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Truth Supressed: Juries' right to acquit even if law broken

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posted on Dec, 9 2007 @ 09:15 PM
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Juries are triers of both law and fact. If a jury believes that an individual committed a certain act, but they disagree with a law prohibiting such act, they may find the defendant not guilty.




posted on Dec, 10 2007 @ 01:13 PM
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reply to post by slackerwire
 


slackerwire Juries are triers of both law and fact. If a jury believes that an individual committed a certain act, but they disagree with a law prohibiting such act, they may find the defendant not guilty.

That is incorrect. On its face. Jurors are not learned in the law. Nullification has not happened often enough to make it an issue worthy of a statute banning it. Because under most circumstances jury deliberations are to be kept "secret" it is a tricky issue.

Jurors swear an oath to follow the law as given them by the Court, ie, the judge. They do not make up the law as they go along.



posted on Dec, 10 2007 @ 01:33 PM
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Juries in the USA are able to do many things that they usually do not do. The law says that when the Judge gives instructions, the Jury is supposed mto follow those instructions to the letter. The reason that helps is that a juror who believes in their gut that a defendant is guilty will vote to aquit because he recognizes the standard set by the Court was one of ' reasonable doubt ' which is unique to each person, and taken as a aggregate is the basis for the assumption of the authority of the juries verdict. If the Presecution does not remove all reasonable doubt, then a Juror following the rules would find him not guilty. It keeps ' gut feelings ' out of the picture.

BUT, it also can be bad, as Juries many times feel powerless to aquit a person that may meet the standard of reasonable doubt, but who does not in their opinion deserve to be deprived of life and liberty for the ' offense '. This happened to Ed Rosenthal in Federal Court in San Franciso. The Jury was not allowed to be told that Ed had been authorized by the City government there to grow cannabis for patients, legal under state law. The material facts as to WHY he was growing were not allowed to be heard. The jury had no choice but to convict. And they did. But when they got outside the courthouse and found out what the truth was, they were outraged.

Many said they would never have convicted Ed if they knew the facts that the Govt. had hidden, and protested to the Judge. One trial was declared a mistrial after a Juror got some advice from a lawyer friend during deliberations to ' do exactly as the Judge says, or you could get in trouble '. The Juror had known of some of the mitigating facts, but was afraid to think independently because of fear of the Judge. The next trial, same thing..Ed got ONE DAY jail time..and the Judge scolded the Prosecution for even bringing the case, three times, for one days jail.

This shows that when juries are denied the truth, and a juror knows the truth, they have the right to act on what they know, not just what the Judge tells them to consider, or justice cannot be done. ANY jury can deliver any verdict they want and NO ONE can do anything about it.

The jury verdict is sacred: It cannot be overturned without a showing of fraud or jury tampering..but in ALL other cases, a jury can decide to let a man or woman go, even if their guilt is established, if the jurors feel that a conviction is not in societies best interests. The lawyers and Judges can say all they want: The talking can go on and on: But when the Jurors retire to that room to deliberate, they can find someone not guilty and never explain their reasons, nor be asked about them by a Judge. No judge can overturn a jury decision, once it is made it is over.



posted on Dec, 10 2007 @ 01:39 PM
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reply to post by donwhite
 


You may wish to read over thisand see if you still hold that same opinion.

I disagree with drug laws (yet I do not use them), so if I was ever on a jury for someone being charged with posession/trafficking/whatever, I would not vote to convict simply because drug laws are unconstitutional.


[edit on 10-12-2007 by slackerwire]



posted on Dec, 10 2007 @ 02:06 PM
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reply to post by slackerwire
 


slackerwire if I was ever on a jury for someone being charged with posession, trafficking, whatever, I would not vote to convict simply because drug laws are unconstitutional.

Then you would be a law-breaker.

On voir dire, the examination of prosepctive jurors, you would be aksed whether you could return a verdict of guilty if the evidence supported it. Assuming you would tell the truth, you would be excused "for cause."


[edit on 12/10/2007 by donwhite]



posted on Dec, 10 2007 @ 02:09 PM
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Originally posted by donwhite


Then you would be a law-breaker.

On voir dire, the examination of prosepctive jurors, you would be aksed whether you could return a verdict of guilty if the evidence supported it. Assuming you would tell the truth, you would be excused "for cause."


No, actually I wouldnt, as one cannot be found guilty of breaking an Unconstitutional law.

I would be upholding the wishes of the founding fathers by refusing to convict someone accused of breaking a law that just shouldnt be.



posted on Dec, 10 2007 @ 03:05 PM
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reply to post by slackerwire
 


I think what he meant was that you'd be committing perjury if you didn't acknowledge during jury selection that you could never find a person guilty of that particular crime.



posted on Dec, 10 2007 @ 03:09 PM
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There is NO LAW that says a juror must justify his decision to anyone, for any reason. No way. No law is broken when a juror votes to aquit, and he may remain silent as to his reasons. No law demands that jurors argue or explain. They can just take a vote and be done with it, or as many as they like, and make a decision.

But voting as your ' conscience ' dictates, and that is the HIGHEST standard of all. is always the right thing to do and NO ONE can dispute it or undo it. No reason need be given. Jurors do NOT have to ' explain ' their verdicts to the other jurors or to the Court. Once a decision has been made, it is over and done.

I have great respect for the poster who would vote to aquit on a drug case as to do otherwise would be to participate in a travesty against the Constitution..be a pawn of the system to deprive fellow Americans of the ri Rights..and NO WHERE in the Constitution does it give the right to self medication being limited by the Federal government....no way. A human being has the innayte right to seek ' happiness ', even the founding fathers revered this phrase:" Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness", is a right, not negotiable.

All men have the right to pursue their own forms of ' happiness ', as they wish, as long as they harm no other. That is natural law.Any attempt to interfere with natural laws creates nothing but problems, as is evident. For a citizen to take a stand and say NO!! Not fair!! is a brave and noble thing and I salute anyone who does the same.

WHO is the FINAL judge of what society considers ' right ' and ' wrong '? The citizens, the jury. When a jury says NO to a bad law, it is the last refuge against a fascist system. If they passed a law forbidding speaking in public, some people would actually obey..and convict anyone charged with speaking in public...BUT there are many others who would say NO!! No way will I convict a fellow citizen for speaking in public!! Its a right!! The last way to undo bad laws is by jury nullification. It is a protection that if done away with would mean that any law..even ones worse than the Patriot Act, would result in draconian sentences for ' crimes ' that are not crimes at all.

If you are a juror, and your gut tells you that the defendant is getting shafted and deserves a break, vote NOT GUILTY. No matter what the other jurors say, no matter how they whine, stay firm and tell them that you are under no obligation to defend your choice. If you tell them your reasoning, and they object and suqeal to the Judge, he may find a way to disqualify you and place another stooge there to take your place and get the conviction. So better to remain quiet and state your vote and let them deal with it, because thats what they have to do..accept it. And then justice wins. More education for jurors!!



posted on Dec, 10 2007 @ 10:14 PM
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reply to post by donwhite

When laws are unjust, being a 'law breaker' as you describe it on the part of a jury is a moral imperative. It seems you disagree with our founding fathers, who ought to know the intent of the jury system a bit better than you I'm thinking.

First Chief Justice of the US John Jay wrote: "It is presumed, that juries are the best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumed that courts are the best judges of law. But still both objects are within your power of decision… you [juries] have a right to take it upon yourselves to judge of both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy".State Of Georgia v. Brailsford, 3 U.S. 1,4 (1794), [10]


As far back as 1894 Alexander Hamilton admonished that “Jurors should acquit even against the judge’s instruction…if exercising their judgment with discretion and honesty they have a clear conviction that the charge of the court is wrong.” Today, knowledge of this statement is even more important as we see juries blindly obey agenda-driven judges.

As Justice Byron White in Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 US 145, 156 (1968) stated, “Providing an accused with the right to be tried by a jury of his peers gave him an inestimable safeguard against the corrupt or overzealous prosecutor and against the compliant, biased, or eccentric judge.”

I’m thinking that perhaps I’ll take Walter Williams’ opinion before yours as well.

I was summoned for jury duty some years ago, and during voir dire, the attorney asked me whether I could obey the judge's instructions. I answered, "It all depends upon what those instructions are." Irritatingly, the judge asked me to explain myself. I explained that if I were on a jury back in the 1850s, and a person was on trial for violating the Fugitive Slave Act by assisting a runaway slave, I would vote for acquittal regardless of the judge's instructions. The reason is that slavery is unjust and any law supporting it is unjust. Needless to say, I was dismissed from jury duty.
Walter Williams, 11 July 2007

There are four proverbial ‘boxes’ of freedom extant in the constitution: The soap box, (1st amendment) the ballot box, the jury box, and if all else fails, the cartridge box (second amendment).

The following can be found here: www.friesian.com...

The jury is the last line of defense, the last check and balance, against tyrannical government, if, that is, it is charged with determining the justice of a case and not just with blindly applying the law as given by a judge. It was become a very interesting perversion of the system of checks and balances when, as we are told, the Constitution means whatever the Supreme Court says it means but that we are then expected to obey without resistance. Since the Supreme Court has in general, since the New Deal, interpreted the Constitution to mean exactly the opposite of its original purpose, which had been to establish a federal government of limited and enumerated powers, but which now seems to have gotten us a national government of unlimited and plenary powers, which can legislate or regulate in any matter whatsoever, what we have seen is the destruction of the rule of law, through the arbitrary authority of an irresponsible court, rather than its preservation. When the citizen demands that the government obey the Constitution, and the government replies that it is obeying its interpretation of the Constitution, which gives it authority and discretion far beyond that overthrown in the American Revolution, then the whole idea of the "rule of law" has been turned around to justify the very kind of arbitrary, discretionary, and unaccountable authority that it was supposed to prevent.

The interpretation of the law cannot be trusted to those with the power to enforce it also. The separation of powers between the judiciary and the executive in the federal government was not sufficient to prevent this, as Thomas Jefferson already understood: "How can we expect impartial decision between the General government, of which they are themselves so eminent a part, and an individual State, from which they have nothing to hope or fear?" The federal courts are part of the federal government and will tend to take its side in the long run. This is precisely what has happened.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Your notion of a ‘professional jury’ is antithetical to everything the constitution and the rule of law stands for. You sir, are a statist, an authoritarian, and are either horribly deceived, or are no lover of freedom.



posted on Dec, 11 2007 @ 04:25 PM
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reply to post by donwhite
 




On voir dire, the examination of prosepctive jurors, you would be aksed whether you could return a verdict of guilty if the evidence supported it. Assuming you would tell the truth, you would be excused "for cause."


Just because someone "could" return a guilty verdict, does not mean that they are required to, even if the evidence supports it.

I also disagree with the drug laws, but would still wait to see the case presented before reaching a verdict. After all, I may find the defendant morally reprehensible and therefore subject to sanction.



posted on Dec, 11 2007 @ 09:39 PM
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Guys, head on over to www.law.umkc.edu...
to get a basic understanding.

I'll quote a little bit for you:

For example, our first Chief Justice, John Jay, told jurors: "You have a right to take upon yourselves to judge [both the facts and law]." In 1805, one of the charges against Justice Samuel Chase in his impeachment trial was that he wrongly prevented an attorney from arguing to a jury that the law should not be followed.



posted on Dec, 12 2007 @ 01:19 PM
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reply to post by sir_chancealot
 


Guys, head on over to www.law.umkc.edu...to get a basic understanding. I'll quote a little bit for you:

For example, our first Chief Justice, John Jay, told jurors: "You have a right to take upon yourselves to judge [both the facts and law]." In 1805, one of the charges against Justice Samuel Chase in his impeachment trial was that he wrongly prevented an attorney from arguing to a jury that the law should not be followed.


I’m in good company. I tried your link, Mr Sir Chance, but it did not work for me. I use Navigator v.9 if that matters.

The problem on this thread is we are confusing what is written in the law books and what happens in real life. A juror is not required to explain his vote, either to the other jurors, or to anyone. Jury deliberations are secret. OTOH, a juror may not argue to his fellow jurors that they should conspire together to defeat the law by finding the GUILTY defendant to be “NOT guilty” thereby “nullifying” the prosecution and holding the law in disdain. That is illegal conduct even for a juror and if another juror discloses it, then it becomes a matter for the courts to deal with.

Free advice. Should you ever serve on a jury and have nullification in mind, and do not want to be morally or intellectual honest, then be sure to vote NOT guilty and refuse to say why. Ultimately, the judge must declare a mistrial.

I am not completely familiar with the 1805 impeachment of Justice Chase but I do know the Federalists - Washington and Adams - lost the 1800 election to to Jefferson - Republican and later Democratic-Republicans - and “loaded” the courts with “lame duck” appointments. The Republicans - Jeffersonians - had no hesitancy to impeach the pro-Federalist judges. I am not aware of the outcome of the Justice Chase impeachment. Reminder: Very few laws and almost NO judicial opinions in effect in 1805 are germane today. Aside: The first Chief Justice to make a permanent imprint on our judiciary was John Marshall, either the 3rd or 4th CJ depending on how you count it.

[edit on 12/12/2007 by donwhite]



posted on Dec, 12 2007 @ 01:36 PM
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Here is the skinny on jury nullification.

1. In a criminal case, juries could practice jury nullifcation to acquit a defendant. Once the jury acquits a defendant for any reason, the prosecution cannot retry the defendant as this would be double jeopardy. (Remember OJ Simpson.) If the jury uses jury nullification to convict a person, the person may successfully appeal the verdict. He can argue that no reasonable jury could have come up with the verdict, and this could limit jury nullification.

2. In civil cases, plaintiffs and defendants can appeal jury verdicts. Thus parties can appeal jury verdicts if they can show no reasonable jury following the law would come up with the verdict the jury could come up with. This may limit the use of jury nullification.



posted on Dec, 12 2007 @ 02:17 PM
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reply to post by resistor
 


When laws are unjust, being a 'law breaker' as you describe it on the part of a jury is a moral imperative. It seems you disagree with our founding fathers, who ought to know the intent of the jury system a bit better than you I'm thinking.


I admit I’m no John Jay and sorry if I conveyed that notion. In the context of the American Revolution which some people date from 1768 with the British capture of the US shp, Liberty, a smuggler owned by John Hancock. The result of that brouhaha was the Boston Massacre. Then in 1775 the battle of Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill occurred. Finally in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was promulgated. The battle of Yorktown in 1781 ending the shooting and the Treaty of Paris 1783 brought peace.

For the record, our Founding Fathers were never unanimous and often changed their opinions and frequently changed sides in the debates that led up to the second constitutional Convention in 1787 in Philadelphia. (The first having produced the Articles of Confederation.) The RI delegates to the 2nd convention refused to attend. Only 50 odd of the 70 odd chosen delegates ever attended. Jefferson and Franklin were out of the country and could not have contributed. George Washington was chosen as president of the Convention. The office of “president” in that era was the same as a chairman of an ad hoc committee of today.

Colonial juries had adopted nullification as a tactic against British rule. Smugglers were usually acquitted regardless of the evidence. Whatever you say, you cannot have juries “making” laws if you are to have a civil state. The single most important element in successful governments is predictability. If every jury was allowed to “do its own thing,” that is anarchy at worst and vigilantism at best. No one’s best interest is served by juries gone wild. That should be obvious.


Associate Justice Byron White in Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 US 145, 156 (1968) stated, “Providing an accused with the right to be tried by a jury of his peers gave him an inestimable safeguard against the corrupt or overzealous prosecutor and against the compliant, biased, or eccentric judge.” I’m thinking that perhaps I’ll take Walter Williams’ opinion before yours as well.


I do not see any approval of nullification in this quote. I have no regard for Walter Williams who I have called a cannibal for “eating his own kind” to get ahead. Add JC Watts and Clarence Thomas to that list of diners.


The following can be found here: www.friesian.com...

The jury is the last line of defense . . The Supreme Court has in general, since the New Deal, interpreted the Constitution to mean exactly the opposite of its original purpose, which had been to establish a federal government of limited and enumerated powers, but which now seems to have gotten us a national government of unlimited and plenary powers, which can legislate or regulate in any matter whatsoever, what we have seen is the destruction of the rule of law, through the arbitrary authority of an irresponsible court, rather than its preservation.
Your notion of a ‘professional jury’ is antithetical to everything the constitution and the rule of law stands for. You sir, are a statist, an authoritarian, and are either horribly deceived, or are no lover of freedom.


But look at this:

U.S. Con, Article 1, Section 1. All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
Section 8 - Powers of Congress

The Congress shall have the power
1. To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States:
2. To borrow money on the credit of the United States:
3. To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes:
4. To establish an uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States:
5. To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures:
6. To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States:
7. To establish post-offices and post-roads:
8. To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries:
9. To constitute tribunals inferior to the supreme court:
10. To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offences against the law of nations:
11. To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water:
12. To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years:
13. To provide and maintain a navy:
14. To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces:
15. To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions:
16. To provide for organizing, arming and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress:
17. To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such district (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings: And,
18. To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.


It looks to me like Congress has a lot of power to interfere in our daily lives. Look especially at Clause 18 if you doubt the power of Congress.

I still favor professional jurors.

[edit on 12/12/2007 by donwhite]



posted on Dec, 12 2007 @ 07:19 PM
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Originally posted by donwhite
It looks to me like Congress has a lot of power to interfere in our daily lives. Look especially at Clause 18 if you doubt the power of Congress.
I still favor professional jurors.


Of course Congress has certain powers, and all of them are subject to amendment. Personally, I don't have an objection to any of them as originally intended. To remove such a bedrock foundation of freedom as a 'jury of peers' however is similar to removing any of the ten amendments IMO. A 'professional' jury would certainly come immediately under the domination of those who pay them. They would follow the governments agenda rather than the peoples agenda, the peoples agenda being the entire point of having a jury. A professional jury would be nothing more than a showpiece, making the people think that they still have some power in the judicial system, while effectively cementing total government control over who goes to prison.

If you want to know what a professional jury system would be like, you need only look at how our professional representative system performs. If you like professional politicians, by all means support professional juries.

edit for stuff

[edit on 12-12-2007 by resistor]



posted on Dec, 13 2007 @ 04:51 PM
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[edit on 12/13/2007 by donwhite]



posted on Dec, 22 2007 @ 08:53 PM
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The following quotes were found at www.courtofpublicopinion.net...


Under public law, the courts upheld the constitution, the statutes, and enforced your inalienable rights, even to the detriment of the public. This is still applicable to all cases where there is a dispute as to the terms of a contract that does NOT affect the general public or the government. If you have a contract to provide a service for someone, then the courts will enforce that contract. But if you are a corporation and you sign a contract with a supplier that says you will not sell any products to women, then the court will rule that your contract is against public policy and will refuse to enforce the contract.




Under public policy, you have no rights to uphold, or contracts to enforce. It is really just a democracy. If the majority of the public has the same opinion, then that becomes public policy, law. If your rights or contract interferes with what the government thinks is best for the welfare of the general public, or is contrary to public opinion, they may refuse to uphold your rights, or enforce your contract. That is why most contracts have to be on government approved forms before the courts will uphold them. The whole court system, at all levels, is just a private business set up to collect revenue for the government. They mostly handle their own business, collecting revenue for violations of their corporate statutes, but occasionally they will listen to a dispute between two private citizens.


Court rooms today are actually military courts operating under public policy. The Constitution was suspended in 1933.



posted on Dec, 23 2007 @ 08:22 PM
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Originally posted by jackinthebox
Court rooms today are actually military courts operating under public policy. The Constitution was suspended in 1933.


The subjection of the constitution may in fact go back to 1871. www.serendipity.li...
Nevertheless, the trial by jury remains a bulwark of the common people’s power. We relinquish it at our own peril.



posted on Dec, 23 2007 @ 08:59 PM
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reply to post by resistor
 


I agree that an untainted trial by jury is instrumental to justice in a democratic society.

Thanks for the link. I have added it to my archives and will have to review it at a later time.

1871 huh? Right after the Civil War...interesting.



posted on Dec, 23 2007 @ 09:05 PM
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I haven't read through this entire thread, but isn't this why felons are ineligible from jury duty, because they would be more sympathetic to a defendant in a criminal case as it is not a matter of whether they broke the law, but whether or not the people believe the law should apply to an individual.

I feel that the truth of the matter is a jury can acquit anyone, but they choose a jury who believes in the system of law, for whatever it happens to support. If a person thinks for themselves they can vote against the rest of a jury, but felons are probably too much of a risk to be allowed to serve because they could care less about law in the first place.



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