Fully Informed Jury Association

Are you fully informed about jury nullification?

Function of Juries | 15 Jun 2013

-Jury Nullification and the Magna Carta

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Today is the 798th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta at Runnymede in England. Learn why denial of the right to trial by jury has stirred up dissent even to the point of revolution throughout the last 800 years. Lysander Spooner explains that the barons of England did not fight for an empty formality of having a jury rubber stamp the wishes of the king, but rather for the right of jury nullification which put judgement of the whole case on its merits into the keeping of the people rather than the king.

Please share this short video with family and friends to help educate everyone about centuries of history behind the traditional, legal authority of the jury to refuse to enforce bad laws.

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Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 11 Jun 2013

-Jury Nullification, Not a Pardon for Edward Snowden

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Thomas Mullen discusses the case of Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who publicly acknowledges exposing the NSA’s unconstitutional domestic spying program collecting private communications from U.S. citizens who aren’t even suspected of wrongdoing. In light of government efforts to prosecute Snowden, a petition has been started asking for a pardon. Mullen argues that this should not be necessary as a responsible jury ought not to convict him in the first place.

Jury nullification, not a pardon for Edward Snowden

If the so-called “Justice Department” is successful in having Snowden extradited to the United States, he will have a jury trial. The jury will be instructed by a federal judge that their one and only responsibility is to weigh the facts and to determine whether there is sufficient proof that Snowden committed the acts alleged in the indictment. They will be instructed to consider nothing else in reaching a verdict. That leaves one question.

Who cares what the judge says?

Everyone on that jury will know why Snowden is being persecuted. It’s not like he sold defense secrets to a foreign enemy during a time of war. He told the American people about how their own government was spying on them. The juror who renders a guilty verdict in this case is betraying his country, not Edward Snowden.

At one time, juries were informed of their right to consider the justice of the law itself in addition to the facts of the case. If they believed they were being asked to convict a defendant of an unjust law, they were free to acquit the defendant.

They still are. They just aren’t told so by state or federal judges any more. That doesn’t change the fact that if a jury acquits Edward Snowden, there is absolutely nothing that the government can do about it.

Click through for the entire article.

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Jury Nullification | 07 Jun 2013

-Sentencing in Rich Paul Jury Nullification Case Today

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RichPaulAs Rich Paul awaits sentencing today for his conviction on victimless drug-related charges, apparently levied against him in an attempt by the FBI to secure his cooperation in infiltrating a local political group, we remind everyone that he is raising funds to mount an appeal. You may recall that the Rich Paul case was tainted by improper jury instructions issued by the judge, misinforming the jury that they were required to follow the law as he interpreted it for them. The judge gave the jury this misinformation in spite of New Hampshire’s recently passed law that acknowledges a jury’s right to nullify.

Rich is facing a possible sentence of more than 81 years imprisonment. Sentencing is scheduled for 1:30 pm today at Cheshire County Superior Court, Keene, NH. Rich has stated his intention to appeal based in part on the faulty instructions by the judge. To contribute to his legal appeal, visit the Rich Paul Appeal Fundraiser on GoFundMe.com.

In this article, Rich talks about the damaging psychological toll his imprisonment is taking on him, in spite of the fact that his actions harmed nobody.
Pot Activist Risking Life In Jail Says He’s A Victim Of FBI Persecution

As I sit in jail, deprived of the medicine I need, I can feel my desire to live slipping away, displaced by the old rage and despair. I have some hope that I will be released to seek refuge in a state, like Michigan or Colorado, which tolerates people like me, but with my depression untreated I expect the worst. All I want is to fulfill our state motto: ‘live free or die.’

What I ask from you is to take up the fight for tolerance of people like me. My use of marijuana neither picks your pocket nor breaks you leg, and neither does selling it to adults who seek it out. I should not be looking at hard time without ever having violated the golden rule.

Click through for the entire article which discuses in more detail the FBI’s role in harming a peaceful victim of government abuse.

You can also support Rich by writing to him through the Mail to Jail program or directly:
Rich Paul
c/o Cheshire County D.O.C.
825 Marlboro Road
Keene, NH 03431

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FIJA in the News & Freedom Friday & Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 31 May 2013

-FREEDOM FRIDAY: Prosecutor in Tim DeChristopher Case ‘Flipped Out’ Over FIJA’s Jury Nullification Literature

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Today’s Freedom Friday video features a Moyers & Company episode on the Tim DeChristopher case, in which environmental activist Tim DeChristopher was prosecuted on two felony counts for bidding on oil and gas leases in an auction which was subsequently declared null and void by the Obama administration. Bill Moyers has a rather extensive discussion with DeChristopher about the role and history of juries in ensuring justice and how jurors’ rights played into his case. Although offered plea deals, including one for as little as 30 days in jail, DeChristopher insisted on exercising his right to trial by jury. He was subsequently convicted and sentenced to 2 years in federal prison, which he has served.

In this video, Bill Moyers and Tim DeChristopher discuss how the prosecutor in his case went nuts over FIJA’s Your Jury Rights: True of False? and demanded a mistrial. No mistrial was declared, but the judge did go to great lengths, even interrogating prospective jurors individually behind the scenes to ensure that the jury ultimately selected would be docile and obedient, even if it meant doing something they believed to be immoral.

Says Tim DeChristopher,

These are people who have no experience, who have probably never been on jury duty before because it’s a rare thing… and they come into this huge courthouse, go through two different metal detectors and security screenings, come in to this majestic courtroom with the judge sitting up above them, speaking in this patriarchal kind of way, with all this authority behind him, and saying, “It’s not your job to do what’s right or wrong.” And people believed that. And watching that happen, I’d say it’s really the first time I’ve understood how some of the great atrocities in history could happen where you have an entire population that plays out the plans of a tyrannical dictator. How things like genocide could happen when people are willing to let go of their won moral agency and say, “Well it’s not my job to decide what’s right or wrong.”

Watch his much more extensive commentary here:

This case once again demonstrates how important it is for jurors to be educated before they arrive in court where they will be blatantly misinformed by the court about their rights and responsibilities when serving on a jury, understand how to get on a jury, and refuse to convict even if pressured otherwise if they believe justice requires a Not Guilty verdict. As a juror, you are not required to check your conscience at the courthouse door! Thanks to FIJA activist Mike Angelos for passing this along to us!

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Jury Nullification | 25 May 2013

-Jury Find Hershberger Not Guilty on 3 Counts, Guilty on 1 in Raw Milk Case

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By Unisouth (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Unisouth (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The trial of farmer Vernon Hershberger of Wisconsin on 4 victimless counts related to mutually consensual distribution of raw milk to adults ran longer than expected, wrapping up early this morning. Hershberger, who operated a private club for people who wanted raw milk, was found Not Guilty on charges of operating an unlicensed retail store that sold raw milk and other products, and operating a dairy farm and dairy processing facility without licenses.

Dairy farmer acquitted on three of four charges

Dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger was acquitted on three of four criminal charges early Saturday morning in a trial that’s drawn national attention from supporters of the raw, unpasteurized milk movement.

Jurors in Sauk County District Court deliberated about four hours, until nearly 1 a.m. Saturday, before returning a verdict of guilty on one charge of violating a holding order placed on products on the Hershberger farm, following a raid on the farm in the summer of 2010.

The defense attorney asked jurors to use “common sense” and to question why the state would take such a heavy-handed approach in prosecuting Hershberger.

“This is as close to Prohibition as anything I have ever seen, but this time it’s milk and an Amish farmer, rather than liquor and gangsters,” Reynolds said.

Hershberger was found Guilty of violating a holding order placed on products from his farm-a situation that he was only put in when the government pursued him for the alleged violations of which the jury found him Not Guilty. Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection raided his farm in June 2010, destroying 2,000 pounds of milk. Hershberger faces up to a year in jail and up to $10,000 fine for this charge.

After the acquittal of Minnesota farmer Alvin Schlangen on similarly victimless charges related to raw milk, food freedom supporters around the country have been focused on this trial to see if jury nullification would play a role.
Crowds of supporters to attend farmer’s raw-milk trial

Whether the case sets a legal precedent remains to be seen. But it’s significant for anyone interested in unpasteurized milk for health reasons, said Vince Hundt, a raw-milk advocate from Coon Valley.

People are getting the product directly from farms illegally, according to Hundt.

“The state is watching the law being steadily eroded. . . . If you are a thoughtful person and a reader these days, there’s just a blast of new information about food and health. And there’s a rapidly rising enthusiasm for food like unpasteurized milk,” he said.

The trial’s jury selection is scheduled to take place Monday with about 130 prospective jurors. There are about 70 people on the witness list, according to Hershberger’s supporters.

The farmer’s fate could hinge on a legal tactic called jury nullification, under which jurors vote their conscience in a case regardless of the facts and the law. Hershberger’s supporters have encouraged the tactic, although it’s generally known that judges and prosecutors reject it.

The holding order violation has so far been unique to the Hershberger case. The acquittals on the licensing charges add to the precedent being set by juries, starting with the Schlangen case, that they are not convicting raw milk providers on victimless licensing and branding types of violations. It is not clear why the jury chose to convict on the holding order violation in the Hershberger case, but trial reports do indicate that the judge kept a very tight rein on what the jury was permitted to hear, with the jury being escorted out of the courtroom more than once as information he did not want them to hear came up.

Hershberger Trial: List of Things You Can’t Say and Wear Gets Bigger

Let it be known that the jury has been frequently shoo-ed from the room anytime the judge felt that something truthful was about to be uttered on the stand. I bet they wondered what they were missing and why they weren’t allowed to hear it.

List of things struck from the trial – this stems from the judge’s agreement with prosecution before the trial began. He has sided with the State every step of the way:

Defense is not allowed to talk of defendant’s personal liberty – no talk of liberty allowed
The words “raw milk” are not allowed to be spoken during the trial.
No talk about safety or health reasons – this made it impossible for witnesses to talk about why they went to his farm.
According to Josh Tolley, talk of “natural foods” was not allowed.
No talk of whether there was criminal intent in not obtaining a license – Note: shouldn’t that right there be cause for jury nullification? Can’t talk about criminal intent – then where is the crime? Also, you can’t obtain a license for fresh food or memberships in Wisconsin!
Photos from the farm were argued against and called “irrelevant.”
No discussion of why his farm was initially raided in 2010.
No talk of herd shares or memberships – how did the witnesses discuss? Very carefully, see below
A woman wearing a “Got Initiative?” shirt was told to remove it before entering because it hinted at a reference. A picture of her appears on one of the Facebook updates I’m watching.
Mark McAffe was ordered to cover his shirt because it said: “get raw milk.”
A teenager wearing a “Raw Milk Me” button was asked to remove it before entering.

This is a huge embarrassment for the prosecution not to be able to secure convictions on most of the charges, even with the judge so blatantly tilting the playing field in favor of the prosecution. It will be interesting to see if any jurors come forward after the trial, once they find out from perusing the media from which they were isolated during the trial exactly how much information was withheld from them. The raw milk trials are widely seen by the food freedom community as political cases being brought abusively against peaceful people providing a desired good to willing and knowledgeable customers in order to support government protectionism for big dairies.

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Function of Juries & Jurors Doing Justice & Jury Nullification | 24 May 2013

-Did The First Circuit Encourage Jury Nullification in Stolen Gun Case?

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IMG_1132crop
Matt Kaiser discusses on The Federal Criminal Appeals Blog a recent First Circuit firearms-related case in which the court seems to encourage jury nullification in marginal cases to check prosecutorial overreach. In the case of United States v. Baird, the accused had bought a firearm from another person, not knowing that the weapon had been stolen. The buyer was then prosecuted for being in possession of a stolen gun, even though he had been unaware that this was the case when he purchased it. Baird was convicted of one count of possession of a stolen firearm, for which he was sentenced to a $100 special assessment, one month in jail, and two years of supervised release.

Did The First Circuit Encourage Jury Nullification?

Mr. Baird wanted an “innocent possession” instruction. He wanted to argue that he didn’t know the gun was stolen when he possessed it and that it got rid of it quickly after having learned it was.

The district court refused to give that instruction, relying on cases that said there’s no “innocent possession” defense in a possession of a stolen gun case, relying on United States v. Teemer, a prior First Circuit case on whether there’s an innocent possession defense to a felon in possession charge.

The First Circuit, reversing on the failure to give the instruction, acknowledge that Teemer held there was no such defense, but then said,

But that is not all Teemer said. While Teemer declined to create a “mandatory safe harbor” for innocent possession, it also acknowledged that “there are circumstances that arguably come within the letter of the law but in which conviction would be unjust,” such as if a felon snatched away a loaded gun from his school-aged son and then called the police to retrieve it. Therefore, although Teemer relied primarily on prosecutorial discretion and the common sense of the jury to weed out the cases warranting leniency in § 922(g) cases, we have simultaneously recognized that “extraordinary cases might arise where . . . . if the government were foolish enough to prosecute, some caveat might indeed be needed (e.g., an instruction on a necessity or justification defense.)”

I’m not sure how to read that, except as licensing a very limited kind of jury nullification.

Click through for the entire article including a link to the court opinion and references from court opinions in other marginal cases where the courts have expressed skepticism over the notion of simply trusting the government not to prosecute people maliciously.

There is clearly some level of recognition in the legal system that abusive prosecutions need to be checked, although it is unfortunately accompanied by widespread aversion to acknowledging the traditional authority of the independent juror in filling this role. In fact, jurors can and should check prosecutorial abuse by voting Not Guilty-even if a law has technically been broken-when setting aside an unjust or unjustly applied law is required for a just verdict.

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Jury Nullification | 24 May 2013

-Gun Control Law Sparks Protest Outside New York Capitol

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Jury nullification makes a prominent appearance in the public discourse again this week in the state of New York, where activists are continuing to protest the state’s so-called “SAFE Act”. The act created numerous additional victimless violations and increased sentences for other victimless violations. While activists are working to amend or repeal the measure, Rob Arrigo of the Campaign for Liberty pointed out at the rally that jurors need not be complicit in enforcing the law against peaceful people who have harmed nobody. Jurors can protect individuals’ Second Amendment rights by voting Not Guilty.

Gun control law sparks protest outside Capitol

Opponents of the SAFE gun control act gathered on the east steps of the state Capitol on Tuesday to denounce Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders, and to press for the law’s full repeal.

Hosted by the NY2A Grassroots Coalition, the rally attracted about 400 participants at its peak. Speakers included the repeal measure’s legislative sponsor, Hudson Valley Republican Assemblyman Steve Katz, as well as Richard Mack, a former Arizona county sheriff prominent in conservative circles.

Other speakers advised the crowd not to register their weapons and counseled them on the importance of “jury nullification” when faced with a law one deems to be unconstitutional.

Third anti-SAFE Act rally held in Capitol park

Rob Arrigo, Saratoga County coordinator for Campaign for Liberty, told supporters there were two words to nullify the SAFE Act in the courts – “Not guilty.”

“The principle of jury nullification is simple. It is the duty of the independent juror to judge not only the guilt of the defendant in the law,” Arrigo explained to activists. “But also to judge the law itself.”

Arrigo, like his supporters, says the SAFE Act is unconstitutional and jurors can find those charged under the law not guilty based on that premise.

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Function of Juries & Interviews & Jury Nullification | 23 May 2013

-Kirsten Tynan Interview on Jury Nullification on WFLA Tomorrow

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FIJA Logo with URLFriday, 24 May 2013
7:30 am Eastern
104.5 FM WFLA in Orlando, FL

Kirsten Tynan will be talking about jury nullification with Scott Duncan live on 104.5 FM WFLA in Orlando, FL. Tune in locally or listen live online from anywhere to learn more about jurors’ role in protecting our rights by refusing to enforce bad laws. There may be a call-in opportunity following the interview. Listen in for details.

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FIJA in the News & Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 21 May 2013

-San Diego Mayor Filner Urges Jury Nullification

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

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

We have more news this morning that FIJA’s educational outreach efforts are paying off through the hard work of activists nationwide, this time from San Diego, California:

Filner Urges ‘Jury Nullification’ In Medical Pot Dispensary Case

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner has injected himself into a federal criminal case against the operator of a medical marijuana dispensary, intensifying his standoff with federal prosecutors on cannabis enforcement issues.

Filner’s urging jurors who’ll be chosen for the trial to reject federal law in favor of state statutes under a centuries-old legal concept known as “jury nullification”– whereby jurors can refuse to convict people under laws they believe should not be applied.

It’s a bold, brash move that’s potentially controversial and politically risky for a mayor.

But that’s not atypical of the former “Freedom Rider” who served two months of jail time in Mississippi during the early years of the Civil Rights Era.

“It’s time, like with Prohibition, to step back and say this was a stupid thing to do,” Filner said outside the courthouse. “Let’s step back, and juries ought to take the lead and say that to the federal government…and if the federal government isn’t listening to the mayor, maybe they’ll listen to the jury.”

Click through for the entire article.

Not only was Mayor Filner’s passionate advocacy of justice through fully informed juries covered by the local NBC affiliate, but this news was also carried by U-T San Diego:

Filner urges jurors to reject medpot case

In a statement released through Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group, Filner endorsed a controversial legal concept called jury nullification.

This occurs when a jury acquits someone of the charges against them, even if they believe the person to be guilty, if they disagree with the law that the defendant is charged with. It allows individual jurors to follow their conscience, but critics say it violates the juror’s basic role — to determine the facts in a case and apply the law to reach a result.

In the statement, Filner said jury nullification allows the people’s “will to prevail.” He said that the concept “holds that jurors have a right and even a duty to vote their conscience if they feel the government is engaged in injustice.”

Filner reportedly had a conversation prior to the press conference with Terrie Best, San Diego Americans for Safe Access Court Support Coordinator, who points to FIJA’s website for information on jurors’ traditional, legal authority to nullify.
Mayor Filner to Speak at Press Conference Against Gag Order in Federal Medical Marijuana Case

Upon learning of the Chang case, Mayor Filner spoke with Terrie Best, San Diego Americans for Safe Access Court Support Coordinator and issued the following statement on Thursday, May 16, 2013:

“In cases like these, where Ronnie Chang will face a jury of his peers, jurors may be faced with decisions about unjust laws. There is a mechanism for the peoples’ will to prevail. It is called jury nullification and holds that jurors have a right and even a duty to vote their conscience if they feel the government is engaged in injustice. In voting to acquit victims of unjust laws, jurors cannot be punished for their verdicts.”

Terrie Best points to a website, www.Fija.org (Fully Informed Jury Association) where the public is encouraged to read about jury nullification, its history and why our forefathers set up the jury of twelve peers trial system in order to protect against tyranny of government.

Click through for the entire article.

Many thanks to Terrie Best and to all the FIJA activists educating Californians about their right when serving on a jury to refuse to enforce unjust or unjustly applied laws and their responsibility to protect defendants and all of us from abusive prosecutions by government.

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Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 16 May 2013

-Jury Nullification: Your Right and Duty to Acquit

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Thanks to Bill St. Clair for this article from End the War on Freedom discussing jury nullification as a right and duty of jurors when a just verdict requires it:

Your Right and Duty to Acquit

If you serve on a jury in a criminal trial, the judge will likely tell you that his job is to interpret the law, and to inform you about it, and that your job is only to determine whether the defendant did the thing of which (s)he was accused. Wrong.

The judge is the referee of the proceedings. His job is to maintain order, and to ensure that witnesses are sworn in, and properly questioned and cross-examined.

The job of a jury is to protect citizens from the awesome power of the state. If the state does not prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, if the statute allegedly violated does not involve a real crime, if the punishment is too severe, it is your right and duty to acquit, denying the state the power to cage a human being like an animal.

Click through for the entire article.

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Jury Nullification | 14 May 2013

-Rich Paul Plans Appeal in Jury Nullification Case

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RichPaulFree Keene has posted a letter from recently convicted marijuana activist Rich Paul sent from jail. In the letter, he discusses his plans for an appeal based in part on the instructions against jury nullification given by the judge to the jury.

Rich Paul needs your help with his appeal

My spirits remain high, despite my setback, and I have hope, still, for my appeal! I have been responding to every letter I have received!

The stakes on my appeal are much higher than just what happens to me. The primary issue on appeal will be the anti-nullification jury instructions which the judge gave my jury. A successful appeal will set a precedent for all future attempts at Jury Nullification… which is much more important than where I spend my next couple of years! If you care about Jury Nullification, please donate to this cause! Only appeals courts create binding precedent!

Paul is raising money to hire an attorney to mount his appeal. Click through for the entire letter, including information on contributing to his legal defense fund.

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FIJA in the News & Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 13 May 2013

-FIJA (Fully Informed Jury Association) and Juror Rights

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Jury BoxLouis R. Jasikoff and John DiLiberto of the Wilkes-Barre Independent Gazette recently delivered a letter to Luzerne County, Pennsylvania judges inquiring into their views on jury nullification. The letter reads, in part:

FIJA (Fully Informed Jury Association) and Juror Rights

Our question to each of you is simple and straight to the point. Where do you stand on this issue? We would like to know what would happen in your courtroom if a defense attorney were to relate this nullification information notifying the jurors that they not only possessed the right to judge a case based on its facts, but to judge the law itself.

Would they be cited for contempt or face even harsher penalties?

We’re going to pose a hypothetical question and one for which we’d like a direct answer. It is not intended as a typical “gotcha” question, but intended only to get to the heart of the matter, and should clearly indicate your stance regarding jury nullification. We’re letting you know the question beforehand, so you have ample time to formulate your response.

In most courtrooms today the judge will instruct the jury to uphold the law as he presents it to them. Now, if Rosa Parks were to appear in your courtroom today, would you permit her defense attorney to instruct the jury regarding its prerogatives and obligations without fear of sanctions?

Click through for the entire letter.

Jasikoff and DiLiberto plan to publish any responses they receive in the Wilkes-Barre Independent Gazette. We look forward to it!

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Jury Nullification & Media Releases | 02 May 2013

-Deputy Park County Attorney Kathleen Carrick Seeks to Prevent Montana Jurors from Being Fully Informed

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FIJA Logo with URL2 May 2013

Deputy Park County Attorney Kathleen Carrick
Seeks to Prevent Montana Jurors from Being Fully Informed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
(406) 442-7800; aji@fija.org

Helena, MT—Deputy Park County Attorney Kathleen Carrick recently filed a Motion in Limine in a Park County, Montana court in the case of The State of Montana v. Joel Elmer Boniek that appears, among other things, to be aimed at preventing jurors from being fully informed of their right to refuse to enforce unjust or unjustly applied laws.

The motion asks the Court to exclude any evidence or references by witnesses or the defendant to jury nullification or challenging the Constitutionality of any law. It further seeks to gag private individuals exercising free speech protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article II, Section 7 of the Constitution of Montana by prohibiting distribution of any pamphlets at or around the court house on the day of the trial. Such a gag order would prohibit volunteers from distributing educational materials produced by the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) to inform everyone of the traditional, legal authority of jurors to judge the law as well as the facts of a case at hand and to rely on their consciences in coming to a just verdict.

It is unclear whether Carrick is unfamiliar with the long legal history of jurors’ right of nullification and of everyone’s right to use of the public sidewalk for the exercise of First Amendment rights, or whether she is willfully choosing to ignore laws she finds inconvenient. FIJA Executive Director Iloilo Jones asks for clarification from Carrick regarding her obvious legal gaffes. “As a government employee, what is her stance on protecting human rights? What is her stance on freedom of speech? Why is she afraid of jurors being fully informed?” asks Jones.

The right of jurors to judge both the facts of the case and the justice of the law as it is applied has been recognized repeatedly by the U.S. Supreme Court, as early as the 1794 case of Georgia v. Brailsford. In this case Chief Justice John Jay wrote in charging the jury that, “You have a right to take it upon yourselves to judge both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy.” In its 1906 decision in the case of State v. Koch, the Montana Supreme Court also upheld jury nullification, ruling that, “It has nevertheless always been recognized in practice in this jurisdiction, that the jury has the power to disregard the law as declared and acquit the defendant, however convincing the evidence may be, and that the court or judge has no power to punish them for such conduct.” No U.S. Supreme Court or Montana Supreme Court ruling has ever overturned this role of the jury in protecting human rights.

Just as jury rights have been upheld at the highest levels of our court system, so too have our First Amendment rights to freedom of the press and public expression. Such rights are a key check on government, guaranteed to us by design in order to prevent it from overstepping the very Constitutional bounds that Carrick’s motion seeks to sweep under the rug. In the landmark Supreme Court ruling in the case of New York Times Co. v. United States, regarding government censorship by prior restraint, Justice Hugo Black clearly explained this essential function: “In the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.”

FIJA National Coordinator Kirsten Tynan notes the telling nature of the very first line item of Carrick’s list, requesting that the defendant and witnesses be barred from discussing the Constitution. “Is it any surprise that Carrick’s motion requests prohibition of any mention of the failure of law to meet Constitutional muster given that she seems willing to cast it aside when it does not suit her?” asks Tynan.

In the event that this abusive motion results in an order from the court violating First Amendment rights, FIJA asks volunteers to exercise peaceful forbearance and not violate any such order. Those who choose to distribute literature should request clarification from the court as to the exact boundaries of the Constitution-Free Zone it intends to enforce and distribute literature everywhere else outside those boundaries. Those who are told by government agents that they cannot distribute FIJA literature in public places should contact the FIJA office at (406) 442-7800 or aji@fija.org with as many details as possible of such orders.

About 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 Constitutional 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 the human rights of the defendant.

Contact Information:
Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA)
(406) 442-7800
aji@fija.org
P.O. Box 5570
Helena, MT 59604-5570

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Carrick’s Motion In Limine: State of Montana v. Joel Elmer Boniek Motion in Limine (.pdf)

Opinion of the Court: 3 U.S. 1 Georgia v. Brailsford (1794)

Concurrence (Black): 403 U.S. 713 New York Times Co. v. United States

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Function of Juries & Jury Nullification & Media Releases | 18 Apr 2013

-Judge in Rich Paul Case Undermines Jury Nullification Law with Misinformation in Jury Instructions

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FIJA Logo with URL18 April 2013

Judge in Rich Paul Case Undermines Informed Jury Law
with Misinformation in Jury Instructions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
(406) 442-7800; aji@fija.org

Helena, MT—A Cheshire County, New Hampshire jury convicted local marijuana and liberty activist Rich Paul today on five felony counts of victimless drug charges. Paul had disputed one of the charges on the facts and had openly pursued jury nullification on the other four charges, which involved the sale of small amounts of marijuana. The buyer turned out to be an FBI-paid informant who had entrapped Paul in exchange for leniency for his own heroin offense.

In 2012, New Hampshire passed HB 146, a fully informed jury bill, which guaranteed defendants the ability in court “to inform the jury of its right to judge the facts and the application of the law in relation to the facts in controversy.” The measure took effect on January 1 of this year.

While the defense did make the case for jury nullification, the judge undermined the intent of the law through misinformation in the instructions he issued to the jury. An attendee at the trial reported on the Free Keene Facebook page that, “Judge John C. Kissinger is reading jury instructions, where he is emphasizing the word “I” in his claim that the jury “must follow the law as *I* explain it”.”

Iloilo Jones, Executive Director of the Fully Informed Jury Association comments that, “This is a case in which a dishonest judge committed perjury in the instructions, by speaking against the authority of the jurors of New Hampshire. He used the influence of office and costume to persuade uninformed jurors to sacrifice the authority of conscience and the true role of jurors. Judge Kissinger intoned once again from the robe of office to confuse and convince the intimidated jurors to obey the laws of the government. It is no surprise that completely confused jurors would scatter in disarray before the overwhelming and intimidating power of the state.”

“Few (uninformed) jurors understand that their role is to protect fellow citizens from government tyranny, and that their first consideration is to protect the person on trial from the viciousness, greed, and ambition of government-paid employees of the same government that is making these laws, which violate human rights no less than slavery laws violated human rights,” Jones said. “It was informed jurors who helped to end slavery. Informed jurors today can help end all government abuses of human rights that are committed by government employees. Jurors are to protect people from these cruel laws, which make us slaves of government. Government wishes to own our bodies, our lives, and our productivity.”

FIJA National Coordinator Kirsten Tynan notes the blatant and unfair double standard at work in this case. “Judge Kissinger reportedly refused to include any information about jury nullification in the jury instructions and then explicitly misinformed jurors by telling them that they must follow the law as he gave it to them. He seemed intent on bullying jurors into following the letter of the law, yet he was perfectly willing to undermine it himself with false information in the instructions he delivered to them.”

Jones notes that such bullying behavior has a dramatic and chilling effect on our rights to due process and trial by jury. “If jurors are threatened, taught, and warned not to render a verdict based on their own conscience by the dishonest, government-paid judge running the courtroom, then jury trial even in New Hampshire is a sham designed to uphold the government and its employees and enforcers, rather than what jury trial is meant to be: a protection of the individual person against the ravages, greed, ambition, and dishonesty of government employees, including dishonest judges.”

In the face of such misconduct, says Jones, there is only one just remedy. “A new trial before a fully informed and honestly selected jury, with an honest judge presiding, is necessary in any case where the judge lies to the jury. This case, as with all cases before dishonest judges, must be retried before an informed and unintimidated jury,” said Jones.

About 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 Constitutional 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 the human rights of the defendant.

Contact Information:
Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA)
(406) 442-7800
aji@fija.org
P.O. Box 5570
Helena, MT 59604-5570

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Jury Nullification | 18 Apr 2013

-Rich Paul Found Guilty on All Counts Despite Jury Nullification Defense

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RichPaulWe have word that, after deliberating for about 3 hours, the jury returned Guilty verdicts on all five counts in the Rich Paul case this week in New Hampshire. It seems as though the judge in this case gave the jurors some misinformation in his instructions to the jury, stating that they must follow the law as he gave it to them. With both attorneys acknowledging in their closing arguments that the jurors had the right and/or power to acquit the defendant even if they found he had technically violated the law, the judge’s instructions may have confused the issue. We will continue to follow this case for any word of a potential appeal.

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