Saturday, November 28, 2009

Jury Nullification Rights

Betty Mydland second year criminal justice student, discusses what she has learned about jury nullification.

Taking Your Case to the Grand Jury
By George Raudenbush

Through all the trials and tribulations I have come to experience, I have learned first, to trust in the creator. Second, question myself before others because sometimes I tend to get in the way of the creators plans for my life. His ways are much higher than my ways. I have also learned not to fully rely upon my own understandings (knowledge and education) and circumstances. Trusting in the creator is a learning process in which He has always kept His promises to me even in the most tiring of times and circumstances.

Unfortunately for many individuals justice doesn’t prevail because they are not properly prepared in knowledge or the right of mind. The Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights recognizes and guarantees that our rights are inherent from God. That means no man can take away our inherent and unalienable rights without our knowledgeable or consented permission and or through deception or lack of knowledge. In the second instance, the error can be reversed because fraud exists. In the later there is no relief because it is our responsibility and duty to learn and understand our basic rights as citizens in society. If we fail in doing this, we fail to ourselves and to our nation.

Because of the overwhelming corruption in our judiciary and public offices, justice is not easily found. The grand jury is influenced by both the judge and members of the district attorneys office. Jury steering is common place among judges and lawyers trying to gain influence over important decisions in politics and personal agendas. Power through manipulation to control is common place today among members of the judiciary and public officials. FULL STORY (2009 Winter Newsletter, Vol. 20, Issue 4

On the Grand Jury
Fully Informed Jury Association
Post Office Box 5570 Helena, MT 59604-5570 1-800-TEL-JURY

The U.S. Attorneys Manual states that prosecutors “must recognize that the grand jury is an independent body, whose functions include not only the investigation of crime and the initiation of criminal prosecution but
also the protection of the citizenry from unfounded criminal charges” (USAM, Section 9-11.010). The Manual recognizes that targets of investigations have the right and can “request or demand the opportunity to tell the grand jury their side of the story” (USAM, Section 9-11.152).

The Supreme Court states that the independent grand jury’s purpose is not only to investigate possible criminal conduct, but to act as a
“protector of citizens against arbitrary and oppressive governmental action,” and to perform its functions, the independent grand jury “deliberates in secret and may determine alone the course of its inquiry” (United States v. Calandra, 414 U.S. 338 (1974)). An independent grand jury is to “stand between the prosecutor and the accused,” and to determine whether a charge is legitimate, or is “dictated by malice or personal ill will” (Hale v. Henkel, 201 U.S. 43 (1906)). The grand jury is to protect citizens against “hasty, malicious and oppressive persecution” and to insure that prosecutions are not “dictated by an intimidating power or by malice and personal ill will” (Wood v. Georgia, 370 U.S. 375 (1962)). The independent grand jury is described as “a body with powers of investigation and inquisition, the scope of whose inquiries is not to be limited narrowly by questions of propriety or forecasts of the probable result of the investigation” (Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665 (1972)). “Without thorough and effective investigation, the grand jury would be unable either to ferret out crimes deserving of prosecution, or to screen out charges not warranting prosecution.” (U.S. v. Sells Engineering, 463 U.S. 418 (1983))

Here are some comments from a person who was brought up for indictment: “Obviously a grand jury could not fulfill its duties if it is only allowed to hear evidence which the government chooses to let it hear. Therefore, while I would be more than happy to answer any questions that you or members of the grand jury may have, and while I have no intention of engaging in a prolonged, unlimited monologue, there is additional information which must be provided to the grand jury in order for the members thereof to thoroughly perform their Constitutional duties. I trust that you, the prosecutor, will not attempt to censor me, or suppress such information from being seen by the grand jury, when I am testifying.” The grand jury refused to indict her after hearing her testimony, by the way.

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