community on Jury Rights Day. Many thanks to both Frank and Maria, and congratulations on another great Jury Rights Day!

SAMSUNG

SAMSUNG
SAMSUNG
SAMSUNG

Jury Rights Day in Fairbanks Alaska

Share

Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 02 Oct 2014

-Are the Feds Dialing Back Punishment for Trial by Jury?

Share

AG_851_Letter_MedFamilies Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) yesterday reported on a recent memo issued by outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder with regard to what is known as the “trial penalty”—the effective punishment of a defendant’s use of the Constitutionally guaranteed right to trial by jury, with prosecutors adding extra penalties for which the defendant is at risk if he or she turns down a plea bargain in favor of trial by jury.

AG Eric Holder: No More Super Mandatory Minimums to Punish Defendants Who Want a Trial

Attorney General Eric Holder has issued a memo prohibiting prosecutors from using the threat of enhanced mandatory minimum sentences solely to force criminal defendants to plead guilty in drug trafficking cases. These super-sized mandatory minimums, called “section 851 enhancements,” allow prosecutors to ensure a defendant’s mandatory minimum sentence is doubled or even increased to life in prison.

“FAMM applauds the Attorney General’s repudiation of this heavy-handed practice,” said FAMM General Counsel Mary Price in a statement. “The trial penalty is intolerable. This guidance to prosecutors makes it quite clear that massively enhanced drug mandatory minimums may not be invoked absent cause. While the practice of threatening defendants with the trial penalty to induce them to plead guilty should be abandoned altogether, this is a good start.”

The subset of the trial penalty in question in this memo is known as the section 851 enhancement. FAMM explains what the 851 enhancement is and how it is abused by prosecutors to coerce defendants to forego their right to trial by jury:

How the 851 enhancement works: If the prosecutor advises the court of its intention to “notice” a drug defendant’s prior convictions, the court must double the underlying mandatory minimum facing a defendant with one prior drug trafficking conviction. In some cases, if the defendant has two priors, the section 851 enhancement requires the court to impose a sentence of life in prison.

In short, the section 851 enhancement provides federal prosecutors complete discretion to seek, and requires judges to impose, life sentences for even non-violent drug offenders.

Prosecutors routinely used the section 851 threat to pressure defendants to plead guilty. If the defendant agrees to plead guilty, the government would not “notice” the priors and the defendant would serve the unenhanced mandatory minimum of five or ten years. If instead the defendant rejects the offer, goes to trial and is convicted, she suffers the “trial penalty,” and the section 851 enhancement transforms a sentence of five years into 10, a sentence of 10 years into 20, or even life without parole.

We know, of course, that a memo is far from a legally binding policy. Given that the memo explicitly acknowledges that the department has a long-standing policy that “[c]harges should not be filed simply to exert leverage to induce a plea” and yet it seems to be an acceptable practice so long as plausible deniability is maintained, one might question how effective another memo will be that merely restates a policy that seems to be ignored.

And, of course, Holder did not issue and enforce this memo in the culture of the Department of Justice years ago when he could have shepherded his prosecutors in proper implementation of it, but rather the memo is dated the day before he announced his resignation. If it is to be enforced, or even maintained in name only, that task will fall to some, as of yet unknown, successor who may or may not agree with it.

While perhaps there is a glimmer of encouragement to be taken from the fact that not undermining a person’s Constitutional rights by leveraging the threat of double the risk or more if they exercise them is now apparently a politically tenable position for a high-ranking government official to take—at least when he’s on his way out the door—the fact remains that this is cold comfort to those who have already been strong-armed into unjust plea deals and to those who may still be bullied by this or similar tactics in the future.

Ultimately, jurors have the final say in whether or not unaccountable prosecutors will continue to be allowed to leverage their power against peaceful people to coerce them to accept plea bargains rather than to take their cases before those who represent the conscience of the community. Jurors can rein in this abusive practice with just two words- Not Guilty. By refusing to convict people of victimless crimes, and otherwise refusing to aid and abet prosecutorial abuse by rubber stamping charges without understanding the full consequences of their verdicts, jurors can serve notice to prosecutors and judges that this kind of treatment of their neighbors under color of law but in direct opposition to justice will not be tolerated. In judiciously exercising the right of jury nullification, a single juror can immediately put a stop to an injustice. But beyond that, as a pattern of hung juries and acquittals becomes apparent over time, prosecutors are forced to determine at what point they have suffered enough embarrassing losses in the courtroom and eventually abandon the strategies and tactics that are undermining their credibility.

Share

Function of Juries | 01 Oct 2014

-Prosecutor Drops Case without Explanation After Opening Statements

Share

GavelIcon

After hounding a defendant for more than two years, federal prosecutors abandoned their case against a Georgia man just after the trial began.

Feds Drop Case After Opening Statements

For two years, criminal defense lawyer Jay Strongwater could not persuade federal prosecutors to drop felony drug and gun charges against his client.

But after Strongwater delivered his opening statement at the trial of client Carlos Alfredo Arevelo last week, prosecutors pulled him and his cocounsel aside to deliver a stunning message: they were dismissing the case.

The prosecutors offered no reason for their change of heart, and a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Sally Yates would not comment.

The 22-year-old defendant, Carlos Alfredo Arvelo, had been at his sister’s boyfriend’s apartment for less than a day after being kicked out of his mother’s house after a fight with her over skipping school exams when federal agents showed up at the apartment requesting entry. When Arvelo did allow them access, their search reportedly turned up guns and illegal drugs.

Although the defendant had been there for less than a day and had his own belongings still in his car, and although the apartment resident absolved Arvelo of connection to the seized items, prosecutors initially were holding a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence over the defendant. Arvelo’s attorney says that although they backed away from this before trial, they were still insisting that the defendant must spend at least two years in jail. Then, after putting the defendant through two years of state-sponsored terror and imposing the massive expense of mounting a defense for a jury trial, they bailed out after opening statements without explanation.

Veteran defense attorney Don Samuel of Atlanta’s Garland, Samuel & Loeb said that in 32 years of practicing law, “I’ve never seen a prosecutor drop a case after opening statements.”

“It’s conceivable they will drop a case if a witness starts falling apart or admits to something,” he said. “It’s not unusual for a prosecutor to dismiss a defendant halfway through its case when a witness didn’t come through, or a witness is missing. … But the opening statement had to be pretty damn powerful for the prosecution to have a lightbulb go off and say, ‘Wow. We really don’t have a case.’”

“The prosecutor either was not adequately prepared and didn’t understand the facts, or it was articulated in such a way that the prosecutors realized the holes in their case. … Maybe Jay did such a powerful opening, he opened their eyes to something they previously had not quite understood.”

However, if there were no new facts that surfaced during Strongwater’s opening statement, prosecutors “should have dismissed the case long ago,” Samuel said. “They should not have made the kid go through the agony of this and try to force a plea out of him.”

This case reflects the lengths to which power tripping government agents are free to go in tormenting peaceful people with malicious prosecutions and wasting massive amounts of taxpayers’ and defendants’ own personal funds pursuing meritless cases against peaceful people. There will be no consequences for government lawyers in this case. They are free to pull this kind of life-destroying stunt again and again on other victims, who themselves have no recourse against such abuse.

Jurors should understand that when a defendant appears before them in a criminal case, they have often gone to great expense and great personal risk to do so, while prosecutors themselves are funding the case out of other people’s pocketbooks and are themselves at no personal risk. They personally have little to lose by vindictively bullying defendants, even when their case is entirely without merit. That is one reason why well over 90% of criminal cases never even make an appearance before a jury. Prosecutors strong-arm defendants—even innocent people—into pleading guilty by offering them known sentences FAR less severe than what they risk in a jury trial in which prosecutors have piled on more and more charges contrived only for the purpose of making trial by jury much more hazardous for the defendant than a plea deal. You, as a juror, must match defendants’ courage in exercising their right to trial by jury with your own courage and persistence in protecting peaceful people with your Not Guilty vote when a just verdict requires it.

Share

Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 25 Sep 2014

-Montana Supreme Court Candidates Debate Jury Nullification

Share

GavelIconThis is shared for educational and informational purposes only; FIJA National does not endorse or oppose any political candidate or party.

Jury nullification made an appearance in a recent debate between candidates for the Montana Supreme Court. The Great Falls Tribune reported on the event.

Supreme Court candidates square off in Missoula

The four candidates vying for seats on the Montana Supreme Court met during a lively forum at the University of Montana School of Law.

Incumbent high court Justices Mike Wheat and Jim Rice were joined by challengers Lawrence VanDyke and W. David Herbert at the event co-sponsored by the conservative Federal Society and the progressive American Constitution Society.

The event prompted lively debate over issues ranging from outside spending in nonpartisan Supreme Court races, rights of criminals, the controversial Barry Beach case and jury nullification.

Herbert repeatedly advocated for jury nullification, which is the principle that juries have the right to rule against the law if the law is “unjust or unfair.”

“Not all laws are fair and just,” Herbert said.

Herbert said juries have a “right and a duty not to enforce an unjust law.”

Rice disagreed, stating that Herbert’s advocacy of nullification seeks to overturn the fundamentals of our system of government.

“That is subversion of democracy,” Rice said.

Missoula is a particularly interesting venue for someone to claim that jury nullification is a subversion of democracy. Recall that back in 2010, Missoula, Montana was home of what was reported nationwide as a “jury mutiny” in which jurors effectively nullified a pot prosecution when so many of them said during voir dire that they would not convict defendant Touray Cornell for possession of a tiny amount of marijuana that it became impossible for a jury even to be seated. Deputy Missoula County Attorney Andrew Paul prosecuted this case in spite of Missoula County Initiative #2 having been passed in 2006 by 55% of the voters of this county, to “make investigations, citations, arrests, property seizures, and prosecutions for adult marijuana offenses Missoula County’s lowest law enforcement priority”. In this case, it was not the jury who was subverting democracy, but rather the county attorney’s office in pursuing the prosecution. Jurors, in refusing to convict, were acting to uphold the citizens’ initiative, passed by direct vote of the people.

Moreover, after 4 1/2 years of supposedly prioritizing marijuana enforcement at the bottom of its law enforcement priorities, Missoula’s county attorney announced in 2011 that he would once again bump these victimless offenses up in priority level. This change in policy was made possible by legislation initiated at the Missoula county attorney’s request specifically to allow government to overrule Missoula County Initiative 2, in which citizens democratically informed their supposed representatives that they wished marijuana priority to be law enforcement’s lowest priority:

Minor pot crimes to be enforced again, Missoula County attorney says

Marijuana once again is a priority for law enforcement in Missoula County.

So says Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg, who issued a reminder Friday about a new law that takes effect Saturday.

“We’ll be prosecuting the misdemeanor marijuana cases that we have not been doing for the last 4 1/2 years,” he said.

Under the new law, sponsored by Republican Rep. Tom Berry of Roundup at Van Valkenburg’s request, “the power of initiative does not extend to the prioritization of the enforcement of any state law by a unit of local government.”

The law applies only to Missoula County, where in 2006, 55 percent of those voting approved Initiative 2 recommending that crimes related to marijuana be the lowest priority for law enforcement.

“Since no other community in Montana can adopt such an initiative and, I’m the person who sought the adoption of this law, it would be hypocritical on my part to continue to follow the lowest priority of enforcement policy in Missoula County,” Van Valkenburg’s announcement said.

The committee charged with oversight of the implementation of Initiative 2 disbanded thereafter in 2012 after issuing its final report for 2010 and 2011. In this report, the committee discussed the abject failure of the Initiative to be respected by government officials, and government’s successful efforts to subvert the democratically passed initiative:

During our several years of volunteer service, committee members regularly expressed disappointment that the initiative seemed to have no effect on reducing arrests of adults for marijuana in Missoula County.

With the exception of the County Attorney’s office, which only rarely handles misdemeanor marijuana cases, law enforcement officials declined to heed the voters’ recommendation as expressed in the initiative.

After failing to get out of committee in 2009, a new law (HB 391) was passed in 2011 which prevents Montana communities from enacting initiatives similar to Missoula County Initiative #2. The Missoula County Attorney testified in support of the bill in both sessions.

Jury nullification is a tool. It can be used in many ways, including to uphold the popular will of the people, and it should be used to do so when the popular will of the people is justice. This, of course, is not always the case, and when democracy leads government to violate human rights and perpetrate injustice, it is a proper function for independent jurors to check government abuses, no matter how popular, with their Not Guilty votes. But there is nothing inherently subversive of democracy about jury nullification. If we are truly concerned about the will of the people being subverted, we ought to focus our attention on the vastly more powerful government attorneys who prosecute criminal cases against the will of the people, and in essence, extrajudicially adjudicate them more than 90% of the time via plea bargains.

Share

Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 24 Sep 2014

-Jury Nullification Educator Called for Jury Duty on Date of His Own Trial

Share

Jury BoxWe’ve previously brought you news about the case of Luke Lamb, charged with felony unlawful communication with a juror over comments he made on his Facebook page, including providing a link to the FIJA website, to someone who requested information on jury nullification. The person who made the request happened to be a juror at the time.

-Jury Nullification Comments, Link to FIJA on Facebook Prompt Jury Tampering Charge
-Are Jury Tampering Charges in Lamb Case Politically Motivated?
-Lamb Seeks Dismissal of Felony Charge for Jury Nullification Posting on Facebook
-Jury Nullification Educator’s Case Continues

Lamb’s case is currently scheduled for 20 October, but now there is a new twist in this continuing saga—Lamb has been called for jury duty on the same day of this trial.

Greene County Politician Charged With Jury Tampering Called For Jury Duty

This week, the situation got even weirder: On Sunday, Lamb opened his mailbox to find a jury summons for October 20, the same day as his own trial for jury tampering.

Before you get all excited, there’s virtually no possibility that Lamb will be selected to sit on his own jury. According to Greene County Circuit Clerk Shirley Thornton, the fact that Lamb’s name was pulled is pure coincidence. She says the full list of possible jurors was sent from the administrative offices in Springfield to Greene County back in March, and Lamb’s name happened to wind up among 150 chosen for this particular trial date.

One thing we emphasize as we teach about jurors’ rights is that there is one person who is guaranteed not to be on the jury when you are on trial: YOU. So if you learn about jury nullification and never spread this information to anyone else, it is not going to do you any good. So far, though, this is about the closest I have seen any fully informed potential juror come to serving on his own jury.

Of course, it’s a given that he’s not going to be selected for his own jury, but it certainly adds yet another interesting twist to the already convoluted tale of this apparently malicious prosecution intended to shut him down in the midst of a political campaign. Lamb’s attorney explains:

“This entire case is absurd,” says Lamb’s attorney Patrick Watts. He’s ordered his client not to go on the record about the jury-tampering allegations.

While no law technically bars Lamb from campaigning, as his lawyer, Watts says he can’t allow Lamb speak publicly about his political beliefs, like alleged mismanagement of the Greene County Sheriff’s Office or the principle of jury nullification.

Watt doesn’t shy away from speculating that Greene County Sheriff McMillan is targeting Lamb for political retribution.

“The Sheriff is the one who led the investigation and wrote the reports,” he says. “What has the Sheriff done? He’s silenced his political opponent.”

“I would rather vote for Big Bird in the upcoming November election than a sheriff willing to seek imprisonment of his political opponent for expressing his public political ideas,” Watts adds. “Hopefully the citizens of Greene County take notice.”

More coverage of this story here:
From jury tampering to jury duty

Share

Jury Nullification | 18 Sep 2014

-Candidate Suggests Jury Nullification of SAFE Act

Share

IMG_1132cropThis is shared for educational and informational purposes only; FIJA National does not endorse or oppose any political candidate or party.

This Buffalo News report on candidate positions for New York’s 62nd State Senate District GOP primary shows that yet again jury nullification is making its way into mainstream news and political discourse. This time it is invoked with respect to New York’s SAFE Act, a law passed in 2013 that has been billed as the “toughest” gun control law in the United States and which created a vast array of new provisions criminalizing many administrative and other completely victimless violations.

Ortt and Arnold square off in 62nd District GOP Senate primary

While North Tonawanda Mayor Robert G. Ortt places himself in the Republican mainstream, his opponent in the 62nd State Senate District GOP primary, Gia M. Arnold, comes at things from a more libertarian point of view.

Ortt and Arnold both say they’d like to repeal the SAFE Act, the state’s controversial 2013 gun control law, but only Arnold recommended jury nullification – basically refusing to accept the law – as a means to make the law a dead letter.

Forbes magazine estimated that as many as a million new “criminals” were created with signing of the SAFE Act. These were not criminals in the truest sense of the word—people who have harmed other people or their property. Rather, these would be peaceful whose behavior the day before the Act took effect was perfectly legal or a lower level offense, and whose behavior the day after the it took effect was suddenly illegally or redefined as a more serious offense for which harsher punishment was prescribed. For example, Dwayne Ferguson, an adamant proponent of the Act, ran afoul of the provisions he advocated for and with which he would likely have been better acquainted than most people. He has since become entangled in the legal system for alleged offenses which harmed nobody.

Share

Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 18 Sep 2014

-Oregon’s Next Assignment: Learn About Jury Nullification

Share

marijuana jury nullification thumbnailRhea Graham of Albany’s Canna Kitchen & Research writes in to the Albany Democrat-Herald in Oregon about the legal red tape that comes along with so-called “legalization” schemes that involve taxing and regulating marijuana such as limits on the number of plants one may grow, where they may be located, and so on. Such schemes allow for plenty of opportunities for people trying to obey the law to be ensnared in the complex legal web created by the new “legalization” scheme and for government to continue to punish and imprison them. She gives readers an assignment to help remedy this problem.

Mailbag: Cannabis saves lives

Your next assignment is to learn about jury nullification. Jury nullification occurs when a jury acquits a defendant, even though they believe the defendant to be guilty. Members of the jury may disagree with the law the defendant has been charged with breaking, or believe that the law should not be applied in that particular case. Remember that!

Click through for her entire letter.

Share

Function of Juries & Jurors Doing Justice | 17 Sep 2014

-Jury Takes 4 Minutes to Acquit Man Who Spent 10 Months in Jail

Share

Jury BoxWatch the short video below to hear the story of Florida resident Ryan Wilson who was wrongly accused of being involved in a string of car and house fires. His jury took just four minutes to acquit him, but he had already been punished by being locked up for 10 months leading up to the trial. Wilson had apparently been charged and incarcerated on the word of his ex-girlfriend, who reportedly implicated him in the arsons in exchange for a $6000 reward. Prosecutors went forward with the case, even though her claims about how Wilson supposedly started the fires were reportedly inconsistent with the findings of the Fire Marshall who investigated the arson.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Before being arrested, he had been injured on the job and was receiving workman’s compensation while he was unable to work due to a shoulder injury for which he had surgery. One of Wilson’s attorneys reports that once incarcerated, Wilson was not allowed to get post-surgical rehabilitation for his shoulder and suffered great pain even from just putting on a coat. In addition to damaging effects on his health, Wilson had nearly a year of his life stolen from him, months of time to recover and seek employment wasted as he languished behind bars, his belongings put out on the street by his apartment complex, and he is now homeless.

The one thing that wasn’t taken from him is many more years of his life. This is the fail-safe purpose of the independent jury: to sit as independent judges of the case at hand, whose livelihoods and careers do not depend on convictions, and whose primary function is not to punish people, but rather to uphold justice. In a legal environment fraught with vindictive prosecutors willing to push any case forward no matter how flimsy, the jury stands as the last bulwark against such prosecutorial abuse.

Share

Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 17 Sep 2014

-Jurors Beware: State Crime Labs Incentivized to Help Falsely Convict

Share

Fence_of_Prison-BPOMany jurors are led to believe that evidence and results provided to them through state crime labs are objective data on which they can rely in determining the fate of the defendant. Earlier this year, we discussed the crime lab scandal at the Hinton Lab in Jamaica Plain in Massachusetts, in which a chemist who was socially wooed by prosecutors falsified lab results in favor of conviction for years, calling 40,000 convictions into question. Jurors should be aware that there are even stronger incentives for state crime labs across the country to help prosecutors secure convictions—their financial stability is tied to convictions. In this article Police State USA shares the results of a study by Roger Koppl and Meghan Sacks in the journal Criminal Justice Ethics.

State crime labs are incentivized to help produce false convictions

Like a puppy being rewarded for performing a trick, the government rewards crime labs for “verifying” that unknown substances are illegal narcotics; for finding a driver’s blood alcohol content to be over a certain arbitrary number; for determining that a package of drugs is over a certain arbitrary weight so a more draconian charge can be imposed.

The article takes this quote from the original study:

Funding crime labs through court-assessed fees creates another channel for bias to enter crime lab analyses. In jurisdictions with this practice the crime lab receives a sum of money for each conviction of a given type. Ray Wickenheiser says, ‘‘Collection of court costs is the only stable source of funding for the Acadiana Crime Lab. $10 is received for each guilty plea or verdict from each speeding ticket, and $50 from each DWI (Driving While Impaired) and drug offense.’’

In Broward County, Florida, ‘‘Monies deposited in the Trust Fund are principally court costs assessed upon conviction of driving or boating under the influence ($50) or selling, manufacturing, delivery, or possession of a controlled substance ($100).’’

Several state statutory schemes require defendants to pay crime laboratory fees upon conviction. North Carolina General Statutes require, ‘‘[f]or the services of’’ the state or local crime lab, that judges in criminal cases assess a $600 fee to be charged ‘‘upon conviction’’ and remitted to the law enforcement agency containing the lab whenever that lab ‘‘performed DNA analysis of the crime, tests of bodily fluids of the defendant for the presence of alcohol or controlled substances, or analysis of any controlled substance possessed by the defendant or the defendant’s agent.’’

Illinois crime labs receive fees upon convictions for sex offenses, controlled substance offenses, and those involving driving under the influence. Mississippi crime labs require crime laboratory fees for various conviction types, including arson, aiding suicide, and driving while intoxicated.

The study further lists Alabama, New Mexico, Kentucky, New Jersey, Virginia, Washington, Kansas, Arizona, California, Missouri, Tennessee, and Wisconsin as states that connect crime lab fees to convictions, providing a strong incentive for those state crime labs that wish to stay in business to produce results that lead to the convictions they need to earn the fees that are their lifeblood.

This perverse incentive system is reminiscent of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which provided that the commissioner who decided whether or not an alleged fugitive should be turned over to someone claiming to be his master “shall be entitled to a fee of ten dollars in full for his services in each case, upon the delivery of the said certificate to the claimant, his agent or attorney; or a fee of five dollars in cases where the proof shall not, in the opinion of such commissioner, warrant such certificate and delivery”. By offering commissioners twice the fee for a returned slave as they would receive for freeing him, and allowing them to make this determination on no more “proof” than the sworn statement of the claimant, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was used to send many free blacks into slavery in addition to those people who the law unjustly defined as property.

Jurors should be aware of these incentives encouraging deceit and injustice against peaceful people. Remember, just as the judge isn’t an independent, objective third party in the courtroom, neither are state crime labs objective sources of evidence and analysis. Prosecutors, judges, law enforcement, and state crime lab employees are all beholden to the state for their paychecks and all of their livelihoods depend in various ways on keeping the courts and incarceration facilities teeming with a steady flow of people, whether they have harmed anyone or not. In court, jurors are the ultimate arbiters of the credibility and weight of the evidence and witnesses presented before them. They have no obligation to believe any evidence or analysis presented in court, and have every right to be skeptical about the independence and reliability of state crime labs.

Share

Jury Nullification & Jury Rights Day | 16 Sep 2014

-Jury Rights Day: Jury Nullification Outreach in Camden, New Jersey

Share

JRD_brightblue_square_438x441This Jury Rights Day report comes to us from Rev. Deborah Kalinowski, who singlehandedly hosted Jury Rights Day outreach in Camden, New Jersey in three shifts. We are particularly thrilled to see jury nullification outreach in Camden, which is home to one of the most notable cases of jury nullification in modern United States jurisprudence—the trial of the Camden 28. Supreme Court Justice William Brendan would refer to the Camden 28 as “one of the great trials of the 20th century.” How appropriate it is to celebrate Jury Rights Day in this community!

Thank you so much to Rev. Kalinowski for her efforts. We share her event report and photos from her outreach below. If you are interested in continuing jury nullification outreach in Camden or elsewhere in New Jersey, please join the New Jersey FIJA Facebook page or get in touch with us in the FIJA National office and we will help you connect with local activists.

Camden, NJ Jury Rights Day 2014 Outreach Report
By Rev. Deborah Kalinowski

I arrived at the Camden County Hall of Justice at 7:30 AM on Sept. 5, 2014 and set up in the common area (near some picnic tables) right in front of the building. I had a sign and plenty of FIJA literature to hand out. My husband, David, was nearby with his camera, ready to take some photos of the event. I began handing out brochures to folks who were on their way into the Hall of Justice. Two Camden police officers stopped by and spoke with my husband. They wanted to make sure he wasn’t photographing any of the court employees as they entered the building. He wasn’t, so all was well. The police had no problem with where we were set up to distribute literature. During the 7:30 AM – 9:00 AM shift, I gave out a total of 36 FIJA brochures to citizens, lawyers and court employees.

At 11:30 AM, I returned to the same spot in front of the Hall of Justice to distribute jury rights information to the lunchtime crowd. Between 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM, I handed out 31 FIJA brochures. I noticed that more court employees and attorneys were coming over to me and asking for the literature during their lunch breaks.

My third and final shift at the Hall of Justice was from 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM. Fourteen more brochures found their way into the hands of eager court employees who were leaving at the end of their work day. One female court employee I spoke with told me that the courthouse employees do indeed get called for jury duty. This employee felt it was very important that she learn her rights as a juror.

During my three shifts, I distributed a total of 81 FIJA brochures at my Jury Rights Day event. That’s 81 new fully informed jurors added to the jury pool in Camden County, NJ! None of the 9 other people who had signed up for this event were able to make it, but I made sure the event went on anyway. This was my first time doing a courthouse jury rights outreach. It was a pleasant and positive experience because the folks who accepted literature from me were so receptive. I will definitely be doing this again in the near future!

JRD2014_Camden_3

JRD2014_Camden_1_crop

JRD2014_Camden_2_crop

JRD2014_Camden_4

JRD2014_Camden_5

Share

Older Entries »