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Jury Nullification & Jury Rights Day | 16 Sep 2014

-Jury Rights Day: Jury Nullification Outreach in Camden, New Jersey

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JRD_brightblue_square_438x441This Jury Rights Day report comes to us from Rev. Deborah Kalinowski, who singlehandedly hosted Jury Rights Day outreach in Camden, New Jersey in three shifts. We are particularly thrilled to see jury nullification outreach in Camden, which is home to one of the most notable cases of jury nullification in modern United States jurisprudence—the trial of the Camden 28. Supreme Court Justice William Brendan would refer to the Camden 28 as “one of the great trials of the 20th century.” How appropriate it is to celebrate Jury Rights Day in this community!

Thank you so much to Rev. Kalinowski for her efforts. We share her event report and photos from her outreach below. If you are interested in continuing jury nullification outreach in Camden or elsewhere in New Jersey, please join the New Jersey FIJA Facebook page or get in touch with us in the FIJA National office and we will help you connect with local activists.

Camden, NJ Jury Rights Day 2014 Outreach Report
By Rev. Deborah Kalinowski

I arrived at the Camden County Hall of Justice at 7:30 AM on Sept. 5, 2014 and set up in the common area (near some picnic tables) right in front of the building. I had a sign and plenty of FIJA literature to hand out. My husband, David, was nearby with his camera, ready to take some photos of the event. I began handing out brochures to folks who were on their way into the Hall of Justice. Two Camden police officers stopped by and spoke with my husband. They wanted to make sure he wasn’t photographing any of the court employees as they entered the building. He wasn’t, so all was well. The police had no problem with where we were set up to distribute literature. During the 7:30 AM – 9:00 AM shift, I gave out a total of 36 FIJA brochures to citizens, lawyers and court employees.

At 11:30 AM, I returned to the same spot in front of the Hall of Justice to distribute jury rights information to the lunchtime crowd. Between 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM, I handed out 31 FIJA brochures. I noticed that more court employees and attorneys were coming over to me and asking for the literature during their lunch breaks.

My third and final shift at the Hall of Justice was from 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM. Fourteen more brochures found their way into the hands of eager court employees who were leaving at the end of their work day. One female court employee I spoke with told me that the courthouse employees do indeed get called for jury duty. This employee felt it was very important that she learn her rights as a juror.

During my three shifts, I distributed a total of 81 FIJA brochures at my Jury Rights Day event. That’s 81 new fully informed jurors added to the jury pool in Camden County, NJ! None of the 9 other people who had signed up for this event were able to make it, but I made sure the event went on anyway. This was my first time doing a courthouse jury rights outreach. It was a pleasant and positive experience because the folks who accepted literature from me were so receptive. I will definitely be doing this again in the near future!

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