Fully Informed Jury Association

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FIJActivist & Jury Nullification & Jury Rights Day & Lunch Break for Liberty | 16 Aug 2013

-Jury Nullification History: The First Jury Rights Day


The very first Jury Rights Day celebrations took place 22 years ago on September 5, 1991 when FIJA called for activists nationwide to spent an hour handing out juror education outreach material in their communities. Our inaugural Jury Rights Day announcement is below.

How will YOU be spending Jury Rights Day in 2013? Is there an event planned in your community? If not, can you get two or three friends together to spend some time during your lunch hour or after work to share FIJA’s message in your community? Let us know where you’ll be and when so we can add your celebration to our Jury Rights Day Calendar of Events!


Hey, activist, can you spare an hour?

Noon hour, September 5, 1991, should be sixty minutes of fun and high-impact education all across the United States, as FIJA activists take to the steps of courthouses in their own local communities, handing out a special “Jury Rights Day” version of our TRUE or FALSE? brochure to whoever will accept one.

If, for one hour of one day (more if you have time), you can break from routine and “go active”, you will be part of an utterly decentralized, but fully coordinated team of jury-rights proponents skipping lunch to tell the entire nation about FIJA! The plan is this:

At each courthouse, everyone from judge to janitor will be offered a brochure, in honor of the day, 321 years ago, when Edward Bushell and his fellow jurors refused to convict William Penn, arrested in London for preaching an illegal religion (Quakerism) to those who voluntarily–but also illegally–gathered to listen.

Nine weeks later, after Bushell and three others had been imprisoned for this audacity in a brutal facility, the English Court of Common Pleas voted to release them, and without forcing them to change their verdict.

This was a milestone in English-American legal tradition, because it not only established the power of the jury to find whatever verdict it wishes, without punishment, but also the rights of free speech and peaceable assembly.

We at FIJA figure that 1991 is the perfect year to begin celebrating that event as “Jury Rights Day”, since it is the 200th anniversary of the American Bill of Rights, which not only protects our freedoms of speech and assembly, but also their guardian: our right to trial by a jury of fellow citizens. We of course intend to make the most of the fact that the nation will simultaneously be honoring the very document we seek to protect with fully informed juries.

Leading off the day, at noon EDT, we’ll hold a national news conference and rally at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC, where spokespersons from a wide range of organizations will speak on the importance of the jury system for individual justice and for maintaining citizen control of our government.

We’re hoping this summer to persuade a U.S. Representative or Senator to introduce legislation naming September 5 as “National Jury Rights Day” then to kick off the “JRD” rally with a speech on that subject. [We’ll report on this when we list all confirmed speakers in the Summer FIJActivist.]

The national media will be given packets of information about FIJA, and a list of all other locations around the United States where literature is being distributed–including yours, provided we have confirmation from you in time to include your name and the courthouse where you’ll be.

The longer and more geographically representative the list, of course, the more impressed the media will be…and the better will be our chance to access and educate millions of Americans in their rights as jurors, drawing their attention to the full meaning of the 6th and 7th Amendments.

How to get your materials? Easy: send us your order, ASAP!

If you want to take full advantage of the media potential for the celebration, order the “JRD” Action Kit that we’re making available for $25. The kit will contain a FIJA t-shirt, 11 x 17″
poster, button, bumper sticker, a “fill-in-the blanks” news release, 250 brochures and an action plan.

We’re also working out details of cost and production of a 3’x 5′ banner, useful both for Jury Rights Day and for other FIJA events. Please let us know if you’re interested, and we’ll get the best price we can.

The enclosed order blank is the most convenient way to tell us “YES–I CAN SPARE AN HOUR!”, and to order your materials. Kits, banners and posters are still in the preparation stage, and will be produced in quantities equal to the orders we receive by July 15. After that, we cannot guarantee to fill your orders for these items, though we’ll try. As a last-minute option, we can send master copies of brochures, which you can reproduce locally.

Contributions in excess of item prices listed are of course welcome, to help defray expenses of travel, communication, renting and setting up equipment for (and cleaning up after) the
rally and national news conference. Contributions are especially appropriate if you cannot participate, but want to help ensure the success and maximize the impact of the first annual celebration of Jury Rights Day.

Thank you for your hour(s), your dollar(s), or both!