When this nation was founded, the jury system was made a part of our system of government. This was done for one main reason: because the Founders did not trust judges, prosecutors, investigators, and other officials to administer justice. The jury is the ultimate safeguard of our constitutional rights, and never before in our history have those rights been in greater danger.
A grand jury does not decide guilt. It investigates the facts in a case and recommends a course of action. The most common issue put to a grand jury is to decide if there is sufficient evidence in a case to prosecute the accused. But most grand juries today don’t do their duty the way the Founders intended they should. They too often serve as rubber stamps for prosecutors, who often joke that they can “indict a ham sandwich”.
Judges and prosecutors prevent private citizens from bringing cases before the grand jury directly, which is the way the system is supposed to work, and used to work when this country was founded.
The constitutional duty of the grand jury is not just to decide on the cases brought to it by the prosecutors. It is also to investigate cases that the prosecutors don’t want them to consider, cases of official and high-level corruption, abuse, incompetence, and misconduct.
When this nation was founded, juries were given all information on a case. They could even ask their own questions of the witnesses, or call other witnesses. The present system we have is unconstitutional.
Let’s talk about Jury Trials
How much do you know about how judges and prosecutors undermine the protective role of the jury in our courts of law?
In a jury trial, the jury is the real judge. The “judge” who presides over the trial is really the president of the court. His proper job is only to control procedure.
There are two kinds of trial: criminal and civil. In a civil trial, the jury decides based on a preponderance of evidence, and a unanimous vote is not required.
In a criminal trial, the jury has the duty to acquit the accused unless the prosecution proves guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and it takes the vote of all twelve jurors to convict.
In a typical criminal trial, the judge will demand that you promise to “follow the instructions” he gives you, and he will tell you to consider “only the facts” in the case, and leave consideration of the “law” to him. The problem is, in our system of law, the “law” in a case is also a kind of fact. Judges don’t make the law by their decisions. They only “find” what the law is, based on the intentions of the lawgivers. One of those laws, the Constitution for the United States, and, in a state trial, the constitution of the state, is the supreme law, which is superior to any statute or other official act that may conflict with it.
As a juror, you have the right to vote your conscience, even if it means setting aside the law to conscientiously acquit someone who has technically broken the law.
Many people are mistakenly under the impression that juries must come to a verdict of Guilty or Not Guilty on every charge.
This is simply not true!
Jurors are NEVER required to deliver a verdict on any of the charges they consider.
Prosecutors and Defendants – each side has equal duties and equal opportunity to prevail, purposely tilted to err on the side of liberty and give the benefit of the doubt to the defendant. It is the prosecutor’s job to prove each charge to each juror beyond a reasonable doubt.
A defendant’s life can be destroyed, but also will be felt by family, friends, co-workers, and the community. You may be the ONLY person standing between the defendant and a life-destroying conviction.
As a juror, you can prevent a peaceful person from losing their property and savings, their family, their friends, their safety, their freedom, and even their very life
Jurors are to judge the Law as well as the facts.
Judges and Prosecuters try to keep this secret, but, jurors have the right to exercise jury nullification in order to conscientiously acquit.
Offenses where nullification has been used:
- Public practice of Religion
- Legal violations in protest of unfair taxation
- Medical use of cannabis or other substances to treat people’s ailments as they choose
- Non-violent recreational use of alcohol, cannabis, etc.
- Victimless violations of firearm laws
- Publicly feeding the hungry or homeless
- Providing raw milk for one’s own personal use
- And many, many others
When it’s your turn to render a verdict, be aware that:
- You can and should vote YOUR conscience
- You are NOT legally required to convict
- A verdict IS NOT required; you have the right to deadlock the jury with your vote if you do not agree with the other jurors
- Judges are afforded leniency when they mislead jurors – DON’T BE FOOLED BY FALSE INSTRUCTIONS STATING YOU MUST CONVICT!
For more info on your rights as a juror visit Fully Informed Juror or truthinjustice