Fully Informed Jury Association

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Jury Rights Day | 21 Aug 2008

Jury Rights Day ~ September 5


Jury Rights Day ~ September 5

On September 5 of this year, FIJA activists across the nation will once again celebrate the right of jurors to render a verdict based on conscience by handing out literature, writing letters to the editor, appearing on interviews, and speaking to groups. For more information, go to www.fija.org/aie653l.

September 5th marks the 338th anniversary of the trial of William Penn – a trial that laid the foundation of our First Amendment Constitutional Rights of Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, and Freedom of Peaceable Public Assembly. Many Governors have signed Proclamations in recognition of Jury Rights Day.

In 1670, Quaker William Penn of London was arrested, pled not guilty, and subsequently argued against England’s Conventicle Acts, which forbade the practice of religions other than the Church of England. The Judge instructed the Jurors to find Penn guilty. The Jurors’ refusal to enforce a bad law led to the Court jailing and withholding food and water from the Jurors.

On appeal, the right of Jurors to base their verdict on their best judgment and conscience, despite existing law and court instruction, was affirmed, and cemented the seldom-used but important right of  Jury Nullification of Bad Law  in all our legal systems – the ultimate right of the people to control their government.

These underlying common law concepts firmly establish the fact that Jurors cannot be punished for their verdict. As well, jurors are not required to give a reason for the verdict they render. The fundamental right of Jurors to render their verdict based on conscience is basic to the preservation of Justice, and to our Lawful Society.

– Jurors cannot be punished for their verdict.
– Jurors cannot be required to give a reason for their verdict.
– Jurors have both the authority and the human duty to render a verdict based on their individual sense of justice and their conscience.

Receive a free information packet by calling 1-800-TEL-JURY. Visit www.fija.org/aie653l.

For Immediate release
21 August, 2008
324 words
FIJA www.fija.org/aie653l
1-406-442-7800 aji@fija.org/aie653l
Iloilo Marguerite Jones, Executive Director