Jury Empowerment

J U R Y   E M P O W E R M E N T

Jury Empowerment is a form of educational empowerment that asserts the rights we hold as citizens to judge laws and people by our higher moral consciousness, and not by the rules of our Justice System that has been coerced by corruption. 

Juries have tremendous power under the U.S. Constitution. 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.” The jury is the citizen’s last protection against an overbearing government, but all too often jurors are left unaware of this. Jurors should know that it is their right and responsibility to vote their conscience; a juror’s vote of acquittal in the face of an unfair law or a law being unfairly applied essentially nullifies the law in that particular case for that particular defendant. Thus, it is often known as jury nullification.

Jury Nullification is defined as the right of the jury to judge not only the guilt or innocence of an individual, but also to determine whether or not the law under which they are charged is a just law. It is one of our fundamental rights, and a protector of our liberty, but jurors are not told that they have this right. A juror should vote a defendant innocent of any law a juror feels is unjust, oppressive or unconstitutional even if a defendant is guilty of breaking the unconstitutional law of which they are charged.

Furthermore, the juror should know that they do not have to justify their verdict to anyone, nor can they be prosecuted for an honest verdict.

How can jurors be informed of these rights? First, by informing the entire community however resources may permit—leafleting, letters to the editor, radio talk shows, newspaper and magazine articles, etc. Secondly, information can be given directly to people who may become jurors by handing out leaflets in front of the courthouse at times when jurors are likely to be entering (usually early in the morning). Materials and ideas may be found on the web site of the Fully Informed Jury Association (www.fija.org)

A recent case appearing to involve jury nullification was the trial of an Occupy L.A. activist arrested for refusing to leave the City Hall Plaza after police ordered him to do so. Usually such activists plea guilty and pay a fine, but Steve Leaderman exercised his right to trial by jury and was acquitted. The jurors don’t have to tell why they came to this verdict, but it appears that they exercised their power of jury nullification. (http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2012/02/occupy_la_jury_nullification.php)

Our challenge to you:  Get a group together and start educationg your community on Jury Empowerment.  Go to www.fija.org to request pamphlets and brochures, or make your own!  The more people that know about their rights as jurors means the more unjust cases that will be thrown out when judged on moral conscience.