Fully Informed Jury Association

Are you fully informed about jury nullification?

Freedom Friday | 04 Oct 2013

-FREEDOM FRIDAY: Frank Turney’s Jury Rights Day Event Makes Alaska News


Watch the video below for long-time FIJA activist and Alaska state contact Frank Turney’s appearance on local news again this year on Jury Rights Day as he has many times in the past. Frank discusses local jury nullification proposals and points out that citizens already have the right to vote their conscience and judge the law in all cases before them. Thank you, Frank, for your hard work!


Jury Nullification | 30 Sep 2013

-Push Back Against Drug War Profiteering with Jury Nullification


Cannabis Training University / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Cannabis Training University / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Morgan Walker reports on MSNBC.com on the sheer failure that is the United States’ 40-year war on drugs. The numbers document an incredible waste:
-more than $1 trillion of taxpayer earnings wasted
-37 million people incarcerated (and many more innocents’ lives destroyed because of that) for nonviolent drug offenses
-rate of drug use by high school students is virtually unchanged in 40 years and drug overdose rates are actually increased

So why, especially in this unstable economy where many are barely or not making ends meet, does government confiscate so much of our hard-earned income to pour into this black hole of ineffective and devastating drug policy? Walker explains the perverse incentive:
How profits help drive the war on drugs

During the Reagan administration, the government started incentivizing drug arrests by handing out grants to police departments fighting drug crimes. An arrest in a state like Wisconsin could bank a city or county an extra $153.

In 34 years in the Seattle Police Department, Norm Stamper learned about those incentives first hand, and he believes they are “corrupting the system.”

“What we have seen with this drug war are insane numbers of Americans being arrested for nonviolent, very low level drug offenses, in the tens of millions of numbers, and what do we have to show for it?” he asked on Tuesday’s PoliticsNation. He said drugs are more readily available than when Nixon “first declared war against them.”

Not only do government agents profit from harming our communities in this way, but so does an increasingly corporatized prison industry that abuses incarcerated individuals for cheap labor to pad corporate pocketbooks.

But all this can come to a halt if we start doing one thing consistently:

Vote Not Guilty.

Refuse to be complicit in an abusive system which decimates our quality of life and destroys our communities by pitting neighbor against neighbor over victimless offenses for government and corporate benefit at our expense.

Your conscientious acquittal by Not Guilty vote on all victimless charges not only protects the individual whose life is in your hands, but its social effects ripple out beyond that. As future victims of the state see more peaceful individuals protected by conscientious acquittal, they will feel more confident in exercising their right to trial by jury and be less likely to crumble in the face of prosecutorial bullying and accept plea deals. As prosecutors see fewer and fewer convictions, they will be publicly embarrassed by their professional failures and forced to justify under public scrutiny their wasteful activities. And as it becomes apparent that criminalization of victimless drug offenses simply cannot be enforced without jurors’ cooperation, the focus of law enforcement will be taken off these non-crimes and legislation against them will be more and more laughable, eventually trailing off and being repealed as was alcohol prohibition.

When you have a chance to serve as an independent juror, please:
Show up and get on the jury.
Shut up about jury nullification during voir dire and deliberations or you could be excluded or removed from the jury, leaving the defendant with no fully informed juror who will acquit.
Stand up for what is right and exercise your right to nullify when a just verdict requires it.


Function of Juries & Jury Nullification & Jury Rights Day | 11 Sep 2013

-Tehama County Man Touts Jury Rights Day


white_round_475x469Many thanks and a BIG congratulations to FIJA state contact Don Bird for his Jury Rights Day outreach in Red Bluff, which was then covered by the Red Bluff Daily News.

Tehama County Man Touts Jury Rights Day

With his own date in court to challenge the legal system a few weeks away activist Don Bird hit the streets of downtown Red Bluff Thursday morning to raise awareness for Jury Rights Day.

The 78-year-old Rancho Tehama resident passed out brochures in front of the Post Office trumpeting the rights citizens have when they are selected as jurors.

The Fully Informed Jury Association first promoted Jury Rights Day in 1991, according to the group’s Facebook page.

The jury system is the last line of defense to your freedom, Bird said on why he has spent decades protesting and fighting the courts on jury issues.

Bird said Jury Rights Day is important to remind people that if they get selected for a jury they should remember they hold more power than the judge.

Click through for the entire article.


Function of Juries & Jury Nullification & Jury Rights Day | 10 Sep 2013

-Frank Turney and Joshua Bennett Talk Jury Nullification on Patriots’ Lament


white_round_475x469We’ll be posting lots of pictures, reports, etc. from Jury Rights Day activities this week. We kick off with this 31 August 2013 radio interview with Frank Turney and Joshua Bennett on Fairbanks, Alaska’s local talk radio station KFAR 660:

Patriots’ Lament Discusses the Jury (.mp3)

Thanks, Frank and Joshua, for once again reaching out to the Fairbanks community with important information on jury nullification!


Function of Juries & Jury Nullification & Jury Rights Day | 05 Sep 2013

-A Jury Rights Day Message from FIJA National


Happy Jury Rights Day! We are hearing great reports from Jury Rights Day events across the country, and we look forward to sharing those with you soon. In the meantime, we have a Jury Rights Day message from FIJA National in which we challenge you to create 3 new jurors this Jury Rights Day! We invite you to view it and share it with friends. One lucky commenter will also receive a John Adams mug- details of the giveaway are in the video.


Function of Juries & Jury Nullification & Missive of the Month | 03 Sep 2013

-MISSIVE OF THE MONTH: Be Aware of Your Rights as a Potential Juror or Defendant


Johannes_Vermeer_-_A_Lady_Writing_a_Letter_-_WGA24650Rachel Colon has a timely letter to the editor in The Appeal-Democrat in Marysville, California explaining the juror’s right to refuse to enforce unjust law. Judging from the comments under her letter, this educational outreach is sorely needed in her area! Many thanks to Rachel for taking the time to get the word out in this community.

Letter: Be aware of your rights as a potential juror or defendant

You will not be told of your jury rights in a courtroom with the current system. We, the people, traditionally and ideally, hold the power over civil servants through our votes. Like in business, it is not up to a worker to inform their boss what workplace procedures are.

It is up to us as citizens to go to jury duty fully informed. No one will be able to instruct, coerce or bully your decision and verdict to become a guilty one as easily if your sound judgment is to nullify and vote not guilty.

Click through for the entire letter.


Jury Nullification & Jury Rights Day | 30 Aug 2013

-Jury Nullification Outreach at the Ravalli County Fair


Jury Rights Day celebrations begin this weekend!

Here in Montana, long-time FIJA activists Dave and Leona Merrick are spending four LONG days hosting an outreach table at the Ravalli County Fair in Hamilton, Montana. They are there from open to close each day of the fair. You can see them in the photo below doing the same thing last year. Look for the yellow FIJA shirts to spot them!


I will be heading out there this afternoon to work from afternoon to close (9 or 10 pm tonight). If you are near the Bitterroot Valley in Montana today or tomorrow, stop by the fair and say hello!


Jury Nullification & Jury Rights Day | 29 Aug 2013

-New Hampshire Governor Proclaims September 5 Jury Appreciation Day


Many thanks to FIJA New Hampshire State Contact and activist Dick Marple for securing the below proclamation from New Hampshire Governor Maggie Wood Hassan declaring September 5 to be Jury Appreciation Day. He has gotten many such proclamations over the years, but this one is particularly notable because through the hard work of activists such as Dick, New Hampshire passed a law last year requiring that defendants be allowed to argue jury nullification directly to their juries.

NH Proclamation 2013


Jury Rights Day & Media Releases | 29 Aug 2013

-FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Activists Across the Nation Celebrate Jury Rights Day on September 5


29 August 2013

Activists Across the Nation Celebrate Jury Rights Day on September 5

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

Helena, MT—On Thursday, September 5, 2013, activists across the country will celebrate Jury Rights Day, marking the 343rd anniversary of the day when jurors refused to convict William Penn of violating England’s Conventicle Acts, despite clear evidence that he acted illegally by preaching a Quaker sermon. In refusing to convict Penn, the jurors refused to enforce what they knew to be an unjust law. This is known as jury nullification or conscientious acquittal.

For their refusal to obey the judge’s instruction to find Penn guilty, the judge sent four of Penn’s jurors to prison for nine weeks. Their later release and exoneration established forever the English and American doctrine that it is the right and responsibility of all jurors to decide matters of law and fact in any case before them. The jurors’ decision in the Penn case also provided a basis for our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech, religion, and peaceable assembly.

“In today’s courtrooms, jurors are typically misinformed by judges, who tell them that they are to enforce the law as the judge interprets it regardless of their conscientious objections or common sense. Yet even today there are still independent jurors who find their ways onto juries, refuse to compromise their consciences to the dictates of an intimidating authority figure, and steadfastly refuse to enforce unjust laws or to be complicit in malicious prosecutions,” says Fully Informed Jury Association National Coordinator Kirsten Tynan. “We seek to inform everyone of the juror’s critical role as the last line of defense for people in our communities being maliciously prosecuted under unjust laws by overzealous government prosecutors and court officials.”

America’s founders accepted the common law principle of jury nullification as an important safeguard for a free society–a test that all laws must pass. They intended for all matters brought to the courts to be considered by a jury of independent, free individuals, who were not beholden to the courts or government, and who would freely render a verdict based on justice even if in direct opposition to the courts and the law. The Sixth and Seventh Amendments are included in the Bill of Rights to guarantee that every person brought to trial has the benefit of the protection of a jury.

Jury nullification has been used throughout history to “nullify” unpopular and unjust laws, from laws against free speech to the Fugitive Slave Acts to Prohibition. Modern juries have protected their communities by refusing to convict individuals prosecuted for victimless licensing violations in cases related to raw milk, for conveying political messages in chalk on public sidewalks, for victimless violations of gun regulations inadvertently committed when crossing state lines, for victimless cases of medical and recreational use of drugs, and much more.

“As incentives for prosecution expand–from prosecutors building profitable careers on the backs of peaceful people they maliciously prosecute, to courts creating a captive supply of cheap labor in overcrowded prisons–it is critical for those accused by the state to have access to juries composed of fully informed jurors,” says Tynan.

An integral part of our judicial system, jury nullification serves as one of the “checks and balances” required by a free society. Individual jurors each have the power to stop an unjust prosecution by refusing to convict, yet most jurors today are unaware of or explicitly misinformed about this right today. This lack of awareness has contributed greatly to the decline of the authority of the jury in our court system. FIJA seeks to educate everyone about the traditional, legal authority of the juror to refuse to enforce unjust laws and the role of the fully informed juror in protecting human rights.

On and around Jury Rights Day this September 5, private groups and individuals across the nation will inform their communities of the juror’s right and duty to set aside the law when a just verdict requires it. They will hand out educational literature at courthouses and other locations, provide interviews, host outreach tables and community events, publish columns, send letters to their local newspapers, and more to encourage people to learn more about the rights and responsibilities of jury service, as well as to encourage those on trial to demand their right to a trial by jury. New Hampshire Governor Maggie Wood Hassan has signed a proclamation declaring September 5 this year as Jury Appreciation Day, which is particularly apt given the state’s passage in 2012 of a law requiring that the defense be allowed to argue jury nullification directly to the jury. A history of Jury Rights Day can be found on FIJA’s website along with a listing of local Jury Rights Day 2013 events around the country.

FIJA Logo with URLAbout the Fully Informed Jury Association
FIJA is a 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 authority as jurors 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



FIJA in the News & Function of Juries & Jury Nullification & Jury Rights Day | 23 Aug 2013

-A Jury’s Secret Power – Jury Nullification


Jury BoxAs Jury Rights Day approaches, Joanne Eisen and Alan Chwick help make the jury’s secret power of jury nullification a little less secret.

A Jury’s Secret Power – Nullification

With Jury Rights Day just around the corner on September 5, it is a good time to reflect upon a Jury’s Duty.

Our Founding Fathers, in all their wisdom, gave us a Constitution with layers of safeguards, so that if we erred, we could correct the error, peaceably – without a shot being fired.

One of these very important layers is Jury Nullification.

Click through for the entire article.


Function of Juries | 19 Aug 2013

-Jury Chastised by Judge for Not Guilty Verdict


Think the judge in the courtroom is an objective arbiter of justice? Think again. The judge and the prosecutor are both getting paid by the state–a clear conflict of interest.

Consider the case of Franklin County, Ohio Municipal Court Judge Amy Salerno who jurors say chastised them in open court for having reached a “wrong” verdict when they delivered a Not Guilty verdict in an assault case.

Jurors complained to the administrative judge supervising the judges in that court. According to Judge James Green, “They reported to me that she made a comment to them that it was okay because she would have another chance to get this defendant ’cause he had other charges pending.”

This is a very clear illustration of the need for the body of independent individuals in the courtroom that is the jury. Remember, “The primary purpose of the independent juror is not, as many people think, to dispense punishment to fellow citizens accused of breaking various laws, but rather to protect fellow citizens from tyrannical abuse of power by government.” Even when the act for which the accused is charged is an actual crime, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused actually committed that crime. Often the government has ill intentions when accusing people of actions that, if committed, would merit some sort of consequence, so jurors must not give prosecutors a pass and rubber stamp poorly argued cases.


FIJActivist & Jury Nullification & Jury Rights Day & Lunch Break for Liberty | 16 Aug 2013

-Jury Nullification History: The First Jury Rights Day


The very first Jury Rights Day celebrations took place 22 years ago on September 5, 1991 when FIJA called for activists nationwide to spent an hour handing out juror education outreach material in their communities. Our inaugural Jury Rights Day announcement is below.

How will YOU be spending Jury Rights Day in 2013? Is there an event planned in your community? If not, can you get two or three friends together to spend some time during your lunch hour or after work to share FIJA’s message in your community? Let us know where you’ll be and when so we can add your celebration to our Jury Rights Day Calendar of Events!


Hey, activist, can you spare an hour?

Noon hour, September 5, 1991, should be sixty minutes of fun and high-impact education all across the United States, as FIJA activists take to the steps of courthouses in their own local communities, handing out a special “Jury Rights Day” version of our TRUE or FALSE? brochure to whoever will accept one.

If, for one hour of one day (more if you have time), you can break from routine and “go active”, you will be part of an utterly decentralized, but fully coordinated team of jury-rights proponents skipping lunch to tell the entire nation about FIJA! The plan is this:

At each courthouse, everyone from judge to janitor will be offered a brochure, in honor of the day, 321 years ago, when Edward Bushell and his fellow jurors refused to convict William Penn, arrested in London for preaching an illegal religion (Quakerism) to those who voluntarily–but also illegally–gathered to listen.

Nine weeks later, after Bushell and three others had been imprisoned for this audacity in a brutal facility, the English Court of Common Pleas voted to release them, and without forcing them to change their verdict.

This was a milestone in English-American legal tradition, because it not only established the power of the jury to find whatever verdict it wishes, without punishment, but also the rights of free speech and peaceable assembly.

We at FIJA figure that 1991 is the perfect year to begin celebrating that event as “Jury Rights Day”, since it is the 200th anniversary of the American Bill of Rights, which not only protects our freedoms of speech and assembly, but also their guardian: our right to trial by a jury of fellow citizens. We of course intend to make the most of the fact that the nation will simultaneously be honoring the very document we seek to protect with fully informed juries.

Leading off the day, at noon EDT, we’ll hold a national news conference and rally at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC, where spokespersons from a wide range of organizations will speak on the importance of the jury system for individual justice and for maintaining citizen control of our government.

We’re hoping this summer to persuade a U.S. Representative or Senator to introduce legislation naming September 5 as “National Jury Rights Day” then to kick off the “JRD” rally with a speech on that subject. [We’ll report on this when we list all confirmed speakers in the Summer FIJActivist.]

The national media will be given packets of information about FIJA, and a list of all other locations around the United States where literature is being distributed–including yours, provided we have confirmation from you in time to include your name and the courthouse where you’ll be.

The longer and more geographically representative the list, of course, the more impressed the media will be…and the better will be our chance to access and educate millions of Americans in their rights as jurors, drawing their attention to the full meaning of the 6th and 7th Amendments.

How to get your materials? Easy: send us your order, ASAP!

If you want to take full advantage of the media potential for the celebration, order the “JRD” Action Kit that we’re making available for $25. The kit will contain a FIJA t-shirt, 11 x 17″
poster, button, bumper sticker, a “fill-in-the blanks” news release, 250 brochures and an action plan.

We’re also working out details of cost and production of a 3’x 5′ banner, useful both for Jury Rights Day and for other FIJA events. Please let us know if you’re interested, and we’ll get the best price we can.

The enclosed order blank is the most convenient way to tell us “YES–I CAN SPARE AN HOUR!”, and to order your materials. Kits, banners and posters are still in the preparation stage, and will be produced in quantities equal to the orders we receive by July 15. After that, we cannot guarantee to fill your orders for these items, though we’ll try. As a last-minute option, we can send master copies of brochures, which you can reproduce locally.

Contributions in excess of item prices listed are of course welcome, to help defray expenses of travel, communication, renting and setting up equipment for (and cleaning up after) the
rally and national news conference. Contributions are especially appropriate if you cannot participate, but want to help ensure the success and maximize the impact of the first annual celebration of Jury Rights Day.

Thank you for your hour(s), your dollar(s), or both!


Jury Nullification | 16 Aug 2013

-Florida’s Future Richard Paeys Need Jurors Informed about Jury Nullification


A report from RT America details the toll prescription pain killer regulation in Florida is taking on legitimate patients dealing with severe pain.

Florida pain patients become collateral damage during war on drugs

To combat prescription drug abuse, the state has tightened drug regulations, limiting the supply of pain medication that pharmacies and drug distributors are allowed to have in their inventory and making it more difficult for patients to obtain them.

Meredith Diaz, a 35-year-old mother who suffers from lupus, told Bloomberg News that she has trouble obtaining OxyContin, roxycodone and Xanax, which her doctors regularly prescribe to help control her pain and anxiety. The Tampa resident has herniated discs in her back, a knee that will soon need to be replaced and clinical anxiety. She fears the day that her drug supply will be cut off and said her life is much more difficult without her medicine.

This problem is not new, however. It brings to mind the 2004 conviction of Richard Paey, a wheelchair-bound multiple sclerosis patient who suffered severe back injury in a car accident, with the injury being further exacerbated by a botched surgery, leaving him in extreme chronic pain.

Unable in Florida’s draconian regulatory environment to get a doctor to prescribe the high doses of pain control medication he needed to control his extreme situation when he moved south, Paey had his former doctor in New Jersey send him undated prescriptions in the mail. Though he had no record of prior criminal offenses, Florida officials became suspicious about the amount of medication he was receiving and prosecuted Paey on 15 counts of possession and trafficking.

For prosecutors, the third time was the charm in convicting this harmless man simply trying to control his pain to a level where he could live a decent life. His first trial resulted in a hung jury, the second was thrown out due to a procedural error, and in his third trial, the jury only agreed to convict him after the jury foreman inaccurately assured them that he would only get probation. However, due to Florida’s mandatory minimum sentencing rules, Paey was sentenced to 25 years in prison, where he was ultimately given a morphine pump to dispense similar or higher doses of pain medication than he was convicted of illegally obtaining outside of prison.

Upon hearing the entire story which had not reached the jury who convicted him, Governor Charlie Crist and the Florida Cabinet voted unanimously to grant Paey a full pardon.

As Florida’s pain medication regulation and penalties become increasingly abusive, it is critical to educate Florida residents about their right and responsibility to conscientiously acquit peaceful people whose only crime is to try to make their own bodies functional at a reasonably controlled level of pain.


Jury Nullification & Missive of the Month | 16 Aug 2013

-MISSIVE OF THE MONTH: Michigan Should Follow New Hampshire on Jury Nullification


Johannes_Vermeer_-_A_Lady_Writing_a_Letter_-_WGA24650In a Letter to the Editor of The Daily Mining Gazette, Larry Korpi urges Michigan to follow New Hampshire’s lead on jury nullification law.

Michigan should follow N.H.

Michigan, like the other states, holds justice in contempt by court.

But not in the “live free or die” state, in New Hampshire, who passed a law requiring judges to instruct defense attorneys to inform jurors of their right and duty to judge the law according to their conscience, that bad law be nullified with a vote of not guilty, bringing back constitutional government with we the people being the fourth and final check for the protection of liberty and justice for all.

Sadly, a law has to be passed to make courts do what we always expected them to do, protect liberty and provide justice for all. Hopefully, Michigan’s legislators will follow New Hampshire’s example.

Click through for the entire Letter to the Editor.


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