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"What Judges Don't Tell Juries" http://www.apfn.org/pdf/citizen.pdf

Discussion in 'Legal & Political Archive' started by PMB, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. PMB

    PMB Vancouver, Washington Active Member

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    If the people are educated, there would be far fewer convictions for unjust laws.


    Quoted from the Citizens Rule Book -

    THe Minneapolis Star and Tribune in a news paper article appearing in its November
    30, 1984 edition, entitled: “What Judges Don’t Tell Juries” stated:
    “At the time of adoption of the Constitution, the jury’s role as a defense against political
    oppression was unquestioned in American jurisprudence. This nation survived until the
    1850’s, when prosecutions under the Fugitive Slave Act were largely unsuccessful because
    juries refused to convict.”
    “Then judges began to erode the institution of free juries, leading to the absurd compromise that
    is the current state of the law. While our courts uniformly state juries have the power to return
    a verdict of not guilty whatever the facts, they routinely tell jurors the opposite.”
    “Further, the courts will not allow the defendants or their counsel to inform the jurors of their
    true power. A lawyer who made . . . Hamilton’s argument would face professional discipline
    and charges of contempt of court.”“By what logic should juries have the power to acquit a defendant but no right to know about
    that power? The court decisions that have suppressed the notion of jury nullification cannot
    resolve this paradox.”
    “More than logic has suffered. As originally conceived, juries were to be made a safety valve
    way to soften the bureaucratic rigidity of the judicial system by introducing the common sense
    of the community. If they are to function effectively as the ‘conscience of the community,’
    jurors must be told that they have the power and the right to say no to a prosecution in order to
    achieve a greater good. To cut jurors off from this information is to undermine one of our most
    important institutions.”
    “Perhaps the community should educate itself. Then citizens called for jury duty could teach
    the judges a needed lesson in civics.”

    Religion is not required for an understanding and agreement with the basic principles explained in the short, easy to understand book.
    There are quotes of a religious nature in it, and I hope that the inclusion of those quotes will not push away those who have differing or no religious beliefs.

    With the understanding of the purpose of jury trials, there would be so very few convictions of honest men for violations of unjust laws.
    chariot13 and (deleted member) like this.
  2. PDXoriginal

    PDXoriginal PNW Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, but Not Guilty, because we "feel" so just doesn't fly with me.

    Jury Tampering would be taken to a whole other level.
  3. Stomper

    Stomper Oceania Rising White Is The New Brown Silver Supporter

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    Yeah like, "if the glove don't fit, you must acquit". (Jonny Cockran @ the OJ Simpson murder trial)
  4. Darkhades

    Darkhades Tacoma WA Member

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    They should tell you your rights regardless of what we believe might cause corruption. In its own right deciding what is right or wrong beyond the law in it self is corrupt.
  5. RB87

    RB87 Oregon Active Member

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    I see your point but "prosecutorial discretion" is often the same thing. "We feel he's guilty of inciting a riot so we charged him with it. The cops on the scene felt intimidated because there was a large crowd" (watching a fist fight). That was an argument I heard while serving on a grand jury years ago. The DA wasn't that happy when the charge was unanimously tossed by the jury.

    See the Daivd Gregory/Meet the Press magazine sillyness for another example.
  6. elsie

    elsie Way over there on the left Well-Known Member

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    A number of state constitutions have a clause similar to this one from Oregon's constitution:

    Section 16. Excessive bail and fines; cruel and unusual punishments; power of jury in criminal case. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed. Cruel and unusual punishments shall not be inflicted, but all penalties shall be proportioned to the offense.—In all criminal cases whatever, the jury shall have the right to determine the law, and the facts under the direction of the Court as to the law, and the right of new trial, as in civil cases.

    And what that boils down to, from my understanding, is that if the jury feels the law is unconstitutional, improper, wrong or incorrectly applied, then they have the power to vote not guilty. In a sense, it is one of the forgotten or hidden checks and balances and might be considered the 'fourth' branch of government.

  7. Misterbill

    Misterbill Yakima County, Washington New Member

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    Jury nullification is our best tool against tyranny. sadly, the last person to ever get seated on a jury is the person who knows about such things. The lawyers want a malleable idiot in the jury box and use every trick possible to make that happen.
  8. hermannr

    hermannr Okanogan Highlands Well-Known Member

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    You do not understand the principle. It is, if the law or prosecution of the individual is felt to be unjust, the JURY has the ability to NULLIFY the law. There are unjust laws. Take NYS and their latest magazine limitations, or their AWB and semi-auto firearm registration law. You, as an informed firearms owner know that the US Supreme Court rulings in Miller, Heller, and McDonald have declared that these type of laws are unconstitutional....but that did not stop the state of New York from pushing these laws through, did it?

    So, if you were on a jury and there was a gun owner being persecuted (being made an example) under these NYS laws, you would vote for conviction???? when you know full well the laws are unconstitutional?
    chariot13 and (deleted member) like this.
  9. dmancornell

    dmancornell Portland, OR New Member

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  10. Misterbill

    Misterbill Yakima County, Washington New Member

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    No one is talking about feelings. We're talking about juries using their power to acquit someone when they get charged with an unjust law, prosecuted for a technicl violation because it's obvious they ticked off the powers that be in an unrelated matter, or they are being prosecuted for something that while they are technically guilty, the very notion of the charge is ridiculous.

    Would you convict someone for carrying a Swiss army knife in their pocket? (That's a crime in Washington) or would you vote to acquit and send the loud and clear message that these laws will not be enforced by juries?

    It's a nightmare to get stupid laws repealed. But when juries routinely refuse to convict, the message gets sent loud and clear and those laws stop being used as cudgels. I, for one, would never vote to convict anyone of simple possession charges of drugs. Period. Just as I wouldn't vote to convict for owning a 13-round Magazine in Mass or NY or NJ.
    chariot13 and (deleted member) like this.