Monday, March 8, 2010

Protecting the role and responsibility of the jury

Many people are just learning what should be taught in our grade schools as part of Civics Education. As grassroots Tea Party groups form, they are starting to hold classes on the Constitution. They should be including classes on their Stat Constitution, from the time of the very first when they entered Statehood to present. These documents can usually be found on the state legislators web site under historical documents.

Tea Party groups should also be teaching Civics Classes which include Jury Duty. I have been sending people to the Fully Informed Jury Association where they will find Power Point Presentations, Question and Answer videos, and a host of articles and materials to help educate others.

Jury Duty is one of the most empowering tools that our Founders put in place for us to keep the checks and balance in government. How many times have you voted for a candidate who promised one thing, but when in office does the opposite?

I have had some tell me that Jury Nullification is Anarchy. That juries can't be trusted. Well, here is a lesson in Jury Duty and it's posted right on the U. S. site.

The Trial of William Penn

"The trial takes about twenty minutes. It is amusing and more complex than it appears. Although it may seem simplistic it deals with two very important issues, the writ of habeas corpus and jury nullification."
The next question I get is where did I get the Court Citations that tell us that while the court knows that Jurors have the right to disregard the judges instructions, but that the court doesn't have to tell jurors this.

Well, I found those case citations right in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Criminal Pattern Jury Instructions. So I really hope that people will finally take this tool more seriously and not only educate themselves on it but also others.

The jurors have the power to ignore the court's instructions and bring in a not guilty verdict contrary to the law and the facts. Horning v. District of Columbia, 254 U.S. 135, 138, 41 S.Ct. 53, 54, 65 L.Ed. 185 (1920).

But they should not be told by the court that they have this power. United States v. Krzyske, 836 F.2d 1013, 1021 (6th Cir.), cert. denied, 488 U.S. 832, 109 S.Ct. 89, 102 L.Ed.2d 65 (1988); United States v. Avery, 717 F.2d 1020, 1027 (6th Cir.1983),

They should instead be told that it is their duty to accept and apply the law as given to them by the court. United States v. Avery, supra at 1027.

Sixth Circuit Criminal Pattern Jury Instructions
The Committee on Pattern Jury Instructions of the District Judges Association of the Sixth Circuit on December 31, 2009 posted the updated Sixth Circuit Criminal Pattern Jury Instructions. More Information

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