Wednesday, December 8, 2010

quotes on law and jury

"If a juror accepts as the law that which the judge states then that juror has accepted the exercise of absolute authority of a government employee and has surrendered a power and right that once was the citizen's safeguard of liberty, -- For the saddest epitaph which can be carved in the memory of a vanished liberty is that it was lost because its possessors failed to stretch forth a saving hand while yet there was time." -- George Sutherland, (1862-1942) U. S. Supreme Court Justice

"If the jurors feels that the statute (law) involved in any criminal offence is unfair, all that it infringes upon the defendant's natural God-given unalienable or Constitutional Rights, then it is his duty to affirm that the offending statute is really no law at all and that the violation of it is no crime at all - for no-one is found to obey an unjust law".

"That juror must vote Not Guilty regardless of the pressures or abuses that may be heaped on him by any or all members of the jury with whom he may in good conscience disagree. He is voting on the justice of the law according to his own conscience and convictions and not someone else's. The law itself is on trial quite as much as the case which is to be decided."
-- Harlan F. Stone, 12th Chief Justice U.S. Supreme Court

"We must never cease to proclaim in fearless tones the great principles of freedom and the rights of man which are the joint inheritance of the English-speaking world and which through Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, the Habeas Corpus, Trial by Jury, and the English common law, find their most famous expression in the American Declaration of Independence." -- Winston Churchill, (1874-1965) Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Source: To Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, 1946

"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

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 (1920).


Orlin said...

This is good to know. I've never been called to act on a jury and that is good because I would most likely not observe a judges instructions to view an offense in a certain manner that may be different from my perspective.

Rose said...

I just added to what was there. You may also want to view the videos on the site.