The little known power of the jury.
In London in 1670, Quakers Penn and Meade were tried on charges of unlawful assembly. The evidence was against the Quakers, so the jury was instructed to find them guilty. Apparently the jury believed the Quakers had the right to assemble and acquitted them. For ignoring the instructions of the judge, the jury members were fined. A juror, Bushell, refused to pay and was imprisoned. He sued his writ of habeas corpus from the court of common pleas. Chief-justice Vaughn found that a jury could not be fined for acquitting a defendant against both the weight of evidence and instructions of the judge. In effect, this decision acknowledged the right of the jury members to vote their conscience and acquit those accused of violating an unjust law. It was clear that the jury could judge not only the facts, but the law itself.
This is how the jury trial entered America through the British Common Law. It was, at the founding of this nation, a recognized power of the jury to nullify unjust laws by refusing to convict. This was affirmed by several Supreme Court justices.
"The jury has a right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy."
John Jay, 1st Chief Justice of the United States supreme Court, 1789
"The jury has the right to determine both the law and the facts."
Samuel Chase, U.S. supreme Court Justice, 1796, Signer of the unanimous Declaration
"the jury has the power to bring a verdict in the teeth of both law and fact."
Oliver Wendell Holmes, U.S. supreme Court Justice, 1902
"The law itself is on trial quite as much as the cause which is to be decided."
Harlan F. Stone, 12th Chief Justice U.S. supreme Court, 1941
The opinion of these Justices makes it clear that the intent of the Jury Trial went beyond mere unbiased determination of the facts. The Jury was one of the checks and balances against tyrannical laws, whether emanating from the Federal or the State and local governments. We, the people, were empowered to nullify unjust laws by making them unenforceable.
The rulings of Holmes and Stone, as recently as the last century, might suggest that the concept of Jury Nullification is still strong. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Since the victory of the forces favoring a strong central government in the Civil War, the federal government has been chipping away at that right and duty of the jury. At one point, the courts, while admitting we had the right as jurors to effectively nullify unjust laws, said a judge does not have to inform the jury of that right. That happened in the late 1800's. Since then it has gotten worse. Today, if a judge thinks a juror is finding for a not guilty verdict on the basis of injustice or unconstitutionality of the law, he/she will likely remove the juror. So a word to the wise. If your “not guilty” vote is based on your right to nullify a law, don't let it be known that that is the case. Try to find a subtle way to clue your fellow jurors. No matter what, be an American. Stick to your guns regardless of what the other jurors might think.
A growing number of people are beginning to realize that the majority of laws now enacted by the federal government are unconstitutional, that they act in areas reserved to the States and/or infringe on the rights of the people. The Supreme Court of the United States has given its blessings to these crimes against the Constitution and the people. Jury Nullification can override this sanctioning of crime by the SCOTUS and make the people the Ultimate Supreme Court. That is how it should be. For my part, I would never find anyone guilty in a federal court. The federal government has violated virtually every significant clause of the Constitution. That alone makes it the biggest crime syndicate in the United States – possibly in the world. In addition to aiding its banker masters in the theft of the wealth of the American people, it has become a global Murder, Inc. through the waging of unconstitutional wars and political assassinations. I will be damned to Hell before I will help big crooks put little crooks, if, in fact, they are crooks, in jail.
For an example of how the Department of (in)Justice, the federal agency in charge of administering justice in this country, has not only proven itself an enemy of America, constitutional government, and the American people, but has also shown itself to be an uncommon criminal, see:
A flicker of the Light of Truth at the end of the tunnel from the Fully Informed Jury Association:
The Constitutional History of England, Hallam, 3 volumes, 1865
For additional information and sources, search “Jury Nullification”
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