Fully Informed Jury Association

Are you fully informed about jury nullification?

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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