Jury nullification
Jury nullification

One of Britain’s cultural blessings is the common law and the right to a jury trial. Naturally this historic right and last bastion of liberty is increasingly under threat. Those “progressives” will never leave well enough alone. Sure the right to was written in the Magna Carta in 1215, but who cares about that anymore? The icons of the evil forces of conservatism must not stand in the way of progress.

Trial by jury is important for multiple reasons other than the it being an ancient right. One role of the jury is as the final bastion of liberty against a despotic government. I kid you not. The jury can find a person innocent against the weight of evidence if they disagree with the law. This is termed jury nullification. It is the role of the jury to judge the law itself and to vote on the verdict according to conscience.

The US provides a recent example of what is effectively preemptive jury nullification:

Missoula District Court: Jury pool in marijuana case stages ‘mutiny’: Jurors – well, potential jurors – staged a revolt.

They took the law into their own hands, as it were, and made it clear they weren’t about to convict anybody for having a couple of buds of marijuana. Never mind that the defendant in question also faced a felony charge of criminal distribution of dangerous drugs.

The tiny amount of marijuana police found while searching Touray Cornell’s home on April 23 became a huge issue for some members of the jury panel.

No, they said, one after the other. No way would they convict somebody for having a 16th of an ounce.

In fact, one juror wondered why the county was wasting time and money prosecuting the case at all, said a flummoxed Deputy Missoula County Attorney Andrew Paul.

District Judge Dusty Deschamps took a quick poll as to who might agree. Of the 27 potential jurors before him, maybe five raised their hands. A couple of others had already been excused because of their philosophical objections. Hat tip Boing Boing.

The case did not go to trial and the person being prosecuted reached an agreement whereby he left court a free man without a conviction being recorded. It is not exactly a case of jury nullification as the jury was not empaneled. But it is similar enough to make the point.

A UK case demonstrates just how important the right of jury nullification is:

Jury nullification: In 1982, during the Falklands War, the British Royal Navy sank an Argentine Cruiser – the “ARA General Belgrano“. A civil servant (government employee) named Clive Ponting leaked two government documents concerning the sinking of the cruiser to a Member of Parliament (Tam Dalyell) and was subsequently charged with breaching section 2 of the Official Secrets Act 1911. The judge in the case directed[dubious – discuss] the jury to convict Ponting as he had clearly contravened the Act by leaking official information about the sinking of the Belgrano during the Falklands War. His main defense, that it was in the public interest that this information be made available, was rejected on the grounds that “the public interest is what the government of the day says it is”, but the jury nevertheless acquitted him, much to the consternation of the Government. He had argued that he had acted out of ‘his duty to the interests of the state’; the judge had argued that civil servants owed their duty to the government.

Like so many other liberties the defense provided by juries is being undermined in the UK:

End to Right to Trial by Jury in England and Wales: The first serious criminal trial in 400 years to be held without a jury ended on the 31st of March 2010 with the conviction of four men for an armed robbery at Heathrow airport.

The defendants were found guilty at their forth trial. This trial was made possible by the Criminal Justice Act (2003) which removed the right to trial by jury.

Sadly it appears to be another case of the world view of the right having been perverted by the “progressive” left ideology. Once they step upon the slippery slope they almost inevitably progress in a downward direction. Is this how civilization falls. Death by a thousand cuts?

The Canadian Supreme Court also supports the right:

Jury nullification: The Supreme Court more recently issued a decision, R. v. Krieger 2006 SCC 47,[21] which confirmed that juries in Canada have the power to refuse to apply the law when their consciences require that they do so. Within this decision, it is stated that “juries are not entitled as a matter of right to refuse to apply the law — but they do have the power to do so when their consciences permit of no other course.”

The US has a long history of Jury nullification:

Jury nullification: In the United States, jury nullification first appeared in the pre-Civil War era when juries sometimes refused to convict for violations of the Fugitive Slave Act. Later, during Prohibition, juries often nullified alcohol control laws,[23] possibly as often as 60% of the time.[24] This resistance is considered to have contributed to the adoption of the Twenty-first amendment repealing the Eighteenth amendment which established Prohibition. Amidst the Civil Rights Movement, during the 20th Century, several all-white juries, despite overwhelming evidence of guilt, acquitted white defendants accused of murdering blacks.[25]

But despite no evidence of support from the people there are attempts to reduce this barrier to tyranny:

Jury nullification: In recent years, judges seem to be less likely to favor jury nullification. While unable to take away the power of nullification, they have done much to prevent its use. The first landmark decisions since the adoption of the U.S. Constitution confirmed several rights of the defense in a criminal case: a requirement on the bench not make a decision on motions until all legal arguments had been made by both sides; the right to be free of making those arguments before the jury had been seated; and the right to make those legal arguments to the jury.[31][32]

The first major decision that departed from this line was Games v. Stiles ex dem Dunn, 39 U.S. 322 (1840),[33] which held that the bench could override the verdict of the jury on a point of law. The 1895 decision in Sparf v. U.S. written by Justice John Marshall Harlan held that a trial judge has no responsibility to inform the jury of the right to nullify laws. It was a 5-4 decision. This decision, often cited, has led to a common practice by United States judges to penalize anyone who attempts to present a nullification argument to jurors and to declare a mistrial if such argument has been presented to them. In some states, jurors are likely to be struck from the panel during voir dire if they will not agree to accept as correct the rulings and instructions of the law as provided by the judge.[34]

Recent court rulings have contributed to the prevention of jury nullification. A 1969 Fourth Circuit decision, U.S. v. Moylan, affirmed the right of jury nullification, but also upheld the power of the court to refuse to permit an instruction to the jury to this effect.[35] In 1972, in United States v. Dougherty473 F.2d 1113, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a ruling similar to Moylan that affirmed the de facto power of a jury to nullify the law but upheld the denial of the defense’s chance to instruct the jury about the power to nullify.[36] In 1988, theSixth Circuit upheld a jury instruction that “There is no such thing as valid jury nullification.”[37] In 1997, the Second Circuit ruled that jurors can be removed if there is evidence that they intend to nullify the law, under Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure 23(b).[38] The Supreme Court has not recently confronted the issue of jury nullification. Further, as officers of the court, attorneys have sworn an oath to uphold the law, and are considered by bar associations to be ethically prohibited from directly advocating for jury nullification.[39]

The US thus finds itself in the positions where:

Jury Nullification: Freedom’s Last Chance: In only one state out of the 50 — Maryland — does the State Constitution oblige the judge to inform the jury that they have the right to acquit where the facts prove the defendent technically guilty but the sensibility of the jury holds that he or she did no real wrong. In the other 49 states, the right exists nebulously, like a ghost, haunting old parchments; judges do not talk about it, and juries, not knowing that they hold in their hands the final checkmate against tyranny, do not exercise the authority they possess

The Anglo inspired systems of government provide multiple tribunals with veto power. In the the US this takes the form of representatives, senate, executive, judges and juries. Each law has to pass all these barriers before those who violate it can be punished. Thus is liberty enshrined in the very fabric of our society. We mess with it at our peril. One need only look at the efforts to thwart justice in the Geert Wilders case to realise how risky it its to overly empower the judiciary.

The need for the role of consience in the criminal justuce system is manifest. But its application should reflect the values of the community, not that of a privileged elite. A jury is meant to be randomly drawn from the community. It is meant to reflect the communities values. The judiciary do not.

Activist judges should be aware of the role of the jury and not try to abrogate this role to themselves. It is a sad reflection of the progressive left influence on society that bodies which once protected our society and civilization now undermine it. Activist judges through their ability to throw the whole justice system into question are a case in point. As often are the public positions of “progressive” supreme court judges. If we think their public utterances misguided and foolish this will inform our attitude to them more generally and by extension to the highest court in the land. Naturally this will also undermine confidence in lower courts.

If activist judges are truly concerned about potentially inequitable outcomes in a case they should inform the jury of their role in judging the law. This would be a better way to achieve justice in the justice system than for activist judges arbitrarily abrogating the power to enforce or reject the law unto themselves.

Of course, jury trials can be problematic in a tribal system. If people put the interests of their tribe above that of the nation, then they will find members of their tribe innocent when they have harmed those not of their tribe. Despite their British antecedents neither Israel or Singapore have trial by jury. It is one more reason for not creating a tribal or multicultural society in one blessed with a cohesive culture.

The various moves to confiscate the proceeds of crime also open the door to tyranny. In order to stop the “criminal” disposing of the money they can try and freeze it before the person is found guilty. They may also limit the ability of those charged to fund their defense. Perhaps claiming they have “kick-back” arrangements with their defense council. Of course governments would never try and limit the ability of citizens to defend themselves – gun control anyone?

  1. I couldn’t resist commenting. Well written!

    Also visit my homepage – privatepharmacy.net reviews

  2. My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find most of your
    post’s to be exactly what I’m looking for.
    Would you offer guest writers to write content for you
    personally? I wouldn’t mind composing a post or elaborating on many of the subjects you write related to here.
    Again, awesome weblog!

    My web-site; reliablerxpharmacy.com legit

  3. Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this article and also
    the rest of the site is very good.

  4. Good post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon everyday.

    It’s always interesting to read through content from other writers and practice a little something from their websites.

  5. Usually I don’t read article on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very pressured me
    to check out and do so! Your writing taste has been surprised me.
    Thanks, very great post.

  6. Why people still use to read news papers when in this
    technological globe all is presented on net?

  7. Awesome blog! Do you have any suggestions
    for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost
    on everything. Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are
    so many options out there that I’m completely overwhelmed ..
    Any suggestions? Cheers!

    Here is my web-site … 1stpharm.com coupon

  8. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long
    as I provide credit and sources back to your webpage? My blog site is in the
    very same area of interest as yours and my users would certainly benefit
    from a lot of the information you provide here.
    Please let me know if this ok with you. Many thanks!

  9. It’s an amazing article designed for all the online users;
    they will get benefit from it I am sure.

  10. This article presents clear idea for the new viewers of blogging,
    that actually how to do running a blog.

    Feel free to surf to my web-site; cheap-rx.com legit

  11. It’s hard to come by well-informed people for this topic,
    but you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  12. I like the valuable information you provide in your articles.
    I will bookmark your blog and check again here frequently.
    I’m quite sure I will learn many new stuff right here!

    Best of luck for the next!

    my web-site … 4rx

  13. hello!,I like your writing very much! percentage we be in contact extra approximately your post on AOL?
    I need an expert in this house to solve my problem. May be that’s
    you! Looking ahead to peer you.

    my web blog :: indian-pharma-online.com reviews

  14. Since the admin of this site is working, no question very rapidly it will be famous, due to its
    quality contents.

    my blog post: 1strxcenter.com scam

  15. I think the admin of this website is actually working
    hard in favor of his site, for the reason that here every information is quality based data.

  16. Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a handful of unrelated information, nevertheless actually worth taking a appear, whoa did a single learn about Mid East has got far more problerms as well.

  17. Here is a great Weblog You may Uncover Interesting that we encourage you to visit.

  18. Howdy! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone 3gs! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the excellent work!

  19. the time to study or pay a visit to the content material or websites we’ve linked to below the

  20. we came across a cool internet site that you simply might appreciate. Take a appear in case you want

  21. Today, while I was at work, my sister stole my iPad and tested to see if it can survive a 25 foot drop,
    just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and she
    has 83 views. I know this is totally off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  22. one of our visitors not too long ago proposed the following website

  23. although web-sites we backlink to beneath are considerably not associated to ours, we really feel they are in fact really worth a go by, so possess a look

  24. one of our guests not too long ago suggested the following website

  25. we like to honor quite a few other world wide web web pages on the net, even when they arent linked to us, by linking to them. Below are some webpages really worth checking out

  26. Every once in a though we opt for blogs that we study. Listed beneath would be the newest sites that we decide on

  27. just beneath, are many totally not related web pages to ours, even so, they are certainly worth going over

  28. here are some links to web pages that we link to simply because we assume they’re worth visiting

  29. Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a handful of unrelated data, nevertheless genuinely worth taking a look, whoa did one particular understand about Mid East has got extra problerms as well

  30. that may be the end of this post. Right here you will come across some websites that we think youll appreciate, just click the links over

  31. Thank you for some other great post. The place else may just anyone get that type of information in such an ideal method of writing? I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I’m at the look for such information.

  32. The information talked about inside the article are some of the very best offered

  33. I feel that is one of the so much vital information for me.
    And i am glad reading your article. However wanna remark on few general things, The site style is wonderful, the articles is in reality
    excellent : D. Excellent activity, cheers http://www.facebook.com/Vitamin-Shoppe-Coupon-Codes-1880283042254350/

  34. please pay a visit to the web pages we stick to, including this 1, as it represents our picks through the web

  35. that is the end of this report. Right here youll uncover some internet sites that we feel youll enjoy, just click the links over

  36. the time to read or go to the content or websites we have linked to below the

  37. check beneath, are some absolutely unrelated web-sites to ours, nevertheless, they’re most trustworthy sources that we use

  38. I am really loving the theme/design of your web site. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility problems? A few of my blog visitors have complained about my site not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Safari. Do you have any recommendations to help fix this problem?

  39. just beneath, are several totally not associated web sites to ours, on the other hand, they are certainly really worth going over

  40. the time to read or take a look at the subject material or sites we have linked to beneath the

  41. Here is an excellent Blog You may Discover Fascinating that we Encourage You

  42. Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a few unrelated data, nonetheless seriously really worth taking a search, whoa did 1 master about Mid East has got a lot more problerms as well

  43. Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a few unrelated data, nevertheless really worth taking a search, whoa did one understand about Mid East has got a lot more problerms as well

  44. What’s Going down i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I have discovered It absolutely useful and it has helped me out loads. I am hoping to contribute & assist different customers like its helped me. Great job.

  45. I was just looking for this information for a while. After 6 hours of continuous Googleing, finally I got it in your website. I wonder what’s the lack of Google strategy that don’t rank this type of informative sites in top of the list. Generally the top websites are full of garbage.

  46. check below, are some totally unrelated sites to ours, having said that, they’re most trustworthy sources that we use

  47. I blog quite often and I genuinely appreciate your information. The article has
    truly peaked my interest. I will book mark your website and keep checking for new information about once per week.
    I opted in for your Feed too. http://bit.ly/2lZh8pz

  48. You made some respectable points there. I looked on the internet for the issue and found most individuals will associate with with your website.

  49. Sites of interest we have a link to

  50. just beneath, are many completely not related sites to ours, nonetheless, they are surely worth going over

  51. check beneath, are some entirely unrelated internet websites to ours, even so, they’re most trustworthy sources that we use

  52. First of all I want to say wonderful blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts before writing. I have had difficulty clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out. I truly do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints? Appreciate it!

  53. here are some links to web-sites that we link to since we assume they are really worth visiting

  54. Every the moment inside a even though we decide on blogs that we read. Listed beneath are the latest sites that we pick

  55. just beneath, are many entirely not connected sites to ours, nonetheless, they are surely really worth going over

  56. we like to honor quite a few other world-wide-web web-sites around the net, even though they arent linked to us, by linking to them. Beneath are some webpages worth checking out

  57. The info mentioned within the post are a number of the best out there

  58. It’s awesome to pay a visit this site and reading the
    views of all mates concerning this paragraph, while I am also zealous of getting familiarity. http://ow.ly/qTqn309WHJh

  59. the time to study or go to the material or sites we’ve linked to below the

  60. Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a handful of unrelated data, nevertheless definitely really worth taking a appear, whoa did one particular master about Mid East has got much more problerms as well

  61. It’s laborious to search out educated people on this subject, but you sound like you realize what you’re speaking about! Thanks

  62. although sites we backlink to beneath are considerably not connected to ours, we really feel they may be basically really worth a go via, so have a look

  63. usually posts some pretty fascinating stuff like this. If youre new to this site

  64. although websites we backlink to beneath are considerably not connected to ours, we really feel they are essentially really worth a go by way of, so have a look

  65. although sites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we feel they’re really worth a go by means of, so have a look

  66. just beneath, are several completely not related internet sites to ours, nevertheless, they are certainly really worth going over

  67. The details talked about inside the post are a few of the most effective readily available

  68. Here is a good Weblog You might Find Interesting that we Encourage You

  69. we like to honor numerous other net sites on the internet, even though they arent linked to us, by linking to them. Beneath are some webpages really worth checking out

  70. Sites of interest we have a link to

  71. The information and facts talked about inside the write-up are a few of the most effective offered

  72. Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a handful of unrelated information, nevertheless seriously really worth taking a appear, whoa did one find out about Mid East has got more problerms also

  73. always a major fan of linking to bloggers that I really like but do not get lots of link really like from

  74. The other day, while I was at work, my sister stole my iPad and tested to see if it can survive a 30 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now destroyed and she has 83 views. I know this is totally off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  75. Sites of interest we’ve a link to

  76. one of our visitors just lately encouraged the following website

  77. Yet another thing is that while looking for a good internet electronics retail outlet, look for web shops that are frequently updated, preserving up-to-date with the most up-to-date products, the most beneficial deals, and helpful information on products and services. This will ensure you are getting through a shop which stays over the competition and provide you what you should need to make knowledgeable, well-informed electronics purchases. Thanks for the significant tips I have learned through your blog.

  78. always a massive fan of linking to bloggers that I like but do not get lots of link enjoy from

  79. please visit the web-sites we comply with, which includes this a single, as it represents our picks from the web