Fully Informed Jury Association

Are you fully informed about jury nullification?

Freedom Friday & Jury Nullification | 08 Feb 2013

-FREEDOM FRIDAY: War on Health

Share

This week’s Freedom Friday video is long, but well worth a full viewing. When you have time, please take an hour to watch this documentary entitled War on Health, which extensively details how the legal system is abused to favor corporate cronies with government connections in the food and pharmaceutical industries by driving their competitors out of business and by keeping scientific information unfavorable to their businesses out of the public view.

Recent jury nullification cases have revolved around issues in the War on Health including voluntary use of marijuana for medical purposes and voluntary consumption of raw milk. As you watch, please keep in mind the part that independent jurors can play in protecting our human right of ownership and control of our own bodies.

If you would like to recommend a jury-related video for Freedom Friday, let us know in the FIJA forum or by sending an e-mail to us at aji(at)fija.org/aie653l.

Share

Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 07 Feb 2013

-Anniversary of Georgia v. Brailsford

Share

Today’s episode of a podcast called 365 Days of Liberty celebrates the anniversary of the third Georgia v. Brailsford case, a notable milestone in the history of the jury. In the Opinion of the Court in Georgia v. Brailsford, first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court John Jay clearly articulated on this day in 1794 the right of jurors to judge the law as well as the facts of the case at hand:

It may not be amiss, here, Gentlemen, to remind you of the good old rule, that on questions of fact, it is the province of the jury, on questions of law, it is the province of the court to decide. But it must be observed that by the same law, which recognizes this reasonable distribution of jurisdiction, you have nevertheless a right to take upon yourselves to judge of both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy. On this, and on every other occasion, however, we have no doubt, you will pay that respect, which is due to the opinion of the court: For, as on the one hand, it is presumed, that juries are the best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumbable, that the court are the best judges of the law. But still both objects are lawfully, within your power of decision.

Click through to listen to the full audio podcast.

Share

Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 06 Feb 2013

-Ham Sandwich Nation: Due Process When Everything is a Crime

Share

In this recent paper, Glenn Harlan Reynolds discusses the detrimental consequences to individuals’ right to due process of overcriminalization and prosecutorial abuse facilitated by prosecutorial immunity.

Ham Sandwich Nation: Due Process When Everything is a Crime

Given the vast web of legislation and regulation that exists today, virtually any American is at risk of prosecution should a prosecutor decide that they are, in Jackson’s words, a person “he should get.”

As Tim Wu recounted in 2007, a popular game in the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York was to name a famous person–Mother Teresa, or John Lennon-and decide how they could be prosecuted.:

And, once charged with a crime, citizens are in a tough position. First, they must bear the costs of a defense, unless they’re indigent. Second, even if they consider themselves entirely innocent, they will face strong pressure to accept a plea bargain, pressure made worse by the modern tendency of prosecutors to overcharge with extensive “kitchen-­‐sink” indictments: When facing a hundred felony charges, the prospect that a jury might go along with even one of them is enough to make a plea deal look attractive, something that many prosecutors count on. Then, of course, there are the reputational damages involved, which may be of greatest importance precisely in cases where political motivations might be involved. And prosecutors have no countervailing incentives not to overcharge. A defendant who makes the wrong choice will wind up in jail; a prosecutor who charges improperly will suffer little, if any, adverse consequence beyond a poor win/loss record. Prosecutors are even absolutely immune from lawsuits over misconduct in their prosecutorial capacity.

Click through for the abstract and a link to download the entire paper for free in .pdf format.

Remember that while prosecutors have discretion regarding who to charge and with what offenses, jurors also hold the power to check abuse of that discretion through their right and ability to refuse to enforce laws that are inherently unfair or are applied unjustly. By re-integrating into our culture the important concept of jurors’ right and responsibility to judge the fairness of the law and its application in the case at hand, and to veto it with a Not Guilty vote if necessary to deliver a just verdict, we can protect our human rights against prosecutorial abuse. Please take time this week to share FIJA’s message with 3 people in your community and let us know how it went!

Share

Function of Juries & Jury Nullification & Missive of the Month | 01 Feb 2013

-MISSIVE OF THE MONTH: Juries can check the government

Share

Many thanks to Montana State Contact Mike Fellows for submitting the following letter to the Ravalli Republic:

Juries can check the government

The talk of gun bans continues to be heard around this nation. The Second Amendment was very clear on the issue, that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. We must protect our Bill of Rights and the Constitution. One way to protect the Bill of Rights, is by serving on a jury. The Founding Fathers saw juries, who were made up of our peers, as another check on abusive government.

So whether it’s protecting our gun rights, or protecting our rights under I-148, juries do have the power. Juries have always had the power to judge law and fact and to vote according to his or her conscience. Courts have said juries don’t have to follow the judge’s instructions, nor can juries be punished for their verdict. The judge will not inform you of these rights, but with this power we can stop unjust laws.

So when you are selected for jury duty, listen to the case and make your own decisions on guilt or innocence of the defendants. Prohibition was changed simply because juries refused to convict. Juries can send a signal to Washington, D.C. and Helena, that unconstitutional laws will not be enforced, by we the people.

Mike Fellows

Have you submitted a letter to the editor or a guest editorial to a local, regional, or national publication? Let us know about it to be part of our Missive of the Month campaign and have a shot at some great monthly prizes!

Share

Freedom Friday & Jurors Doing Justice & Jury Nullification | 01 Feb 2013

-FREEDOM FRIDAY: Jurors Doing Justice

Share

In this week’s Freedom Friday, Phil Mocek discusses his 2011 court victory in which a jury delivered a resounding No! to harassment of citizens by government agents enforcing their personal whims rather than the law. We posted about his case here.

FIJA spoke with Mocek regarding his jury’s role in protecting him from government agents who perjured themselves on the stand after deleting evidence from his video camera contradicting their stories. Thankfully, Phil was able to recover the evidence, and his jury did a great job of protecting all of our rights in the process of protecting Phil’s. Please take a few minutes today to pass this along to family and friends!

If you would like to recommend a jury-related video for Freedom Friday, let us know in the FIJA forum or by sending an e-mail to us at aji(at)fija.org/aie653l. And don’t forget that you can win cash and other prizes and have your own video featured on Freedom Friday by entering our Justice Through Jurors video contest. Details are right here.

Share

Jury Nullification | 28 Jan 2013

-Montana’s Fully Informed Jury Bill Scheduled for Hearing

Share

Note: While FIJA national does not take any position regarding any piece of legislation, we do track legislation that is relevant to our educational mission.

We have word that Montana’s fully informed jury bill HB 290, the Larry Dodge Fully Informed Jury Act, sponsored by Rep. Jerry O’Neil, is scheduled to be heard this coming Wednesday, January 30th before the House Judiciary Committee at 8 am. It is patterned after the New Hampshire bill which is now law.

FIJA Advisory Board member Roger Roots, J.D., Ph.D. recently wrote a headline article for the FIJA newsletter entitled “Jury Justice in Early Montana” (.pdf) detailing existing Montana Supreme Court precedent regarding jurors’ rights, writing:

The case, State v. Koch, 33 Mont. 490, 85 P. 272 (Mont. 1906), led to recognition by the Montana Supreme Court in 1906 that juries in Montana have the unchallengeable right to disregard the law and declare any criminal defendant to be not guilty regardless of the evidence.

Here are the exact words of the Montana Supreme Court in 1906:
“It has nevertheless always been recognized in practice in this jurisdiction, that the jury has 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.”

Share

Freedom Friday | 25 Jan 2013

-FREEDOM FRIDAY: David Gay Speaks Nullification at Albany, NY Gun Rights Rally

Share

Many thanks to all who shared the link to this week’s Freedom Friday video with us. In this video, David Gay discusses at an Albany, NY gun rights rally how nullification, including jury nullification, can be used to oppose unjust anti-gun laws. Special thanks to David for mentioning FIJA and directing his audience to our website to learn more!

We invite you to take a moment during your lunch break today to distribute the link to this blog post to your friends and family via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc. If you would like to recommend a jury-related video for Freedom Friday, let us know in the FIJA forum or by sending an e-mail to us at aji(at)fija.org.

Share

Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 22 Jan 2013

-Did You Miss Our 2013 Freedom Calendar?

Share

We sold out of our 2013 Freedom Calendars very quickly this year, with all of our stock gone before the end of 2012! If you were unable to get one before our supply was gone, you can still order one directly from the publisher. It will be slightly different than our version, without the FIJA logo and quotes specially selected by FIJA on the bottom of the back page.

To order your 2013 Freedom Calendar directly from the publisher, please visit

 

FreedomCalendar.com

 

Share

Jury Nullification | 19 Jan 2013

-Happy Lysander Spooner’s Birthday!

Share

On this day in 1808, Lysander Spooner was born in Athol, Massachusetts.

Spooner began his activist career openly defying Massachusetts courts of the day by setting up practice in Worcester after only three years of study with an attorney. As a non-college graduate, the law required him to do so for five years. He staunchly opposed professional licensing requirements as state-sponsored privileges and anti-competitive practice. The offending requirement was lifted in 1836.

He dedicated much effort throughout his life to adamant opposition to the concept of victimless “crimes” and punishment of them. Spooner expressed this opposition and more in such historical works as Vices Are Not Crimes (differentiating between acts a person takes which harm his or her own person or property and acts through which a person harms another person or another person’s property) and An Essay on Trial by Jury (.pdf).

Aa an active proponent of abolition, Spooner published in 1845 a book titled The Unconstitutionality of Slavery. As part of his abolitionist efforts, Spooner published pamphlets on defenses for escaped slaves including jury nullification. He also offered legal services to fugitives, often at no cost to the defendants.

You can download a .pdf version of An Essay on Trial by Jury from our website for free. If you would like to read more of Spooner’s works, you can pick up a copy of The Lysander Spooner Reader on sale now in our Media Catalog for 25% off our regular price.

Share

Freedom Friday & Jury Nullification | 18 Jan 2013

-FREEDOM FRIDAY: BE A MARTIN LUTHER KING JUROR

Share


One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
Letter from Birmingham Jail, 16 April 1963


 
 
 
This week’s Freedom Friday video asks us all to be Martin Luther King jurors and refuse to enforce unjust laws. Because an unjust law is no law at all, you have the right and responsibility when serving on a jury to refuse to convict a defendant accused to violating an unjust law. Paul Butler, law professor at George Washington University and author of Let’s Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice, explains how you can exercise your vote as a juror to defend peaceful people against unjust laws.

We invite you to distribute the link to this blog post to your friends and family via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc. as a conversation-starter as we approach Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Share

Jury Nullification & Volunteer | 17 Jan 2013

-New FIJA Campaign: Missive of the Month

Share

mis·sive

[mis-iv]
noun
1.a written message; letter.

Letters to the editor are a great way to reach a wide audience in your community. Even better-they cost you no more than the price of a pen, a piece of paper, an envelope, and a stamp to reach potentially hundreds or thousands of people. If you submit your letter by e-mail, it is virtually free!

To encourage wider use of this medium, we are announcing FIJA’s new

Missive of the Month

Campaign

Here’s how it will work:
1. You write and submit respectful and educational letters to the editor (or guest editorials) to local, regional, national, or online publications in which you inform readers about some aspect of the traditional, full authority of jurors to judge the law as well as the facts in a case at hand. Be sure to check each publication’s submission guidelines to make sure your letter is eligible to be published. Mention our website (FIJA.org is fine) and our toll-free number 1-800-TEL-JURY so that people may get more information beyond what you are able to include in your missive.

2. BCC: aji@fija.org in the e-mail, or mail us a hard copy of the letter or editorial you submitted along with information regarding to which publication you submitted it and when.

3. If your letter or editorial is published, send us a link to where it appears online, or send us a hard copy of your letter or editorial in print, including the publication title and date and the page number on which it was printed.

4. We will link to or publish some of these missives, and we will be crediting authors of these letters on the website as well. Each month, we will award small prizes such as bumper stickers, Citizens Rule Books, etc. to the author of each published missive, and we will randomly select one of the unpublished letters

5. At the end of the year, we will award FIJA prize packs with a variety of items from our catalog which will include our choice of such items as T-shirts, mugs, Spooner Readers, essays, and so on. Prize packs will go to the top three letter writers (ties will be broken by random drawing) plus one randomly drawn from all the other writers who participated.

In future months, we will be suggesting days of interest and other topics around which to craft a letter and we will be adding other ways you can participate in this campaign, but for now, reach for a pen or a keyboard!

For January, some suggested topics to which you might tie juror veto education right now are Gun Appreciation Day (January 19) and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 21). (Remember, you can also submit your letters after these events in reference to activities that were covered by the media.) Or you might choose to address a topic which is currently timely in your local area.

You can find salient points for Gun Appreciation Day in our Jury Protection for the Second Amendment brochure. We also have a collection of Quotes on Jury Authority and Jury Nullification that you may wish to draw from for material to use in your letter.

If you are not sure how to get started, feel free to adapt the following boilerplate Letter to the Editor. Do not just copy and paste it, but rather adapt it to be specifically relevant in your community with some points that are particularly timely or relevant.

Editor:

It is important to remember that political freedom embodied in such institutions as trial by jury is what distinguishes America from third-rate dictatorships around the world. As judges chip away at the foundations of trial by jury, we become less and less secure in our freedom. Of supreme importance is the independence of the jury. The jury is not there to rubber stamp the charges brought by the government, but rather to exercise their independent judgment and conscience, and ask whether justice is being served if they blindly follow the judge’s instructions on the law and enforce a bad law.

Share

Jury Nullification | 16 Jan 2013

-Jurors Can Protect Peaceful Gun Owners from Unjust Firearms Prosecutions

Share

Thanks to D.P. of Pittsburgh for his letter to SurvivalbBlog.com reminding everyone that jurors can refuse to convict defendants prosecuted under unjust laws, including unjust firearms prosecutions. And thanks also to Jim Rawles of SurvivalBlog.com for adding in a link to FIJA so that all readers may learn more about their ability to protect defendants from being punished for victimless activities.

Three Letters Re: Why Civilian Disarmament in the U.S. is Just a Statist Fantasy

IF, a ban is passed we still have options: Our judicial system was meant to provide protections from such unjust law, so we would still have the Sheriff (elected), Judges (also elected) and the jury (free peoples), who can respectively; 1) refuse to enforce, 2) refuse to try, 3) refuse to convict. If that message is made clear in local government no State prosecutor would dare bring a case in the first place. [JWR Adds: All Americans should familiarize themselves with the details of jury nullification. This may prove crucial, in the near future.]

You can only voluntarily give up/refuse to partake of your God given right (or blessing, but you can never ethically take away someone else’s (that is infringement/tyranny).

Thank you, – D.P. in Pittsburgh

Click through for the entire letter.

Share

Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 16 Jan 2013

-Rep. Gregory Files Bill on Jurors’ Rights (Georgia)

Share

Note: While FIJA national does not take any position regarding any piece of legislation, we do track legislation that is relevant to our educational mission.

News of the jurors’ rights bill we are tracking in Georgia is now being reported in the local media. From The Marietta Daily Journal:

Rep. Gregory Files Bill on Jurors’ Rights

As a juror, it is your duty to protect our citizens by sending criminals to jail; however, if you believe the defendant is being prosecuted under an unjust law, you have the right, and the constitutional and moral obligation to protect the defendant from tyrannical government and acquit,” Gregory said.

The freshman lawmaker described the procedure as a powerful, under-utilized final check-and-balance measure that citizens have against the arbitrary exercise of power “from an out-of-control government.”

As a juror, it is your duty to protect our citizens by sending criminals to jail; however, if you believe the defendant is being prosecuted under an unjust law, you have the right, and the constitutional and moral obligation to protect the defendant from tyrannical government and acquit,” Gregory said.

The freshman lawmaker described the procedure as a powerful, under-utilized final check-and-balance measure that citizens have against the arbitrary exercise of power “from an out-of-control government.”

We are very proud of our activists who have been educating everyone in Georgia regarding their power when serving as jurors to protect everyone’s human rights by refusing to rubber stamp malicious prosecutions and by refusing to enforce unjust laws. Thank you for your hard work!

Share

Jury Nullification | 16 Jan 2013

-Iowa State Jury Rights Bill

Share

While FIJA national does not support or oppose any piece of legislation, we do track legislation that is relevant to our educational mission. We have word from FIJA State Contact Dell Lawrence that a Jury Rights Bill will be introduced in the Iowa legislature this session. It has sponsors in both the Iowa House and Senate. The text of the bill as proposed is as follows:

An Act relating to jurors judging the law as well as finding the facts in a trial.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA:

Section 1. NEW SECTION. 624.39 Jury right to judge law.
1. In all cases where the state or a political subdivision of the state is the plaintiff, the rights of the defendant include the right to inform the jury of the jury’s right to judge the law as well as be finders of fact, and to render a verdict based upon conscience.
2.
a. The right of the jury to judge the law and to render a verdict based upon conscience in subsection 1 is absolute and shall not be limited by the rules of civil or criminal procedure, the juror’s oath, a court order, or a procedure or practice of the court.
b. A method or procedure shall not be used to exclude or limit the empanelment of a juror willing to exercise the right of a juror to judge the law and to render a verdict based upon conscience.
3. After a jury has been informed of the right to judge the law and to render a verdict based upon conscience, a party shall not be prohibited from presenting arguments to the jury which relate to issues of the law and conscience, including but not limited to the following:
a. The merit, intent, constitutionality, or applicability of the law in the case.
b. The motive, moral perspective, or circumstances of the defendant.
c. The degree and direction of guilt or actual harm done in the case.
d. The punishment, penalty, or other sanction that may be applied to the losing party.
4. It shall be grounds for a mistrial if the court prohibits a party from informing the jury about the right of the jury to judge the law and to render a verdict based upon conscience, to prohibit arguments appealing to conscience as provided in subsection 3, or to instruct a jury to not act as judges of the law.
EXPLANATION
This bill relates to jurors judging the law as well as acting as finders of fact in a trial.

The bill provides that in cases where the state or a political subdivision of the state is the plaintiff, the rights of the defendant include the right to inform the jury to judge the law as well as be finders of fact, and to render a verdict based upon the law and conscience.

The bill establishes the right of the jury to be absolute and not to be limited by the rules of civil or criminal procedure, the juror’s oath, a court order, or a procedure or practice of the court.

The bill prohibits the use of a method or procedure to exclude or limit the empanelment of a juror willing to exercise the right to judge the law.

Under the bill, a party may present evidence relating to the merit, intent, constitutionality, or applicability of the law in a case; the motive, moral perspective, or circumstances of the defendant; the degree and direction of guilt or actual harm done in the case; and the punishment or sanction which may be applied to the losing party in the case.
Under the bill, it is grounds for a mistrial if the court prohibits a party from informing the jury about the right of the jury to judge the law, to prohibit arguments appealing to conscience as provided in subsection 3, or to instruct a jury to not act as judges of the law.

The House version of the bill is numbered HF 542 and the Senate version is numbered SF 318.

Share

Jury Nullification | 14 Jan 2013

-Nullification: An Overview of Its Many Forms

Share

The Tenth Amendment Center defines nullification as “any act, or set of actions, that results in a particular law being declared unconstitutional and rendered null, void or even just unenforceable…” The following article provides an overview of five forms nullification may take. We excerpt the passage on jury nullification here, but you can click through to read the entire article.

Nullification: An Overview of its Many Forms

Jury nullification gives the accused in a case the opportunity to override an unjust law by appealing to the jury to judge not just the evidence, but the law itself. In cases where an individual’s back is up against the wall, it is a very important tool to have in one’s arsenal. This is true even when a judge forbids the use of such an appeal, as happened in the “NJ Weedman” case. A large part of the success of jury nullification depends greatly upon jurors knowing ahead of time about it, as it is likely judges will try to use the same tactic of forbidding appeals to it. Another part of the success of jury nullification depends on actually getting a trial, which disqualifies it as a tool against the NDAA, which provides for indefinite detention without trial, or ObamaCare, which imposes fines and jail time without trial.

Share

« Newer Entries - Older Entries »