Saturday, August 14th, 2010...11:08 pm

Jury nullification

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(This is a reworking of a blog post from a few years ago before my blog was WordPress based.)

A few years ago, while listening to lectures by Steve Wilkins on “America: The First 350 Years”, I heard about jury nullification for the first time in my life.  I had paid attention in my public school classrooms, and I can guarantee you that this concept was never mentioned, especially when we studied the constitution.  I was hot under the collar about this, but I wasn’t surprised.  Government schools would be very reluctant to teach their students that they had an opportunity to stop tyranny and corruption on a case by case basis. That would work counter to the objectives of the teachers’ unions whose quasi-monopolistic control over the compulsory propaganda centers would be jeapordized if their students were actually educated.

For those of you who don’t know, jury nullification is the right of juries to stand in judgement of the law as well as the facts of a case. Thus if a juror believes that a law is unjust, he is not required to convict, even if it is clear by the facts of the case that the law was violated. The jury has the ability to rule on a case-by-case basis that a law is unconstitutional. The jury is equal to the judge, and is even allowed to disregard the judge’s instructions and acquit a defendant if a law is unjust. This has its roots in English Common Law, dating back to the Magna Carta, and the founders made sure to include trial by jury in the Constitution because the jury provided an important safeguard against tyranny. This right of the jury was unquestioned for the first several generations of the republic. Until the landmark split decision in 1895 stating the opposite, judges were required to inform juries of their right to judge the law as well as the case. Jury nullification was used to stop the enforcement of fugitive slave laws and prohibition.

Today, they try to get the dumbest jurors available, so you will need to play dumb and not let on that you know of your rights as a juror or you will be dismissed. (Conversely, if you want to get out of jury duty, volunteering your knowledge of jury nullification is an easy way to get yourself dismissed.)

Fortunately, there has been some buzz on the topic of nullification in general recently.  Tom Woods recently published a book titled Nullification, which is one of the top selling political books on Amazon right now.  He was also interviewed by a zombie which you might find on youtube or by stumbling upon my site’s 404 page.  Also Doug Wilson has posted on the topic recently as well.  This is information that the “Justice” System does not want you to know about.  In fact, jury rights activists have been arrested for attempting to inform potential jurors of their rights.

For more information on the purpose and rights of a jury, please visit the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA).

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