Copyright ©, 1994-2008, Dwight M. Callaway
THE JURY, STUPID !
During the 1992 presidential campaign, James Carville,
campaign manager for
In 1789, Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to Thomas Paine:
“I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by men, by which the government can be held to the principles of its constitution.”
Jefferson saw trial by jury as the greatest power that the people have, and the only way the people had to personally and directly prevent government employees from flagrantly ignoring constitutional restraints and oppressing the people with excessive and often ridiculous laws and regulations (like we live under today).
Trial by jury, with its inherent right and power of the jurors to “veto” or “nullify” bad laws, is the common man’s “peaceful eraser” of legislated and regulated stupidity, theft and tyranny.
From the beginning of trial by jury, most judges have
coveted the jury’s awesome power to veto bad laws. In the 19th century, because of
various excuses, more and more judges succumbed to temptation and usurped the
jury’s power to nullify bad laws by concealment and deception. A debate on these abuses raged in the
judiciary in the mid to late 19th century. Then in a bitter 1894 U.S. Supreme Court split
decision, (Sparf and Hansen vs.
“we often hear in conversation doctrines advanced for law, which, if true, would render juries a mere ostentation and pageantry, and the court absolute judges of law and fact”
And this is precisely what the judges have done to the jury since 1895. If a jury can be successfully tricked by the judge; if the jury does not otherwise understand its true and historic rights, powers and duties, it is not a true jury at all. It could be called twelve stage props or twelve puppets controlled by a lawyer in a black robe, but a true jury it definitely is not. It is a sham, a “mere ostentation and pageantry” and will remain so until someone (like you) tells jurors about their rights, powers and duties – and about the judges’ agenda and tactics that destroy self-government itself.
It is of greater
importance to notice what
He did not say that the
“only anchor” was no national bank or no fiat (paper) money, although
If Thomas Jefferson were here today, and saw a nation where people complain, petition and fight (and usually lose) incessant battles with a corrupt and unresponsive government; saw a nation where the government servants have often become our masters; saw a nation where the citizen’s most powerful and easily available tool to control government has been gradually concealed and almost hidden by judges; saw a nation where the people impotently complain and whine about government and feel resentful, frustrated and cynical, while the most powerful and available solution we have ever had lies dormant and almost forgotten, perhaps Thomas Jefferson would raise his voice and shout to all of America:
“THE JURY, STUPID!”
Thomas Jefferson would see instantly what most people don’t yet realize: that our twentieth-century slide into big government, bad laws, over-regulation of everything and everybody; lives dominated by bureaucratic bullies and government parasites started with the loss of true trial by educated and empowered jury. Almost all of the freedom we have lost and nearly every foolish politician’s scheme we now live under has come about since that infamous 1894 Supreme Court decision.
But as jurors we can personally, directly and immediately reduce the abuses and the power of government by refusing to enforce unnecessary and abusive laws and regulations. And eventually even the size and the expense of government will be reduced because of Jury Nullifications.
Government wields all usurped power, intimidates and controls people by one and only one means: by enforcing bad laws.
Every single jury nullification of any bad law automatically takes an increment of stolen power away from government. Sometimes the increments are small, but history records that sometimes the “increments” are massive and beneficially change the course of history. (See The History of Jury Nullification )
Even in small increments repeated nullifications tend to cascade and gain momentum and will eventually kill laws and put entire government agencies out of business. Remember a government agency has no power and no reason to exist if all or even most of its laws and regulations have been rendered impotent - killed by jury nullifications.
All power lost by government due to jury nullifications automatically flows back into the hands of the people, where it rightfully belongs. The people can use their ever increasing power to bring about other related or even unrelated reforms in government. Routine and numerous jury nullifications are the first step that must happen before our bloated and power abusing government can be brought back under the control of the people.
Jury nullifications stun, rebuke, and demoralize formerly arrogant politicians, bureaucrats, police and judges. A jury nullification is a very unpleasant experience for abusive government employees. Jury nullifications cause better behavior in government employees. Enough jury nullifications drive out of government employment the worst kinds of people. Thus jury nullifications create the conditions where honest and humble public servants can rise to positions of influence in government.
Jury nullifications give abusive bureaucrats and judges a “public spanking”, as they bring joy and hope to long-suffering citizens. Jury nullifications actually heal citizenship, filling people who had withdrawn from public affairs and activism with a sense of empowerment. If you have been looking for a way to rein in government, you have found it. Compared to a “jury revolution” conventional (but popular) ideas such as term limits, tax limits, replacing politicians, writing letters to congress, etc. are fatally ineffective.
We are learning the hard
Restoring the practice of juries consistently nullifying all bad laws merely requires a critical mass or critical percent of the registered voters or the “jury pool” to clearly understand jury nullification and how to successfully use it. Once a critical percent of the people understand the jury’s power and the tactics that judges use to steal that power, it will become impossible for judges to manipulate and control jurors. It will also become impossible for freedom stealing and unpopular “laws” to ever be enforced again at jury trials. The will cause a revolution in government and in the balance of power between the people and the bureaucrats. And this will lead directly to the restoration of the Citizen Controlled Grand Jury. The Grand Jury is truly the nemesis of bad government being an “offensive weapon” that can investigate suspected politicians, bureaucrats and even judges and indict them, bringing them to trial. The grand jury was hijacked and stolen from the people by statutes in the nineteenth century. Therefore, laws will have to be passed (or repealed) to restore the Grand Jury back to the control of the grand jurors themselves. Making the restoration of the true Grand Jury the “second stage” of The Jury Revolution.
The jury is truly the Achilles heel of bad and abusive government because it is where the people so clearly have superior power over any government employee or agency. But this is true only if you and enough other people understand that power and how to competently use it.
“If you don’t understand your power and how to use it, then you don’t (really) have it.”
Will you join with the Jury Education movement and help create the Jury Revolution? Will you commit to doing this until your state has achieved the needed critical mass of educated and confident jurors? Other political and social concerns and goals that you may have and other organizations that you may belong to will all be greatly benefited by the restoration of true trial by jury and the true citizen grand jury. Government will be rendered weaker and the people will be made stronger and happier. The Jury Revolution will help to heal the psychological afflictions of fear of government, cynicism, apathy, withdrawal, cowardice, etc.
“The jury which is the most energetic means of making the people rule, is also the most effective means of teaching it to rule”
Alexis de Tocqueville –
When fully understood and assimilated, the knowledge of one’s specific power and duty as a juror is eventually generalized into an understanding of one’s power and duty as a citizen. Deeply understanding our power as a juror actually transforms us as citizens. We will remember and understand that not just on jury duty are we superior to government; but every day we are the “boss” and we have a duty to act like it. Remember, people only want to participate when they have power or the ability to make a difference. People do not like to participate when they are unskilled and impotent. This is clearly true in sports, for instance. Everyone understands this. But it is just as true in the arena of citizenship and activism. The theft of real trial by jury is a major reason for citizen apathy and laziness. When you have no power you do not want to participate. Our power as voters is insignificant compared to our power to nullify bad laws on a trial jury or indict criminals on the grand jury. Judges and lawyers understand this; that is why they stole our juries. We can take our juries back anytime we stand up and do it.
When people understand how powerful the jury is; when they read about hated laws and bureau_rats being “struck down” by juries, they will feel more confident and powerful as citizens. This transformation in the people’s confidence and attitude toward citizenship will bring a boon of volunteers to all worthy citizen organizations and movements. And it will obviously make the work of all citizen organizations working on government reform and related issues much easier to accomplish.
Therefore, a major
prerequisite to restoring
Copyright ©, 1994-2008, Dwight M. Callaway
Permission is given by the author to quote, copy, print or post this article, with attribution. Comments to
Dwight Callaway : jury_revolution (at) yahoo.com Include “jury” in the subject line
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