Summary of The Power of Jury Nullification
The concept and philosophy, embraced by the Founding Fathers, wherein the American People, as members of a trial Jury, are the actual Supreme Judges of the Law, not the judges of the Judiciary. Which means that the Jury has the Power to declare a law Unconstitutional if any juror believes it is, and can legitimately refuse to convict a defendant regardless of what the law says, despite the fact that the Judge says it's all OK. (Like in IRS trials.)
Furthermore, this power can be exercised by a single individual serving on a jury who deadlocks the deliberations and refuses to change his mind about his opinion that the law (or action) is unconstitutional, and therefore not prosecutable before a Jury with a true American on it !
It is your Right and Duty as an American Citizen to stop these fraudulent IRS trial convictions by refusing to convict any person charged with these fraudulent income tax crime accusations.
A History of Jury Nullification
"If a juror accepts as the law that which the judge states, then that juror has accepted the exercise of absolute authority of a government employee and has surrendered a power and right that once was the citizen’s safeguard of liberty." (1788)
(2 Elliots Debates, 94, Bancroft, History of the Constitution, 267)
"Jury nullification of law," as it is sometimes called, is a traditional American right defended by the Founding Fathers. Those Patriots intended the jury to serve as one of the tests a law must pass before it assumes enough popular authority to be enforced. Thus the Constitution provides five separate tribunals with veto power representatives, senate, executive, judges and jury that each enactment of law must pass before it gains the authority to punish those who choose to violate it. Thomas Jefferson said, "I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution."
From Magna Carta to Edward Bushell
The power of the jury to judge the justice of the law and to hold laws invalid by a finding of "not guilty" for any law a juror felt was unjust or oppressive, dates back to the Magna Carta, in 1215. At the time of the Magna Carta King John could pass any laws any time he pleased. Judges and executive officers, appointed and removed at his whim, were no more than servants of the King. The oppression became so great that the nation rose against the ruler and the barons of
King John violently protested when the Magna Carta was shown to him, "and with a solemn oath protested, that he would never grant such liberties as would make himself a slave." Afterwards, fearing seizure of his castle and the loss of his throne, he granted the Magna Carta to the people, placing the liberties of the people in their own safe-keeping. (Echard’s History of England, p. 106-107 [Spooner])
The Magna Carta was a gift reluctantly bestowed upon his subjects by the King. Its sole means of enforcement, the jury, often met with hostility from the Crown. By 1664 English juries were routinely fined for acquitting a defendant. Such was the case in the 1670 political trial of William Penn for preaching Quakerism to an unlawful assembly. Four of the twelve jurors voted to acquit and continued to acquit even after being imprisoned and starved for four days. The jurors were fined and imprisoned until they paid the fines. One juror, Edward Bushell, refused to pay the fine and brought his case before the Court of Common Pleas. Chief Justice Vaughan held that jurors could not be punished for their verdicts. Bushell’s Case (1670) was one of the most important developments in the common law history of the jury.
Jurors exercised their power of nullification in 18th century
John Hancock, "the wealthy
(Yale Law Journal, 1964:173)
The Zenger Trial
At the time of the American Revolution, the jury was considered the judge of both law and fact. In a case involving the civil forfeiture of private property by the state of Georgia, first Supreme Court Justice John Jay, instructed jurors that the jury has "a right to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy."
The Fugitive Slave Law
Until the middle of the 1800s, federal and state judges often instructed the juries they had the right to disregard the court’s view of the law. (Barkan, citing 52 Harvard Law Review, 682-616) Then northern jurors refused to convict abolitionists who had violated the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law. In response judges began questioning jurors to find out if they were prejudiced against the government, dismissing any who were. In 1852 Lysander Spooner, a
Labor Versus Big Business
In 1895, the Supreme Court, under pressure from large corporations, ruled in a bitter split decision that courts no longer had to inform juries they could veto an unjust law. The giant corporations had lost numerous trials pressed against labor leaders trying to organize unions. Striking was against the law at that time. "Juries also ruled against corporations in damage suits and other cases, prompting influential members of the American Bar Association to fear that jurors were becoming too hostile to their clients and too sympathetic to the poor. As the American Law Review wrote in 1892, jurors had ‘developed agrarian tendencies of an alarming character.’. . ." (Barkan, Jury Nullification in Political Trials, 1983) [emphasis added]
Despite the courts’ refusal to inform jurors of their historical veto power, jury nullification in liquor law trials was a major contributing factor in ending alcohol prohibition. (Today in
Fewer incidences of jury veto actions occurred as time increased after the courts began concealing jurors’ rights from American citizens and falsely instructing them that they may consider only the facts as admitted by the court. Researchers in 1966 found that jury nullification occurred only 8.8 percent of the time between 1954 and 1958, and suggested that "one reason why the jury exercises its very real power [to nullify] so sparingly is because it is officially told it has none." (California’s charge to the jury in criminal cases is typical: "It becomes my duty as judge to instruct you concerning the law applicable to this case, and it is your duty as jurors to follow the law as I shall state it to you . . . You are to be governed solely by the evidence introduced in this trial as the law as stated to you by me.") Today no officer of the court is allowed to tell the jury of their veto power.
The Vietnam War
Counsels for Vietnam War protest defendants tried to introduce moral and political arguments on the war to gain jury sympathy. Most often the jury was given instructions such as "You must apply the law that I lay down." (Conspiracy trial of Benjamin Spock et al., 1969) Jurors receiving such instructions usually convicted while feeling the pang of conscience expressed by the typical responses from Spock trial jurors: "I had great difficulty sleeping that night . . . I detest the Vietnam War. . . . But it was so clearly put by the judge." And "I’m convinced the Vietnam War is no good. But we’ve got a Constitution to uphold. . . . Technically speaking, they were guilty according to the judge’s charge." But in the few anti-Vietnam war trials where juries were allowed to hear of their power they acquitted.
Jury acquittals in the colonial, abolitionist and post-Civil War eras helped advance political activist causes and restrained government efforts at social control. Legal scholar Steven Barkan suggests that the refusal of judges during the Vietnam War to inform juries of their power to disregard the law frustrated the anti-war goals. As Lysander Spooner pointed out regarding the questioning of jurors to eliminate those who would bring in a verdict according to conscience (a practice effectively accomplished today through the juror’s oaths and voir dire) "The only principle upon which these questions are asked, is this that no man shall be allowed to serve as juror unless he be ready to enforce any enactment of the government, however cruel or tyrannical it may be. . . . A jury like that is palpably nothing but a mere tool of oppression in the hands of the government."
Those whose interests lie in maintaining government control of social behavior may argue that the Constitution provides the necessary protection of liberties. But legislative bodies will always confirm the constitutionality of their own acts. And the oaths sworn to uphold the Constitution by judges and public servants have historically been only as good as the power to enforce such oaths. Nor are free elections adequate to prevent tyranny without jury veto power, because elections come only periodically and give no guarantee of repealing the damage done. Additionally, the second body of legislators are likely to be as bad as the first since they are exposed to the same temptations and use the same tactics to gain office.
Protecting Minorities from the Majority
Further, the jury’s veto power protects minorities from "the body of the people, operating by the majority against the minority." (James Madison,
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