I have never been empaneled. A few years ago I got to the point of voir dire — I was asked “why is presumption of innocence important?” I answered “it is all that stands between a defendant and the State’s unlimited resources.” The prosecutor couldn’t bounce me fast enough...
That's what happened in the OJ Simpson trial. - Tom
I can tell you from sad personal experience that you can start a really heated argument with a jurist by bringing up this subject! I will also say that I couldn’t agree more with ALL of this:
“The sitting juror, in judging a controversy, is also empanelled to examine the law upon which the controversy is based. In this regard, he holds the power to undo a law enacted by Congress, the President, or the Judiciary.”
Harlan Stone, 12th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, in 1941 stated “The law itself is on trial quite as much as the cause which is to be decided.”
In addition, Oliver Wendell Holmes, U.S.Supreme Court Justice, in 1902 stated “The jury has the power to bring a verdict in the teeth of both law and fact.”
Thanks for posting this.
Looks like lawyers and lawyer-politicians have subverted another sacred principle on which our nation was founded.
I was part of a jury selection pool several times, but never got as far as being chosen as a juror or alternate. I was prepared to insist on my juror rights.
Jury nullification of law, as it is sometimes called, is a traditional right that was rigorously defended by Americas Founding Fathers. Those great men, Patriots all, intended the jury to serve as a final safeguard a test that laws must pass before gaining sufficient popular authority for enforcement. Thus the Constitution provides five separate tribunals with veto power representatives, senate, executive, judges and finally juries. Each enactment of law must pass all these hurdles before it gains the authority to punish those who may choose to violate it. unsigned article at
Speaking as a former Prosecutor of 25 years, I agree with you 100%. Nullification, in rare circumstances, is absolutely appropriate. I sure know it happened a few times.
I totally believe in jury nullification, now more than ever. The amoral elitists have made too much illegal “progress” against the US consitution in the legal system. Cops have become too corrupted.
Bottom line - when I am on a jury - I am the law just as the elite are the law. I trust me more than them.
While jury nullification is, obviously, an individual authority of a given juror, what is far trickier, and treading on thin ice legally, is to “advocate particular nullification” to a community of potential jurors. That is, a real effort to nullify a law by making it unlikely to obtain a conviction:
1) First a given law must be seen as unconstitutional, improper, or most of all unfair. The community must as a majority or strong enough minority oppose it. That is, it must be a law forced by a government or court that is seen as repulsive by the public.
2) Someone must advocate nullification for any and all cases brought under that law, no matter how sympathetic or unsympathetic a defendant might be. People prefer to vote “guilty” or “not guilty” based on their prejudices about the defendant. They must be persuaded to look beyond this, to acquit a “loathsome person”, because it is more important to nullify a bad law.
3) Lawyers and judges will dismiss potential jurors on the first sign they support, or are even aware of jury nullification. So it is essential that nullifiers *never* admit to nullification. They must know this ahead of time, or they will never get a chance to nullify. So this is an essential part of “advocating particular nullification”.
4) Importantly, this has been done before successfully several times in US history. In most cases, the best that can be hoped for is not to overturn a law, but for it to become disused by either the police or prosecutors. Once they stop arresting and trying people, knowing that they will not get a conviction, they will stop doing so, and the law will become moot under the principle of “statutory neglect.”
Been called a number of times - only served once. The Judge in S. Mississippi made it clear that it was in our hands and that we had enormous control over what happened, which made it crucial that we understood the oath we took and were willing to rule with our minds and in accordance with the law. Happy to say we put an animal behind bars.
People have the mistaken idea that Jury Nullification cancels the law - it does not. It merely removes it from consideration for the one specific case.
You and your fellows were potential jurors, not potential jurists (unless you were taking the bar exam, which was obviously not the case). Probably a good thing you were dismissed.
The reason we have freedom of the press, such as it is, is because of an act of jury nullification, the John Peter Zenger case.
This is excellent. Nicely done.