Fully Informed Jury Association

Are you fully informed about jury nullification?

Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 20 Jan 2012

Freedom Friday: Be a Martin Luther King Juror


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 today to distribute the link to this blog post to your friends and family via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc.


Jury Nullification | 18 Jan 2012

New Hampshire Senate to Take Up Jury Nullification Legislation


Note: This is posted for informational purposes only. FIJA does not endorse any candidate or piece of legislation.

Senate to Take Up Jury Nullification Legislation

The Senate will consider a bill today that would let defense attorneys tell jurors they can acquit a defendant even if there is sufficient evidence proving his guilt.

Yesterday, a day before the Senate would take up the bill, Rep. Susan DeLemus, a Rochester Republican, introduced a similar bill to the House Judiciary Committee… She introduced her bill, she said, because she wasn’t “super clear” if the previous version had actually found support in the Senate. A subcommittee of the Senate has recommended the full Senate pass the proposal.

Click through for the full article.


FIJA in the News & FIJActivist & Jury Nullification | 17 Jan 2012

Fully Informed Jury Association Billboard in Richmond, Virginia


Cop Block & Fully Informed Jury Association Billboards Going Up in Richmond!

On January 18th, 2012, two billboards with ads promoting police accountability and Jury Nullification will be displayed in the Richmond area. The initiative is being headed by Nathan Cox, an Army Veteran and activist for the cause of Liberty, during the week of MLK’s birthday.

It was King who stated: “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 moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

Dr. King understood well that just because one be in a position of power, doesn’t mean that person will act in a moral way. Two organizations that advocate justice and liberty are being promoted by Nathan Cox, who believes that people have the right to be treated fairly and equally by all, whether you wear a badge or a robe.

The second organization Mr. Cox would like to promote is FIJA (fija.org), or the Fully Informed Jury Association. FIJA is a non profit organization whose goal it is to inform citizens of their rights as a juror and that the juror’s mission should be to “protect fellow citizens from tyrannical abuses of power of government.” It has become the belief that the juror’s sole duty is to help decide the innocence or guilt of a fellow citizen as well as pass down punishment upon them. Jury nullification is one right of a juror that FIJA teaches about. The founders thought it was important for the people to have a counter to bad laws and practices, so made it possible for a jury to acquit defendants who are technically guilty. An example of how jury nullification works is during the time of slavery. Some jurors would refuse to convict people who were supposedly guilty of helping to free a slave. Slavery is immoral and therefore the people felt they needed to use jury nullification to work toward justice for slaves and those who helped them.

Click through for the entire press release.


Jury Nullification | 03 Jan 2012

New Iowa FIJA Newsletter


The FIJA group in Iowa has produced a new newsletter. Check it out here.


Jury Nullification | 31 Dec 2011

Occupy the Courthouse!


Click here to download the Occupy the Courthouse sticker template. It is a Word document formatted for Avery 5160 or other labels compatible with that template.

This is great to put on the backs of brochures or on other Jury Nullification handouts!


Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 21 Dec 2011

New York Times: Jurors Need to Know That They Can Say No


Professor of law and former federal prosecutor Paul Butler trusts jurors over power-grabbing prosecutors.

Jurors Need to Know That They Can Say No

How one feels about jury nullification ultimately depends on how much confidence one has in the jury system. Based on my experience, I trust jurors a lot. I first became interested in nullification when I prosecuted low-level drug crimes in Washington in 1990. Jurors here, who were predominantly African-American, nullified regularly because they were concerned about racially selective enforcement of the law.

Across the country, crime has fallen, but incarceration rates remain at near record levels. Last year, the New York City police made 50,000 arrests just for marijuana possession. Because prosecutors have discretion over whether to charge a suspect, and for what offense, they have more power than judges over the outcome of a case. They tend to throw the book at defendants, to compel them to plead guilty in return for less harsh sentences. In some jurisdictions, like Washington, prosecutors have responded to jurors who are fed up with their draconian tactics by lobbying lawmakers to take away the right to a jury trial in drug cases. That is precisely the kind of power grab that the Constitution’s framers were so concerned about.

Click through for the entire editorial.


FIJA in the News & Function of Juries | 29 Nov 2011

Prosecution Reveals Ignorance of the Function of the Jury


Oral arguments are scheduled for next month in a malicious prosecution of an activist distributing juror outreach brochures in New York. In a brief filed with the court, the prosecution reveals its ignorance of the function of the jury.

Prosecution Explains Jury Tampering Charge

“His speech is not protected by the First Amendment,” prosecutors wrote.

“No legal system could long survive,” they added, “if it gave every individual the option of disregarding with impunity any law which by his personal standard was judged morally untenable.”

Perhaps the prosecution is unaware that legal systems have survived just fine for centuries. Jury nullification was, after all, formally recognized in the Magna Carta in 1215.

Christopher Dunn, associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, also corrects the prosecutor’s ignorance:

“The government is dangerously wrong in claiming it can criminalize sidewalk advocacy supporting jury nullification. Other than the extremely limited situations in which someone seeks to influence a known juror in a case, jury nullification advocacy is squarely protected by the First Amendment.”

The prosecutor is apparently so entirely ignorant of the role of the jury that she is seeking to deny the defendant – who is at risk of six months in jail – his right to a trial by jury:

Mr. Heicklen, who could face a six-month sentence if convicted, has asked for a jury trial. Ms. Mermelstein, opposing that demand, cited as one reason Mr. Heicklen’s ardent stance that juries should nullify. He would probably “urge a jury to do so in a case against him,” she wrote.

Click through for the entire article.


FIJA in the News | 17 Nov 2011

Letter: Are jurors aware of this power?


Big thank you to Neal Weeks whose letter to the editor was published in today’s Naples Daily News in Naples, FL, complete with a link to FIJA’s website so readers can easily find more information!

Letter: Are jurors aware of this power?, by Neal Weeks

After years of dissatisfaction of our court system and wondering how a judge could overturn a jury decision, or why juries seemed to have no room for personal judgment of the case they are deciding, I came across a term I had never heard before: jury nullification.

This is a powerful term which apparently is never discussed or admitted to prospective jurors or sitting jurors.

Click through for the entire letter to the editor.


Function of Juries | 05 Nov 2011

Let a Thousand “Rogue” Grand Juries Bloom!


Let a Thousand “Rogue” Grand Juries Bloom!

Harris County’s 185th criminal court grand jury, which had been investigating problems with the BAT vans, called Culbertson to testify, along with former Harris County Prosecutor Brent Mayr. Lykos dispatched two members of her flying monkey corps – assistant DAs Carl Hobbs and Steve Morris – to “monitor” the grand jury testimony.

Since Lykos and her office were suspected of covering up the use of tainted evidence and retaliating against a whistleblower, the DA and her underlings were barred from being present in any capacity other than as sworn witnesses. Accordingly, when Lykos’s minions materialized during Culbertson’s testimony, the Grand Jury Foreman ordered them to leave. When that directive was ignored, the Foreman instructed the Baliff to remove them or place them under arrest.

“Today, the grand jury is the total captive of the prosecutor, who, if he is candid, will concede that he can indict anybody, at any time, for almost anything, before any grand jury,” wrote federal District Judge William J. Campbell in a 1973 law journal article calling for formal abolition of the institution on the grounds of redundancy. This isn’t to say that the grand jury is considered useless by the prosecutorial caste: It helps maintain the pretense that prosecutors are servants of the public will.

What is happening in Harris County is not an example of a grand jury going “rogue,” but rather one behaving exactly as it should. It is interposing itself on behalf of the public by investigating a federally subsidized revenue-collection racket, and the abusive prosecutor who presides over it. Hopefully its example will prove to be contagious.

Click through for the full article.


FIJA Calendar & FIJActivist & Volunteer | 23 Sep 2011

FIJA Will Be at the Cannabis Revival in Joplin, MO


Mitch Ricahards, FIJA State Contact for Missouri,
will speak at the
Cannabis Revival Music and Arts Festival
in Landreth Park;Joplin, MO
Saturday, 24 September at 1:15 pm

The festival is FREE, but organizers suggest a modest $10 donation (or whatever you deem fit) at the gate that comes with a give-a-way for your donation for you to remember the event by. Mitch will also host an outreach table starting around 11:00 am and will be there until about 6:00-7:00 pm. Volunteers are welcome to join him at the table.


FIJA in the News & Jury Rights Day & Volunteer | 13 Sep 2011

FIJA Activists Celebrate Jury Rights Day by Marching in Labor Day Parade


Left to right: Jordan Elliot, Jessica Perkins, Mike Angelos, and Michael D. Elliot.

East Moline’s Labor Day Parade was a fun filled day for many folks on Monday, September the 5th. Members of a local Ron Paul meetup and the local Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) in Illinois teamed up together to educate the large crowds that gathered together to watch East Moline’s Labor Day parade. Although Labor Day coincided with Jury Rights Day the year, the groups believe it provided for a unique opportunity to promote the importance of jury rights in our system of government.

The Illinois Liberty Alliance entry rolled through the parade with 11 volunteers, a white Ron Paul 2012 decorated van playing Ron Paul supporting music, two FIJA banners which read, “Called for Jury Duty? Know your Rights. FIJA.ORG”, over 3,500 pieces of literature, and bags of candy and balloons. The literature included Ron Paul newspapers made by an Iowa grassroots group and Jury Rights Day cards created by the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA).

Nancy Brandt of Henry County was the coordinator of this event. “We spent 5 1/2 hours stamping the literature with “Illinois Liberty Alliance. Find us at: SuperLiberty.com”. We enjoyed walking with the banners, and we distributed 1600-1700 Jury Rights Day cards at East Moline, Illinois’ Labor Day Parade. One man I gave a card to said, ‘I better look at this. I’ve got jury duty coming up.’ I told him to go to the FIJA website.” Nancy expects the cards to be good advertising tools for their local group.

Rafe Thrasher, a Ron Paul supporter in Illinois said, “Ron Paul is a huge promoter and educator of jury rights, so it makes sense that we join forces with the local Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) and help them promote Jury Rights Day in a Labor Day parade.”


Jury Rights Day & Volunteer | 08 Sep 2011

Juror Education in Celebration of Jury Rights Day at Ravalli County Fair


In celebration of Jury Rights Day, David and Leona Merrick and other Montana volunteers hosted a FIJA outreach table at the Ravalli County Fair. The fair, which has been held annually for more than a century, took place in Hamilton, Montana from 31 August through 3 September 2011. Drawing approximately 20,000 people, the Ravalli County Fair is the largest event in the county.

The outreach table featured FIJA outreach literature, including our brand new Fresh Air for Justice brochure, freely available for anyone to take. One of our brand new 6′ wide by 3′ high FIJA banners hung on the wall next to the table was easily visible all the way across the building. The banner was also carried in the Fair Parade kicking off the event.

Volunteers at the table were available to offer literature to passersby and to invite them to sign petitions for state initiatives, including a fully informed jury initiative. While FIJA National is a strictly educational organization that does not engage in political activities, state level groups and individuals not covered under our 501(c)3 status may do so at their discretion.

David and Leona Merrick reported that most responses to juror education outreach efforts were positive. “If they’re not in favor of jury nullification and they think that we’re kind of going against the grain, we just thank them for stopping by and for listening to our pitch. We try to give them, if they will take it, some further information on what the fully informed jury means,” David said.

“There are probably about a thousand or so, I’d guess, that we have talked to,” David estimated over the course of 4 days of outreach. He noted that they have distributed FIJA literature every year for the last few years at the fair. Several people who visited the table recognized the outreach effort from previous years.

Leona also credited FIJA’s eye-catching, yellow “We Are Everywhere” t-shirts for attracting people to the table to learn more. “I think we have passed out the most literature ever this year,” she said.


Jury Nullification & Jury Rights Day | 07 Sep 2011

Freedom by Jury


A Jury Rights Day editorial, written by Richard Schwartzman:

Freedom by Jury

We should be celebrating September 5 with at least as much exuberance and respect as we celebrate July 4 or Thanksgiving. It’s Jury Rights Day.

Little is made of the date. Most people are completely unaware of its historic significance and have never heard that jurors have rights. Yet it was on that date in 1670 when a group of jurors in London used their right and power to invalidate an unjust law.

We can draw a direct link between several of our First Amendment guarantees to jurors who decided that some laws are so bad that they would refuse to convict defendants prosecuted under those laws, even when directed to do so by a presiding judge.

It’s jury nullification. Some jurors risked their own freedom to exercise that right.

Click through to read the entire article.


Interviews & Jury Rights Day | 07 Sep 2011

FIJA Director Discusses Jury Rights Day, Northern Idaho Case


FIJA Director Iloilo Jones be on AmericanNewsNet.com radio show, KHNC 1360AM, on Wednesday, September 7, from 4-6 PM Mountain time. The call-in number is 877-254-7524.

She will be talking about Jury Rights Day and the growing need for informed jurors across the nation as government employees and politicians stray further away from the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Jurors are the primary protection of our human rights against corrupt government.

She will be commenting on the present case in Northern Idaho, regarding father who is being persecuted for protecting his children from a bear in the backyard. She will also discuss the protection that comes from our neighbors who form our juries—to protect us from the predatory, vicious actions of government, whether government is a king, a politician, a paid lackey, or a local bureaucrat who lives on your taxes.


Jury Rights Day | 05 Sep 2011

Jury Rights Day Proclamation in New Hampshire


Today, 5 September, is Jury Rights Day!

Dick Marple, FIJA State Contact for New Hampshire, sends us this proclamation from New Hampshire Governor John H. Lynch, declaring today Jury Appreciation Day in the State of New Hampshire:

We will be featuring news of more Jury Rights Day celebrations and outreach as reports come in. To let us know about YOUR event, please e-mail us details to aji(AT)fija(DOT)org.


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