Presentation on theme: "Jury Nullification. What Is Jury Nullification? It is not only the right and duty of juries to judge what are the facts, what is the law, and what was."— Presentation transcript:
What Is Jury Nullification? It is not only the right and duty of juries to judge what are the facts, what is the law, and what was the moral intent of the accused; but that it is also their right, and their primary and paramount duty, to judge of the justice of the law, and hold all laws invalid, that are, in their opinion, unjust or oppressive, and all persons guiltless in violating, or resisting the execution of, such laws. ~ Lysander Spooner Trial By Jury, 1852
"Jury nullification of law", as it is sometimes called, is a traditional American right defended by the Founding Fathers. Those Patriots intended the jury serve as one of the tests a law must pass before it assumes enough popular authority to be enforced... From The FIJA Report: History of Jury Nullification
… thus the Constitution provides five separate tribunals with veto power -- representatives, senate, executive, judges and jury -- that each enactment of law must pass before it gains the authority to punish those who choose to violate it.
Lets see what some of our Founders had to say about the purpose, and power, of the jury.
"I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution." ~ Thomas Jefferson
A government … held to the principles of its constitution. Held? By Who? (people), or What? (of the jury)
"It is not only his right [the juror's], but his duty... to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience even though in direct opposition to the direction of the court." ~ John Adams, 2 nd President
… even though in direct opposition to the direction of the court [judge]. We recognize, as appellants urge, the undisputed power of the jury to acquit, even if its verdict is contrary to the law as given by the judge and contrary to the evidence... If the jury feels that the law under which the defendant is accused is unjust, or that exigent circumstances justified the actions of the accused, or for any reason which appeals to their logic or passion, the jury has the power to acquit, and the courts must abide by that decision. ~ U.S. v. Moylan, 417 F.2d 1002, 1006 (4th Circuit Court of Appeals, 1969):
"You [the jurors] have, nevertheless, a right to take upon yourselves to judge of both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy." ~ John Jay, 1 st Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
"That in criminal cases, the law and fact being always blended, the jury, for reasons of a political and peculiar nature, for the security of life and liberty, is entrusted with the power of deciding both law and fact." ~ Alexander Hamilton, 1 st Secretary of the Treasury
… the jury … is entrusted with the power of deciding both law and fact. The Jury (of the people)… has final say on both matters.
Why Did Our Founding Fathers Expect Citizen Juries To Judge Our Laws As Well As The Guilt Of The Individual ?
In the years before our countrys birth on July 4, 1776, England had passed the Navigation Acts. These laws required that all trade with the colonies had to be routed through England so that England could collect duties. Smugglers defied the Acts and brought tax-free goods to the colonies. England, having no part of this, captured the smugglers, and they were tried before colonial juries. A Brief History
But, the jurors acquitted the smugglers, and thus, colonial juries nullified the Navigation Acts (bad law).
Not to be outdone, the King of England abolished trial by jury for smuggling cases, and established special courts to hear the smuggling cases without juries.
The colonists were so incensed at having their right to trial by jury, and their right to jury nullification, taken away from them that they listed this as one of the reasons in the Declaration of Independence for separation from England.
The American Revolution was fought, in part, to preserve the right of jury nullification.
Why Did Our Founding Fathers Expect Citizen Juries To Judge Our Laws As Well As The Guilt Of The Individual ? Back to our question …
Because: If a juror accepts as the law that which the judge states, then that juror has accepted the exercise of absolute authority of a government employee, and has surrendered a power and right that once was the citizen's safeguard of liberty. (1788) (2 Elliots Debates, 94, Bancroft, History of the Constitution, 267) Uninformed JurorYes your Honor …
Unfortunately, for our country … We The People, find ourselves in this position because we have been lied to. We have not been properly educated on this valuable tool that serves as a check and balance in our republican form of government.
With one piece of the puzzle missing, (the citizens veto) … we have an incomplete picture of the Founders intent regarding our understanding of our place in the functioning of our republic. Result? Tyranny will progress … virtually unhindered
Remember the Hierarchy! God Man Constitution LegislativeExecutiveJudicial
We have not been going in the right direction … for a long time. Gradually losing (through not using) our veto power.
What Went Wrong? Two major factors have contributed to create the state of ignorance we find ourselves in today. 1) The gradual dumbing down of the American public through the misuse of our public education system. 2) The natural inclination of a government to migrate toward oppression and excessive control of its citizenry.
What Went Wrong? One key element of this transition is the tyrannical trend of Judges to not let the jurors know of their right, and responsibility, to JUDGE THE LAW!
Representatives - Government Senate - Government Executive - Government Judges - Government Jury - People Government 4 People 0 As a result … we have been losing the game, and it could end up with a final score of:
But … as to the repeal of unjust or unpopular laws, legislators seldom go back and correct their mistakes without some prompting. While it is within the proper role of the legislature to pass laws, it is within the proper role of the jury to veto laws which the jury finds to be oppressive.
What is our solution?
Decide to stop right here, and quit playing the part of a pawn of the current style judiciary system, now in place across America …
… Make a U-turn
… and educate ourselves about our duty as a trial juror, and find our way back to performing these duties as intended.
Understand that our Declaration of Independence lists … as one of our Founders reasons to reject British rule … the right to retain jury trials and jury nullification.
And, our Constitutions 6 th, 7 th, and 9 th Amendments guarantee our right to jury trial and jury nullification.
Jury nullification remains the law of the land in every American jurisdiction. The ruling of Chief Justice Vaughan in Bushell's Case (1670), that the jury can not be punished for its verdict stands today in every jurisdiction, state and federal.
This, coupled with the rule that verdicts of acquittal are final, is the substance of the power of jury nullification. Unless either or both of these two pillars of freedom are eroded away, the power of jury nullification is, and will always be, the law of the land.
If the original intent of the Founders is our guide to the Constitution, then there is no doubt that jury nullification is a Constitutional right of both the defendant and of the jurors themselves; an unalienable part of the jurors' identity as sovereign citizens with the power to judge laws.
Rising, or Setting, Sun? In 1787 at a Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin was waiting to sign a document that would hold the fate and destiny of our nation. As he stood, his eyes fell upon a carving on the back of George Washington's chair, a carving of half a sun. He stared thoughtfully at it for a minute, then proclaimed words that would be remembered forever, I have often looked at that picture behind the president without being able to tell whether it was a rising or setting sun. Now at length I have the happiness to know that it is indeed a rising, not a setting sun." I have often looked at that picture behind the president without being able to tell whether it was a rising or setting sun. Now at length I have the happiness to know that it is indeed a rising, not a setting sun."
When Benjamin Franklin exited the Constitutional Convention, he was asked by a woman, Sir, what have you given us? His immediate response was, A Republic Maam, if you can keep it. A Republic Maam, if you can keep it.
If You Can Keep It Government, by its very nature, cannot restrain itself. The Constitution was created to restrict incursions and encroachments on the natural rights of the people. Government … not the people … is to be bound by the Constitution. But …
… With Liberty Comes Great Responsibility The Declaration of Independence Says: … that to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it … It is the peoples duty, their responsibility, to correct the wrong doing of their government.
We, The People, Are The Only Power Able To Prevent This From Becoming a Setting Sun.
Will You Do Your Part? Will You Do Your Part?
These Heroes Are Doing Their Part
They Have Done Theirs
What Will You Do?
What Can You Do?
I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do. ~ Edward Everett Hale ( )
A Suggestion Read, Study, and Research all you can about the founding of this great nation. Especially, The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, the Founders, and their Intent. You will find that the Declaration and the Constitution will serve as our Ruby Slippers.
Remember Dorothy and Her Ruby Slippers? … and the surprised look on her face when she learned she had the power to go home … all along.
Americas Ruby Slippers are The Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.
But they will do us NO GOOD if we dont get them out of the attic, dust them off, put them on, and WALK IN THEM.
Remember … even with all the power possessed by the Wicked Witch …
… she still did not have the power to remove the slippers from Dorothys feet. Photo copyright Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.
Grant Yourself Permission … Put the slippers on, keep them on, and prevent our Witch from continuing to attempt to remove them. In fact, DO NOT let the Witch get near them!
Grant Yourself Permission … We are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of Nature has placed in our power... the battle, sir, is not to the strong alone it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. ~ Patrick Henry
Grant Yourself Permission … Join In The Battle To Preserve What Our Founders Gave Us!
Take Action … The argument today is not whether a jury has the right to nullification, but whether or not they should be told about that right. In todays judicial environment, dont expect a courtroom attorney, or a judge to instruct you on this right. In fact, if they know you are a fully informed juror, you may not get seated. Stealth is the name of the game today. Know your rights and quietly use them in the deliberation room.
Take Action … An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied. ~ Arnold H. Glasow
Take Action … One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. ~ Plato
Take Action … Politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians. ~ Charles de Gaulle
Take Action … The most important political office is that of the private citizen. ~ Louis D. Brandeis
It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds. ~ Samuel Adams
Learn All You Can & Pass It On Because …
If Virtue & Knowledge are diffused among the People, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great Security. ~ Samuel Adams
And it is no less true, that personal security and private property rest entirely upon the wisdom, the stability, and the integrity of the courts of justice. ~ Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833
We, The People …
Source Information: Fully Informed Jury Association PO Box 5570 Helena, MT University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Law Book: Jury Nullification, The Evolution of a Doctrine by Clay S. Conrad Article: Jury Nullification: Empowering The Jury As The Fourth Branch Of Government by Justice William Goodloe