Curt Chancler &
Too often Americans forget
they were guaranteed a republican form of government with democratic
elections in order to protect our sovereignty as citizens. But even
with this protection our elected representatives occasionally make laws
that are no good and not well received by the electorate.
Fortunately our forefathers
anticipated that problem. They gave us a clear, basic, and forthright
method of correcting unacceptable laws. It is jury nullification. Jury
nullification allows the citizen to judge the law as it applies to a
given case, but unfortunately you will hear the exact opposite from
A citizen’s last bastion
of justice is a trial by a jury of his peers. The judiciary has eliminated,
eradicated or simply ignored many rights, but a jury still may judge
both the law and the case before them. To accomplish this they must
ignore a small portion of the “judges’ instructions to the
jury,” and in so doing all jurors will know in their hearts they
are doing the right thing. They will also live with a much cleaner conscience.
For whatever reason, the
government is turning more frequently to the administrative courts to
determine law. These administrative courts negate most judicial safeguards.
Most particularly, the right to appeal the hearings officer’s
or tribunal’s decision and the right to a jury trial are not part
of administrative law.
In the Oregon system, judges
would like you to think that only the Judge can dictate the law. However,
the jury has the ultimate responsibility and duty to determine the case
and the law. The decision of the jury cannot be re-examined by any Court
of the United States. Is it any wonder that the legal system would like
to eliminate, or at least control, juries?
Research has established
that the intent of the Signer’s of our Constitution regarding
juries was that they were to judge the law as well as the case. Oregon’s
Article 1, Section 16 states that jury decisions must be made “under
the direction of the Court as to law” but the jury will determine
the “law as well as the facts.”
In Oregon, judges are not
required to inform the jury of their rights and they do not. Lawyers
are not allowed to bring up jury nullification and they do not. That
does not make jury nullification any less legal or applicable in coming
to a decision.
is a common tactic of Oregon judges and attorneys who select only those
who promise to abide by the direction of the court as to the law. This
would be much more difficult if those who appeared for jury duty knew
their rights, and more importantly their duty, as jurists.
Uninformed juries, in fear
of the consequences that the judge might mete out, cave in to the coercive
actions of the presiding officer. This would be less likely to happen
if the schools were teaching the rights and duties of the citizen jurist
as part of their curriculum.
Schools could teach of leaders such as John Adams, Thomas Jefferson,
John Jay and Alexander Hamilton who spoke out on the rights of the jury.
Citizens should know that
in 1972, Justice Byron White and Justice Thurgood Marshal spoke out
on the duty of the juror to judge the law as well as the case before
them. Also South Carolina in U.S. v. Gaudin (1995) ruled that juries
are empowered to determine relevance and materiality. U.S. vs. Dougherty,
473 F 2nd 1113, 1139, (1972) states "The pages of history shine
on instances of the jury's exercise of its prerogative to disregard
instructions of the judge..."Citizens must understand that they
are NOT obliged to set aside their conscience and their beliefs to follow
the direction of a Court official. The fact that the Court chooses to
ignore the rights and duties of the jury in no way obligates the jury
to obey a judge who instructs them to perform against their conscience.
As far back as 1894 Alexander
Hamilton admonished that “Jurors should acquit even against the
judge’s instruction…” if exercising their judgment
with discretion and honesty they have a clear conviction that the charge
of the court is wrong.” Today, knowledge of this statement is
even more important as we see juries blindly obey agenda-driven judges.
As Justice Byron White in
Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 US 145, 156 (1968) stated, “Providing
an accused with the right to be tried by a jury of his peers gave him
an inestimable safeguard against the corrupt or overzealous prosecutor
and against the compliant, biased, or eccentric judge.” It is
the duty and obligation of anyone called for jury duty to know his/her
rights and to exercise them. When you come before a court for jury selection
you may simply state, “Your Honor, I know it is my duty as well
as my right to judge both the case and the law.” In many states
this will undoubtedly be cause for dismissal but you will have alerted
others in the courtroom of their rights and duty.
Hopefully, this would help
curtail judges and the legal profession from controlling and directing
the outcome of cases that are to be placed in the hands of a jury. It
would also alert the lawmaking body of our government that they cannot
continue to make laws that infringe on the rights of Americans.
We as citizens must remember
that our forefathers gave us the ultimate veto power to use when the
government fails us. The jury is our last protection against tyrannical
law and an out of control government that only pays lip service to our
rights and their oath of office. It is the duty of the jury to correct
The trial jury has more
power than Congress, the President, or even the Supreme Court because
they have the final veto power over all “acts of the legislature.”
It is also the responsibility of the juror to insist that his vote be
respected by all other members of the jury. The juror is not there to
agree with the majority, but to act as a qualified judge to see that
justice is done. Each juror must step forward to protect all innocent
Americans from unjust laws.
It is strongly urged that
every citizen log on to the many internet sites which describe and define
jury rights and the rights of jury nullification. Remember, if you do
not exercise your rights you will lose your rights!