Friday, January 8, 2010

Prospective Jurors Demand to be Informed

The NH House Judiciary Committee hears testimony regarding HB1347, relative to the right of jury nullification, 1/7/2010. Yep, that's about fully informed juries, or FIJA. We've been here many times before, of course. But not with nearly as much apparent sympathy from the NH House Judiciary Committee. Refreshing. And hopeful, eventually culminating in tactical testimony from NHCLU Executive Director Claire Ebel that could just win the day.

Also, bill sponsor, Representative Lars Christiansen (first testimony of part 1) and former Rep. Dick Marple (first testimony of part 2) were guests on Capitol Access later that day. It was, umm... lively.

Submitted by your humble chronicler to Committee members on 1/3/2010...

Members of the NH House Judiciary Committee,

I don't believe there is any substantive academic opposition to the concept that citizen jurors retain the power to judge the laws their delegates pass. Indeed, the Founders, and even the courts, themselves, have recognized this fundamental authority. At least in theory, anyway. In practice, however, the courts are still, even increasingly, rather a bit too full of themselves. They've forgotten their place, if you will.

But those who are charged with upholding "the law" have been delegated no authority whatsoever to overrule a jury's opinion of that law, or even to suggest, by forced omission, that it has no right to such (binding) opinion. That the judicial branch might not like the idea of losing some of its unconstitutionally arrogated power is entirely irrelevant. Mere usurped possession does not establish actual (in this case originally intended) ownership.

HB 1347, relative to the right of jury nullification, is intended to correct this particular bit of governmental hubris. It is, make no mistake, a watershed bill here in the "Live Free or Die" state, and will speak volumes regarding the legislature's reverence for liberty and the supreme rule of Constitutional law over servant government. It needs to pass so that the electorate can, without fear of capricious and unauthorized retribution by its servants, be better informed of its unalienable rights, and begin to reclaim its limited government.

I intend to be at your hearing for HB 1347, Jan 7th, committing the arguments to video, for all your constituents to see. [Said video, through the miracle of time shifting, now appears a few quotes' lengths below...]

"I consider [trial by jury] as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution."
-Thomas Jefferson-
to Thomas Paine, 1789. ME 7:408, Papers 15:269

"It may not be amiss, here, Gentlemen, to remind you of the good old rule, that on questions of fact, it is the province of the jury, on questions of law, it is the province of the court to decide. But it must be observed that by the same law, which recognizes this reasonable distribution of jurisdiction, you have nevertheless a right to take upon yourselves to judge of both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy. ... Both objects are lawfully within your power of decision."
-Chief Justice John Jay-
Georgia v. Brailsford, 1794

"The judge cannot direct a verdict it is true, and the jury has the power to bring in a verdict in the teeth of both law and facts."
-Justice Holmes-
Horning v. District of Columbia, 1920

"If the jury feels the law is unjust, we recognize the undisputed power of the jury to acquit, even if its verdict is contrary to the law as given by a judge, and contrary to the evidence. ... If the jury feels that the law under which the defendant is accused is unjust, or that exigent circumstances justified the actions of the accused, or for any reason which appeals to their logic or passion, the jury has the power to acquit, and the courts must abide by that decision."
-4th Circuit Court of Appeals-
United States v. Moylan, 1969

"We have four boxes used to guarantee our liberty: The soap box, the ballot box, the jury box and the cartridge box."
-Ambrose Bierce- (1887)
In this last 4-box sequence of "bad/unresponsive governance assessment," when "soap" and "ballot" have failed, if "jury" is prohibited from fully serving the necessary relevant function, if liberty-antithetical judicial tyranny is allowed to self-enshrine, what is left to retain any semblance of a free society, citizen? What would the Founders do?

Part 1

Part 2

And here, some selected testimony from John Connell, Rich Angell, and Denis Goddard.

John Connell

Rich Angell, and Denis Goddard

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