JURY NULLIFICATION

Used with permission: http://www.geocities.com/fountoftruth/jurynull.html

WHY AMERICA NEEDS TO BRING BACK JURY NULLIFICATION

By Doug Newman

January 26, 2008

Posted at Liberty Post.


Letters to the Editor
Rocky Mountain News
101 W. Colfax Avenue, Suite 500
Denver, CO 80202

Editor:

I want to commend Chris Maj on his fine letter of January 24 on the rights of jurors.

Jurors’ rights are the most forgotten rights of all. Indeed, from before the Revolution up through the Civil War, jurors had the power to judge not only the facts of a case but also the law pertaining to that particular case. If a juror thought the law under which the defendant was being tried was unconstitutional, unjust, immoral or just plain stupid, that juror could vote to acquit and the defendant would walk. The best example of jury nullification at work can be found with regard to the Fugitive Slave Laws of the 1850s. If juror Smith opposed these laws, he could, on this basis alone, vote to acquit defendant Jones. As a result, the Fugitive Slave Laws became unenforceable.

Consider some of the onerous laws on the books today and how we could combat them if jurors only knew their rights. Imagine someone on trial for violating a tax law that not even a Harvard-educated tax attorney could understand; imagine a doctor on trial for prescribing marijuana to patients who had exhausted all conventional medical avenues; imagine a woman who uses a gun to ward off a rapist, and then faces charges when it is discovered that said gun is unregistered.

Jury nullification is the ultimate check against bad laws. Today, almost no one even knows about jury nullification. Legislators concoct new laws at a rate unthinkable a few decades ago. And the people think they are powerless in the face of a runaway government.

When I present this subject, people are often skeptical. They say things like, “Why, if a juror can acquit just because he does not like a particular law, this can only result in anarchy! We cannot have people making up laws as they go along!” I respond that jurors exercising their rights are not making up new laws, but acting in defense against bad laws. An unrestrained government – i.e. one that makes whatever laws it willy-nilly wants whenever it willy-nilly wants to — is far more dangerous than an educated populace that uses every available tool to restrain that government.

Far from being a crackpot “theory”, jury nullification is a cornerstone of constitutional government and a truly free society.

Doug Newman
Aurora

Doug is one of the best “communicators” of social and political ideology that I have been exposed to over the years. Keep the great stuff coming Doug!

4 Responses to “JURY NULLIFICATION”

  1. ron8000 Says:

    Thanks for post this. I will pass it along. the public needs to be educated in how to keep government in check.

    ron

  2. Politics » JURY NULLIFICATION Says:

    [...] Right-Thinking from the Left Coast wrote an interesting post today on JURY NULLIFICATIONHere’s a quick excerpt Used with permission: http://www.geocities.com/fountoftruth/jurynull.html WHY AMERICA NEEDS TO BRING BACK JURY NULLIFICATION By Doug Newman January 26, 2008 Posted at Liberty Post. Letters to the Editor Rocky Mountain News 101 W. Colfax Avenue, Suite 500 Denver, CO 80202 Editor: I want to commend Chris Maj on his fine letter of January 24 on the rights of jurors. Jurors’ rights are the most forgotten rights of all. Indeed, from before the Revolution up through the Civil War, jurors ha [...]

  3. Steve Gresh Says:

    This is only a question. I am not advocating that anyone act in accordance with the correct answer to my question. Although, our lives, liberties, and pursuits of happiness depend on many of us answering my question correctly and then acting in accordance with that correct answer. Here it is:

    Would jury nullification be an effective method of eliminating income taxes, property taxes, and other taxes if many defendants were tried for not paying them?

    If you’re not sure what the correct answer is, here’s a hint. Doug Newman explained that “the Fugitive Slave Laws became unenforceable” as a result of jury nullification. I’ll add the idea that taxation equals slavery.

  4. Patrick Sperry Says:

    Great questions Steve. We could also add things like ex post facto laws, free fire zones in schools. Ah… The list could be endless!

Comments are closed.


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