Fully Informed Jury Association

Are you fully informed about jury nullification?

Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 02 Nov 2012

FREEDOM FRIDAY: ILOILO JONES ON THE POWER OF THE JURY

Share

In this week’s Freedom Friday video, Gary Franchi interviews FIJA director Iloilo Jones. She discusses the basics you need to know about the power of petit and grand and juries to protect us all from the abuse, over-reach, and political ambition of government agents.

Please take a moment today to post this to your social networks and e-mail it to your friends and family. 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

Jurors Doing Justice & Jury Nullification | 01 Nov 2012

Jury Nullification and the Ed Forchion Case

Share

Ed Forchion recently spoke with the Libertarian News Examiner regarding the question of whether or not any of his jurors in his recent Not Guilty court victory on a drug distribution charge exercised their right to nullify bad law. He discusses why he believes that, yes, some of the jurors did nullify. The interview is presented in two parts. Click the title above each of the excerpts to read Parts 1 and 2 of the interview in their entirety.


Jury Nullification: The Ed Forchion Interview

LNE: Did you use the actual words “jury nullification” or something that indicated that’s what you meant? What did you actually say?

Forchion: I never actually said the words “Jury Nullification” in trial (I’m not stupid) but I clearly said repeatedly that “the law was wrong and not I.” I openly said things like I’m “conviction proof.” I used the term “The law is wrong not I” and told the Jury I disregard the marijuana laws every day daily as do millions of other Americans, the law is a lie – I’ve been using marijuana throughout these proceedings, the cookies and brownies you’ve been watching me eat throughout this trial have been loaded with marijuana! I showed a picture of me with a carton of cigarettes and a pound of marijuana. I did present a case that the law was wrong, not I. I said in opening and closing statements in both trials that I was the victim here of a failed war on drugs! In my opinion everything I wanted to say was said except the words “Jury Nullification.” I absolutely told my Jury to nullify and I was acquitted.

Jury Nullification: The Ed Forchion Interview Part 2

LNE: Do you know for a fact that your acquittal was based on nullification or is that just your opinion? Did you talk to any juror afterwards who admitted to nullification?

Forchion: I truly believe the Jury did engage in jury nullification. Maybe not every juror but the end vote for acquittal was my goal. Two jurors spoke with me. One juror did it on film and I’m going to upload it onto YouTube soon. She said her grandmom has bone tumors similar to mine and she had no intention of putting me in prison. The other one simply said he totally agreed with what I said and had been following me for a long time.

Share

Jurors Doing Justice | 31 Oct 2012

Jury Nullification Keeps NJ Weedman Out of Jail; DEA Comes Calling

Share

Jury Nullification Keeps NJ Weedman Out of Jail; DEA Comes Calling

Last week, Ed Forchion, a.k.a. the NJ Weedman, was found not guilty of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute after being caught by cops in New Jersey with a pound of marijuana in his car. Formerly a perennial third party candidate in the state, the Weedman took his activism in support of legalizing marijuana to California, where he opened a medical marijuana dispensary. He was caught in New Jersey while visiting and wanted to use the trial to test New Jersey’s recent medical marijuana law, which requires registration and purchase from one of six dispensaries in the state. A pound of marijuana, because it is a lot of weed, automatically yields a possession with intent charge. The jury found him not guilty.

His California dispensary, meanwhile, had been raided in December by the DEA and, relentless, Forchion opened another one. The feds, though, have kept their eye on the Weedman.

Click through for the entire article.

Share

FIJA in the News & Function of Juries | 26 Oct 2012

Supermom vs. the Gutless Wonder That Is a Jury

Share

Becky Akers discusses the recent case of Andrea Abbott being convicted of disorderly conduct for verbally objecting to a TSA agent groping her 14-year-old daughter and herself. Jurors convicted Ms. Abbott of “disorderly conduct”-a charge that is liberally brought against defendants who don’t meekly submit to intrusive and abusive orders from government agents. This case illustrates yet again why we need independent, fully informed jurors, unwilling to obediently rubber stamp government prosecutions of people who do not compliantly submit to violations of their basic human rights.

Supermom vs. the Gutless Wonder That Is a Jury

You may remember Andrea Abbott: she was Mother of the Year in 2011 when she protested the TSA’s ogling and groping of her teen-aged daughter at Nashville International Airport. “According to an affidavit, Abbott first refused to allow her daughter – then 14 – to go through a body scan machine, saying she didn’t want ‘someone to see our bodies naked.’” Good for her! If Leviathan employed normal people instead of psychopaths, the TSA’s perverts would have profusely apologized for their voyeurism and pedophilia and slithered back to their sewer.

I occasionally hear from intrepid readers who vow to defy the TSA when it attacks them or their families at the checkpoint. I always advise against this: a far more effective and prudent course is to avoid nationalized aviation no matter what. Defiance so mild or natural that no rational person would recognize it as such – for really, what is more natural than a mother’s fight to protect her child? – will result in arrest. These folks then respond, “Fine, let the TSA call the cops, because any jury will exonerate me.”

Au contraire. Courts and juries were once more of a viable weapon against tyrants, and intended to be so, too: the Founding Fathers could not conceive that self-respecting adults would side with a dictatorial, abusive government against one of their own, that they would applaud the State’s savaging of a citizen who has done nothing wrong or, in Ms. Abbott’s case, behaved heroically.

Tragically, juries have degenerated until they are nothing but another of the State’s tools.

I applaud the vital and essential work of the Fully Informed Jury Association, but they struggle with a Herculean task. Until they succeed, no dissident should ever gamble his life and freedom on twelve snot-nosed, squalling babies.

Click through for the entire article.

Share

Freedom Friday & Jury Nullification | 26 Oct 2012

FREEDOM FRIDAY: LIZ MCDUFFIE’S EPIPHANY

Share

Liz McDuffie, Director of the Medical Cannabis Caregivers training program in Pasadena, California discusses her epiphany about jury nullification after a heated argument with “The Human Solution” founder Joe Grumbine. Initially, Ms. McDuffie was not on board with Mr. Grumbine’s call for jury nullification advocacy, but changed her mind after her exchange with Mr. Grumbine. “I realized that I needed to be there and should be there and wasn’t there for [medical marijuana provider Aaron] Sandusky, on the basis that he was being tried with a law that is hideously unjust, and that I as a juror have the ability to save that man ten years in prison,” said Ms. McDuffie.

Please take a moment today to post this to your social networks and e-mail it to your friends and family. 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

Jury Nullification | 25 Oct 2012

Shall one attempt to get out of jury duty, or to get on jury duty, and why?

Share

An interesting discussion has begun here:

https://fija.org/forums/index.php?topic=1838.msg2898#new

Please read and comment.  What is your take?  Get on the jury and protect a neighbor, or get out of jury duty because you consider it slavery, and leave the person fend without your ethical certainty?

Share

FIJA in the News & Function of Juries | 25 Oct 2012

Don’t like marijuana – or other – laws? Change them.

Share

By JEFF EDELSTEIN

But make no mistake: I don’t like the Man. Don’t want to be the Man, either. Not only do I hate being told what to do, I equally hate telling others what to do. I’d be an anarchist, except that just seems too messy. I guess I’m a Libertarian, but an arch conservative within that movement. More or less.

And all the above add up to me being a strong proponent of the idea of jury nullification.

For those who don’t know what “jury nullification” means, here’s a quick and dirty definition: Finding someone innocent of a crime despite the fact they are stone guilty simply because you don’t agree with the law..

Read the rest here. You can make a difference against unjust laws.

Share

Jury Nullification | 20 Oct 2012

NJ “Weedman” Found Not Guilty in Jury Nullification Victory

Share

By JG Vibes

With few options left for people to protect themselves from the ever growing police state, an old and long forgotten aspect of constitutional law is making a huge comeback, and becoming very popular in cases where people are facing jail time for nonviolent offenses.

This reemerging defense is the act of jury nullification, which is basically the right for any juror to not only judge the facts of the case, but to also actually judge the validity of the law itself.

This means that if a jury feels that a defendant is facing an unjust charge they actually have the right to rule in their favor even if they are technically guilty.

Read the rest here.

Share

FIJA in the News & Jury Nullification & Volunteer | 19 Oct 2012

Montco Man Arrested Handing Out Fliers at NJWeedman Trial

Share

Montco man arrested handing out fliers at NJWeedman trial

A Pennsylvania man said he will pursue legal action against the Burlington County Sheriff’s Department and individual officers for his arrest Wednesday while handing out fliers about jury rights outside the county complex.

Fernando Antonio Salguero and five others were handing out pamphlets from the Fully Informed Jury Association in the morning on Rancocas Road, spurred into activism by the continuing Ed “NJWeedman” Forchion trial at the Burlington County Courthouse.

The group members were approached by a handful of county sheriff’s officers as they distributed the fliers, which highlighted jurors’ rights and jury nullification, an argument Forchion was barred from presenting at his criminal trial.

“They accused us of jury tampering. We were not targeting jurors. We were giving out pamphlets to everyone, the same way we have done a few times over the past two weeks, without incident,” Salguero said.

Click through for the entire article.

According to the article, Salguero was arrested–not for handing out fliers–but rather for two 12-year-old traffic violations he says were paid years ago. Further, the article reports that Sheriff Jean Stanfield said that this type of outreach activity is not prohibited by law unless it blocks any entrance to the building. The activists who were harassed while exercising their First Amendment rights reportedly will take legal action against those who bullied and threatened them and arrested one of them.

We remind all FIJA activists who do outreach near courthouses of our guidelines for Handing Out FIJA Literature Around Courthouses. While there is no way to guarantee you won’t be harassed by people whose actions are shielded from accountability by their badges, these guidelines can help you reduce the risk of and mitigate the consequences of bullying by law enforcement and other government agents. Please review them and make a plan ahead of time with your fellow activists before doing sidewalk outreach near courthouses.

Share

Jurors Doing Justice | 18 Oct 2012

N.J.’s ‘Weedman’ Found Not Guilty

Share

N.J.’s ‘Weedman’ Found Not Guilty

Ed Forchion, known as New Jersey’s ‘Weedman’, was found not guilty on charges of distribution on Thursday.

The jury deliberated for one hour before returning a 12-0 vote of not guilty.

Click through for the entire article.

Mr. Forchion had some post-victory comments:

This was a particularly malicious prosecution against Mr. Forchion. Both a prosecution witness and a defense witness in his case reportedly testified that it’s a matter of policy to charge everyone caught with a certain amount of pot or more with “distribution” regardless of lack of other evidence. The prosecution apparently assumed that it didn’t have to prove the charge, but rather that it could lead the jury into assuming that possession of a certain amount of pot should automatically be interpreted as an intent to distribute.

Mr. Forchion prevailed in spite of the deck being egregiously stacked against him. He went toe to toe with a tax-funded prosecutor flush with resources, bullying him with a malicious charge he couldn’t make a case for- even on the second try! He made his case to the jury in spite of the judge in the case carefully filtering out pertinent information to keep the jury from considering it in their deliberations.

We thank the jurors for their service and for delivering justice to a peaceful individual who has harmed nobody. Mr. Forchion was previously convicted of marijuana possession, but his conviction of that victimless offense is being appealed.

Share

Jury Nullification | 18 Oct 2012

NJWeedman Jury Now Deliberating Pot Distribution Case

Share

We have an update on the Ed Forchion case, in which Mr. Forchion attempted to argue jury nullification before his jurors. Mr. Forchion’s comments during closing arguments were shut down by the judge, and the case is now in the hands of the jury.

NJWeedman Jury Now Deliberating Pot Distribution Case

Ed Forchion, formerly of Pemberton Township, tried to introduce his jury nullification argument into the closing, but was quickly stopped by Superior Court Judge Charles Delehey, who had barred any discussion of it.

Forchion began verbally sparring with Delehey, who then ordered the jury out of the room and told the defendant he would be held in contempt if he continued to ignore the court’s orders.

“If you want to make a martyr of yourself, the court will deal with you,” the judge said. “You’ve done everything you can to disrupt this trial.”

Jury nullification would allow the jurors to disregard the law they were ordered to follow in considering the case and acquit a defendant, no matter what the evidence, in effect nullifying or invalidating the law.

Click through for the entire article.

Share

Function of Juries | 17 Oct 2012

Occupy Portland Wins Right to [Some] Jury Trials

Share

We recently brought you news of an Oregon Appeals Court ruling regarding denial of a jury trial in the case of Tawanna Fuller. This ruling called into question legal maneuvering used by government officials to visibly brand accused persons as criminals in public while reducing their charges to mere violations which could be denied jury trials once out of sight behind courthouse doors.

Such maneuvering was being used in dozens of Occupy Portland cases. When the ruling was issued, Occupy Portland cases scheduled for bench trials were halted while application of the ruling to the various cases was sorted out. According to The Portland Mercury, it appears that the ruling will apply to some, but not all of the Occupy Portland cases:

Occupy Portland Wins Right to Jury Trials—Will Dismissals Follow?

After more than eight months of fighting—and in what amounts to a huge, and hugely complicated, legal victory—many Occupy Portland defendants have finally won the right to jury trials.

This morning in the Multnomah County Courthouse, Judge Cheryl Albrecht ruled that a recent appellate court decision does indeed apply to some, but not all, Occupy cases. The decision is this: Occupiers who were originally arrested on criminal trespass charges that were later reduced to violations can now get both state-paid legal counsel and trials in front of a jury, not just a judge.

We applaud the wider access to jury trials that this ruling affords criminal defendants, but unfortunately, political gamesmanship continues to be used to deny some defendants in Oregon those rights which are supposedly guaranteed to them by the highest laws of the land. “The laws have become mere toys in the hands of politicians and government agents,” notes FIJA Director Iloilo Jones.

The Portland Mercury article continues:

Of course, not all occupiers will get jury trials. Albrecht’s decision does not apply to defendants originally arrested on charges—like interfering with a police officer—that also were reduced to violations. These cases will proceed without jury trials. (At one point, these cases were going to get trials under a previous ruling. However the DA responded to that ruling by dropping most of these charges for violations that didn’t qualify for juries or legal counsel. And now, occupiers with these charges don’t fall under the new appellate court ruling). That means cases like the one against Liz Nichols—the infamously pepper-sprayed occupier—won’t change.

The rights of defendants in Oregon in criminal cases couldn’t be clearer. Both the United States Constitution and the Constitution of Oregon guarantee trial by jury to Oregon defendants IN ALL CRIMINAL CASES.

Per Amendment VI of the United States Constitution:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Per Article I, Section 11 of the Constitution of Oregon:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall have the right to public trial by an impartial jury in the county in which the offense shall have been committed; to be heard by himself and counsel; to demand the nature and cause of the accusation against him, and to have a copy thereof; to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; provided, however, that any accused person, in other than capital cases, and with the consent of the trial judge, may elect to waive trial by jury and consent to be tried by the judge of the court alone, such election to be in writing; provided, however, that in the circuit court ten members of the jury may render a verdict of guilty or not guilty, save and except a verdict of guilty of first degree murder, which shall be found only by a unanimous verdict, and not otherwise; provided further, that the existing laws and constitutional provisions relative to criminal prosecutions shall be continued and remain in effect as to all prosecutions for crimes committed before the taking effect of this amendment.

Government officials’ selective recognition and defense of defendants’ rights blatantly violates the laws under which the courts are supposed to operate. If government agents cannot even be trusted to abide by the laws which supposedly constrain them, they certainly cannot be trusted to administer and enforce the law justly against criminal defendants. This is why we must continue to demand that defendants have access to trials by jury and why we seek to educate all people about the role of independent jurors in delivering justice, not only by determining the facts in the case at hand, but also by exercising their traditional, legal authority to refuse to enforce corrupt or unjustly applied laws.

Share

Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 17 Oct 2012

Liberty and the Law: The Case for Jury Nullification

Share

Liberty and the Law: The Case for Jury Nullification

Trial by jury may hold the key for unlocking a powerful check on the limits of government. In the United States, and many other common law nations, jurors possess the power to judge both the matters of fact (i.e., whether or not the defendant broke the law) and the matters of law (i.e., whether or not breaking the law in question is worthy of punishment). In other words, jurors may decide to find a defendant “not guilty” even though they may very well find the defendant to be guilty of committing the crime in question. The purpose of such a declaration is to rebel against a law which the jury believes is unjust. This action not only sends a message to government officials, legislators and judicial figures alike, but it also has the profound impact of saving the future wellbeing of the defendant, who may be guilty of committing a crime, but the law which was broken was an unjust law to start with.

What is unique about this check on government is that it is derived directly from the populace and not through the legislature. Jury nullification allows citizens to walk the careful line between populism and legislative tyranny. While long-term legislative reform may be necessary for the long-term shift towards a free society, reform is a slow and arduous process and may fall victim to perversions. As insights into public choice theory and democratic research shows legislatures are fallible and capable of creating unjust laws in order to appease special interest groups or out of pure ignorance (see Tony Cotzias’ post “Anyone Still For Democracy?”). Jury nullification obviates the obstructive and often slow hand of reform and works as a short-term cure for a larger ill. Similarly, unlike legislative reform, which often requires that one is a political insider, and unlike judicial reform, which requires similar specialization, jury nullification is carried out by the average citizens that make up a jury of one’s peers. This is not only true in theory but also in practice. Nullifying juries have been made up of blue-collar workers and white-collar businessmen alike, and rarely, if ever, include experts in common law. Jury nullification truly is the common man’s path around injustice.

Click through for the entire article.

Share

Jury Nullification | 16 Oct 2012

Weedman Seeking ‘Pothead’ for His Jury

Share

While the Fully Informed Jury Association takes no position on this case, we are following it closely as the case relates to issues of jurors’ rights and responsibilities. The defendant, Ed Forchion, has openly stated his intention to argue for jury nullification. This case is a retrial on a drug distribution charge following a previous hung jury on this same charge. His trial had previously been scheduled to start on September 5, which is Jury Rights Day, but was rescheduled to October.

Weedman seeking ‘pothead’ for his jury

He [defendant Ed Forchion] also has been barred from presenting a jury-nullification defense, which Forchion said would allow the panel to reject the law it will be instructed to follow and acquit him.

Forchion, a self-proclaimed “superhero to the potheads,” has taken to the Internet and social networking sites for support, calling for “potheads everywhere” to “occupy my courtroom.”

Three supporters watched Wednesday’s proceedings as potential jurors were asked about their feelings on the war on drugs and their ability to follow the law.

Click through for the entire article.

Share

Jury Nullification | 14 Oct 2012

Jury Nullification Continues to Gain Traction Across the United States

Share

If We the People have a Constitution, then our rights should continue to foster the cause of liberty and strike down laws which violate that foundation, otherwise we will inadvertently give power to the tyranny of the majority.

The Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA), who would probably agree with the aforementioned critique, is a group dedicating themselves to educate the American populace on the full powers of jurors, which includes the right to judge the merits of the law as well as the applications.

FIJA goes into further detail on how to protect citizens from abuses of power.

“The primary function of the Independent juror is not, as many think, to dispense punishment to fellow citizens accused of breaking various laws, but rather to protect fellow citizens from tyrannical abuses of power by government.

The Constitution guarantees you the right to trial by jury.

This means that government must bring its case before a jury of The People if government wants to deprive any person of life, liberty, or property.  Jurors can say no to government tyranny by refusing to convict.”

Currently FIJA bills have been introduced in Arizona, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and South Dakota.

Read the entire article here.

Share

« Newer Entries - Older Entries »