Professor Faces Trial For Distributing Jury Nullification Pamphlets

JURY1-popupNew York has arrested and brought charges against an eccentric retired chemistry professor who frequently stands outside of federal court and informs passersby about ‘jury nullification’, a controversial practice in which jurors disregard laws they disagree with. Is Julian P. Heicklen a hooligan or hero? Either way, he’s extremely cranky, the New York Times found:

Since 2009, Mr. Heicklen has stood there and at courthouse entrances elsewhere and handed out pamphlets encouraging jurors to ignore the law if they disagree with it, and to render verdicts based on conscience.

That concept, called jury nullification, is highly controversial, and courts are hostile to it. But federal prosecutors have now taken the unusual step of having Mr. Heicklen indicted on a charge that his distributing of such pamphlets at the courthouse entrance violates a law against jury tampering.

Mr. Heicklen was arraigned on Friday in a somewhat contentious hearing before Judge Kimba M. Wood, who entered a not-guilty plea on Mr. Heicklen’s behalf when he refused to say how he would plead. During the proceeding, Mr. Heicklen railed at the judge and the government, and called the indictment “a tissue of lies.”

Mr. Heicklen insists that he never tries to influence specific jurors or cases, and instead gives his brochures to passers-by, hoping that jurors are among them.

But he feels his message must be getting out, or the government would not have brought charges against him.

“If I weren’t having any effect, would they do this?” said Mr. Heicklen, whose former colleagues recall him as a talented and unconventional educator. “You don’t have to be a genius to figure this thing out.”

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  • Liam_McGonagle

    I don’t know what to think, exactly.

    I’m pretty sure that Mr. Heicklen’s observations about nullification are going to become highly relevant in the coming months and years. Wisconsin’s new union-busting bill apparently contains clauses authorizing the outright firing of public employees who engage in strikes. It’s widely felt that a massive strike action of some kind is immanent, so a huge wave of labor cases seem on the horizon as well.

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why Heicklen chose to distribute the things on the steps of a court house. Where else was he going to? Outside a nudie club?

    But you could also easily imagine how other, less savoury characters would use the opening to broadcast subtle intimidation warnings to jurors in specific active cases.

    Is there some convenient and relatively reliable way to make an objective distinction?

    • Anonymous_Reader

      There is a big difference between informing the public of their duty as jurors, which dates back to the Magna Charta, and handing out a notice of threat in a specific case. (Facepalm)

      Remember, it is trial by JURY, not trial by judge or statute.

      • Liam_McGonagle

        Really? Care to articulate language that will be universally applicable in all prospective cases without need for further clarification? I’m sure the legislature will find that handy when they amend the law.

        You couldn’t really be THAT naive. What this man is doing is important, but if you don’t perceive the deep existential danger that accompanies it, well . . . God help you.

        • Anonymous_Reader

          It’s simple. First of all, this is not a “democracy.” Our leaders are elected by a democratic process, but they are limited in how they might legislate by a constitution. A democracy is mob rule. A republic (small “r”) has a set of laws that protect the minority from the majority. We are propagandized to believe this is a democracy so that our opinions can be formed by the official media. Then, the mob votes for things that go against the constitution, which becomes obfuscated, thus leading, perhaps, to dictatorial rule.

          A trial by jury is just that. A jury not only weighs the facts of the case, but the very law as well. Does the law conform to the constitution? Without going into details, I suggest looking at this website: http://fija.org/ . This site might be the source of the brochures being handed out by Mr. Heicklen.

          “If a juror feels that the statute involved in any criminal offence is unfair, or 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 bound 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.” – U.S. Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone, 1941-1946. (Emphases added.)

          A more appropriate garment for the judge to wear at a jury trial would be the black and white stripes of the football referee, making sure that the rules are followed and evidence is admisible, only instructing the jury to follow the constitution.

          The 6th Amendment guarantees a right to a trial by jury, not by judge or statute. The right to a trial by jury imputes a duty to serve on juries and to know what that duty entails. The citizen who serves on a jury should be knowledgable of the constitution (I have a copy of it at home. Do you?) The attorneys on both sides should also be fully versed in it as well, obviously. The jury is the ultimate check on government abuse, which is a fact not taught in government run schools. There are three branches of government, but ultimately the people hold power in the USA, by voting and serving on juries, that is, if they bother to exercise those duties.

          (Don’t get me started on the real purpose of the 2nd Amendment)

          • Liam_McGonagle

            No, it’s not “Simple”. There’s a difference between a constitutional democracy and mob rule. But apparently you don’t understand that.

            You go at some length to try to discuss constitutional niceties without at all addressing the contradiction inherent in embracing nullification. The closest you come to it is the blythe statement “unjust law”. Everyone has their own opinion on what an “unjust law” is but fuck if you’ll ever get 80% to agree to a common definition even in a specific instance. The C.S.A was founded on the principle that the state restricting individuals’ rights over their “property” (i.e., human chattel) were examples of “unjust laws”.

            You’re going to have to try much, much harder than that to impress anyone.

            Hey, I agree that our legal system is being manipulated and perverted by deeply evil skidstains. But papering over the real challenges here with glib little blurbs like “unjust law” and dodging the real issue–reaching moral consensus–just empowers the douchebags.

          • Anonymous_Reader

            “Constitutional democracy” is a contradiction in terms.

            If a US Chief Justice isn’t impressive enough, and you resort to using the term “fuck,” I don’t think anyone could impress you. This is not a nation of “douchbags,” last time I checked. Would you want to be judged by 12 of them, perhaps with your life at stake?

            Meanwhile:

            “It is not only his [the juror's] right, but his duty . . . to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.”
            - John Adams

            “To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions is a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy … I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.” -Thomas Jefferson

            “The jury has the right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy.” – John Jay, co-author of the Federalist Papers and the first U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice.

            “The friends and adversaries of the plan of the [Constitutional] convention, if they agree on nothing else, concur at least in the value they set upon the trial by jury; or if there is any difference between them it consists of this: the former regard it as a valuable safeguard to liberty, the latter represent it as the very palladium of free government.” – Alexander Hamilton

            “…it is presumed, that the juries are the best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumed that the courts are the best judges of law. But still, both objects are within your power of decision. You have a right to take upon yourselves to judge of both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy.” – U.S. Supreme Court (State of Georgia v. Brailsford, 3 DALL. 1,4)

            The jury has….”unreviewable and irreversible power…to acquit in disregard of the instructions on the law given by the trial judge.” – U.S. vs. Dougherty (1972), D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals

            “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. If the defendant preferred the common-sense judgment of a jury to the more tutored but perhaps less sympathetic reaction of the single judge, he was to have it.” – Justice Byron White (Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 US 145, 156 (1968))

            “The purpose of a jury is to guard against the exercise of arbitrary power — to make available the commonsense judgment of the community as a hedge against the overzealous or mistaken prosecutor and in preference to the professional or perhaps overconditioned or biased response of a judge.” – Justice Byron White (Taylor v. Louisiana, 419 US 522, 530 (1975))

            “For more than six hundred years–that is, since Magna Carta, in 1215, there has been no clearer principle of English or American constitutional law, than that, in criminal cases, it is not only the right and duty of juries to judge what are the facts, what is the law, and what was the moral intent of the accused; but that it is also their right, and their primary and paramount duty, to judge of the justice of the law, and to hold all laws invalid, that are, in their opinion, unjust or oppressive, and all persons guiltless in violating, or resisting the execution of, such laws.” – Lysander Spooner, “An Essay on the Trial by Jury,” 1852, p. 11

            “Cowardice asks the question: is it safe? Expediency asks the question: is it politic? Vanity asks the question: is it popular? But conscience asks the question: is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular–but one must take it because it is right. One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws–and unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

            Shall I go on? Are you not yet “impressed?”

          • Liam_McGonagle

            You’re a fool. You’re opening the door to chaos and mob rule without the slightest appreciation of the consequences.

            You seem to believe that trying to distract me with gallons of irrelevant quotations will change that fact that what you advocate is that each and every question be decided based upon the uniformed whim of an undisciplined mob is the height of political philosophy.

            If you want me to take you seriously, you need to cut out the buffoonery and start tackling the real problem here–there is no coherent articulation of America’s moral center anymore. Any jackass can waste hours copying and pasting from wikiquotes if he doesn’t really understand what the central issues are–you’ve just proved that in spades.

          • Liam_McGonagle

            Given your extraordinary ability to misunderstand the only issue at debate here, I felt the need to elaborate further. Though I still despair of your ability to grasp even this single, simple idea:

            “If America’s moral cohesion is so fragile that we need to resort to nullification to void obvious inhuman punishments like 20 year sentences against single mothers convicted of selling $31 in pot, why wouldn’t a redneck jury in Alabama feel equally justified in nullifying a conviction of white mobs who brutally murder minorities for kicks?”

            Get it, Einstein? Nullification shouldn’t be undertaken lightly. It’s a fucking invitation to chaos. And there’s a god-damned historical precedent for it called the Civil War. Killed more Americans than any other war. Ever. No wikiquote bullshit can paper over that.

          • Anonymous_Reader

            “It’s a fucking invitation to chaos.” You mean, in a court of law, there are no rules of evidence, no constitutional point of reference? You have no idea what you are talking about.

          • Liam_McGonagle

            Idiot, once again you demonstrate a super-human ability for Fail.

            Nullification isn’t about rejecting the validity/strength/relevance of evidence or interpretation written law. It’s an outright refusal to follow that written law.

            I’ve already made it clear to anyone with the goddamned brains of a 10 year old that yes, there are many cases where blind adherence to the letter of the law results in unforgivable miscarriages of justice. But to tolerate regular, unrestrained nullification is an invitation to outright contempt for all law other than that imposed by the threat of immediate violence.

            I wish I could say that I’ve never seen such stupendous idiocy before, the likes of you spending hours building a pseudo-intellectual edifiece on a foundation so shallow and shifting as your own unchecked whims. I really wish I could say that.

          • Anonymous_Reader

            No, you fail. If the law is unconstitutional, the jury can render it null and void. Question answered. Case closed. Next case …

          • Liam_McGonagle

            And your silence is golden, jackass. Don’t think we’ve forgotten your multiple failures (what, is this #7 now?) to address the historical chaos wrought by the application of nullification in 1860.

            Why so afraid to touch the question? Is it because it necessarily entails you outright admitting that you don’t know what you’re talking about?

          • Liam_McGonagle

            P.S. Speaking of your hilarious Fails, I’ll add one other point: Your transparent “likes” of your own comments. Fumblenuts, in your mad dash to validate your own misunderstandings you accidently hit “like” on one of my own.

            Keep ‘em coming, Einstein. Anything to avoid addressing the question of 1860, eh?

          • Anonymous_Reader

            So, explain how the Supreme Court is “irrelevant?” Where is the “bufoonery?” Please enlighten me.

            Yes, we should let the politicians rule the mob. Let the judge tell the jury how to rule. Sieg Heil. If the American People can’t figure out how to govern themselves, I guess we need to repeat history again.

            Meanwhile: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-572077907195969915#

          • Liam_McGonagle

            Idiot, read what I’ve written. Because I knew you were extra slow I included an addendndum below, filed at about 6:45pm Eastern.

            If anyone can nullify anything for any reason, who gives two shits about the goddamned courts anymore? It’ll be about “Shoot ‘em all, let God find his own.”

            We need to be spending our energy in re-articulating America’s moral vision. Anything less is giving carte blanche to the very douchebag politicians you claim to be opposed to. It’s just a “happy coincidence” that the lords of financial speculation who own the pols own the courts now, too. Don’t you see that, you worthless sack of shit?

          • Anonymous_Reader

            “Gallons of irrelevant quotations.” Uh, huh. Let’s re-define “trial by jury.”

            “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “It means just what I choose it to mean – neither more or less.”

            The jury trial is the second to the last check on the doings of “douchbag politicians.”

            Let’s “re-articulate America’s moral vision” by name calling. You reveal too much about yourself. If I was your case officer I’d fire you as DisInfo’s official debunker.

            “Worthless sack of shit?” C’mon, you can do better than that.

          • Liam_McGonagle

            I think I’ve made my point: You are totally incapable of addressing my question.

            You’ve basically just admitted that your acritical advocacy of nullification is exactly what assholes who prefer guns to courts want.

            The fact that you don’t understand the applicability of morality proves that you truly are a worthless sack of shit.

            Don’t like it? Take me to court. Just have it nullified.

          • Anonymous_Reader

            I have addressed your question. I have explained what a jury trial is. Jurors (the population) must be educated in order for it to work. You, on the other hand, don’t like the idea, so you call names. you remind me of another Jesuit educated Catholic I know. Always right, superior, know-it-all, but doesn’t really know anything. You should just come out and say that the idea of a jury trial, which dates back centuries, is no good, because everyone is stupid, and our leaders (the mythical “non-corporate” types, which don’t exist) know what’s best for us.

            Name calling speaks volumes. You fume, I laugh.

          • Liam_McGonagle

            And your silence is golden, jackass. Don’t think we’ve forgotten your multiple failures (what, is this #6 now?) to address the historical chaos wrought by the application of nullification in 1860.

            BTW, WTH said I was Jesuit educated? I repeat: Jackass.

          • Gregg Weber

            Jury nullification protects the individual from tyranny. William Penn and Edward Bushnel 1670 come to mind. I certainly don’t want to need to do it as a member of the jury, But I really want it available if I as a defendant was being ramrodded by a tyrant. If you are 100% sure of justice then it isn’t needed, now or in the future.

      • Liam_McGonagle

        The startlingly reckless abandon with which you seem willing to undermine the foundation of common democratic governance really shocked me. Really.

        It took me a few days to notice your response, in part because I’m recovering from a serious illness. But I really feel I need to go on record here with something stronger than what I wrote in my first reply to you today.

        Your response was so glib in its ignorance of the disasterous historical precedent set by the C.S.A with regard to nullifcation that it really cannot go unchallenged. You really need to step up to the plate and offer something more substantive.

        We are in an EXTREMELY dangerous point in American history, in danger of having the machinery of government irretreivably corrupted by a coarse, stupid and immoral plutocracy. We desperately need a response more robust and responsible than “Fight stupid with stupid.”

  • Liam_McGonagle

    I don’t know what to think, exactly.

    I’m pretty sure that Mr. Heicklen’s observations about nullification are going to become highly relevant in the coming months and years. Wisconsin’s new union-busting bill apparently contains clauses authorizing the outright firing of public employees who engage in strikes. It’s widely felt that a massive strike action of some kind is immanent, so a huge wave of labor cases seem on the horizon as well.

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why Heicklen chose to distribute the things on the steps of a court house. Where else was he going to? Outside a nudie club?

    But you could also easily imagine how other, less savoury characters would use the opening to broadcast subtle intimidation warnings to jurors in specific active cases.

    Is there some convenient and relatively reliable way to make an objective distinction?

  • robertpinkerton

    Jury nullification is an inestimable part of juridicial defense of the private person. Civil liberty begins with criminal procedure, because the root of the State’s power is its presumed sanction to crack down on criminals. The nullifying jury is as much a necessary part hereof as is the presumption of innocence of the criminal defendant unless and until proved guilty beyond reasonable doubt to a moral certainty.

  • Anonymous

    Jury nullification is an inestimable part of juridicial defense of the private person. Civil liberty begins with criminal procedure, because the root of the State’s power is its presumed sanction to crack down on criminals. The nullifying jury is as much a necessary part hereof as is the presumption of innocence of the criminal defendant unless and until proved guilty beyond reasonable doubt to a moral certainty.

  • Anonymous

    Jury nullification is an inestimable part of juridicial defense of the private person. Civil liberty begins with criminal procedure, because the root of the State’s power is its presumed sanction to crack down on criminals. The nullifying jury is as much a necessary part hereof as is the presumption of innocence of the criminal defendant unless and until proved guilty beyond reasonable doubt to a moral certainty.

  • WhiteRose

    They have a thing called jury selection. Doesn’t that usually cover this?

    • emperorreagan

      I have been kicked out of jury pools because I state that I would not find anyone guilty for a consensual crime. They do actively ask questions to try to identify people who are unwilling to enforce their pointless laws.

    • http://slrman.wordpress.com/ James Smith

      No, jury selection doesn’t cover this. The legal system would actually declare a mistrial if anyone mentioned it during a case. Everyone connected with the “criminal justice” system in the USA is a liar. This starts with the street cops and includes prosecutors, public defenders, judges, and jailers. They lie to each other, the public, and to themselves. They all are evaluated, paid, and promoted on “cases cleared”. This is why the USA has the greatest percentage of its population incarcerated of any country in the world.

    • Anonymous_Reader

      I have written “letters to the editor” about jury nullification. I have never been sent a jury duty notice in the 16 years I have lived in my state. My wife has been called twice, however.

      • Gregg Weber

        If what you say is right then there is no jury of peers. Merely a stacked jury as stated above. I can see a stacked jury rather than a jury of peers if it was a case of cattle rustling and the jury pool was almost all cattle rustlers who either had a grudge for or against the defendent and couldn’t keep that out of the decision. But those biases can be stacked out of the jury box.
        It is when the prosecution tries to stack the jury in order, not to get justice, but to get a conviction or, for political agenda reasons put someone in a cell that jury nullification is needed to protect the individual from tyranny. To protect you or me from an enemy of the Constitution.

  • WhiteRose

    They have a thing called jury selection. Doesn’t that usually cover this?

  • Marklar_Prime

    Jury nullification is the last bastion of true power for “we the people” and was instrumental in ending many unfair laws including many of the south’s Jim Crow laws although in some incidents white juries would nullify by refusing to convict whites of killing blacks. When juries consistently refuse to enforce a law however, it is obviously heinous and repugnant to the people as a whole and inconsistent with the morals of the community.

    It was once common for Judges to inform juries of their power and right to nullify. A judge who fails to inform them so and in fact informs them falsely to the contrary is himself guilty of true jury tampering of the most heinous kind.

  • http://twitter.com/Marklar_Prime Marklar Kronkite

    Jury nullification is the last bastion of true power for “we the people” and was instrumental in ending many unfair laws including many of the south’s Jim Crow laws although in some incidents white juries would nullify by refusing to convict whites of killing blacks. When juries consistently refuse to enforce a law however, it is obviously heinous and repugnant to the people as a whole and inconsistent with the morals of the community.

    It was once common for Judges to inform juries of their power and right to nullify. A judge who fails to inform them so and in fact informs them falsely to the contrary is himself guilty of true jury tampering of the most heinous kind.

  • tommyboy

    Its a good thing we have the First Amendment, otherwise someone might get arrested for passing out pamphlets on public property

  • tommyboy

    Its a good thing we have the First Amendment, otherwise someone might get arrested for passing out pamphlets on public property

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    So he’s being arrested for telling juries, they don’t have to judge someone guilty on the basis of a law they don’t believe. How are they going to win a court case against him when it comes out(as in the jury is informed of) what the content his pamphlets were?

    I wonder what kind of tactics will be used to try to keep this info away from the jury.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    So he’s being arrested for telling juries, they don’t have to judge someone guilty on the basis of a law they don’t believe. How are they going to win a court case against him when it comes out(as in the jury is informed of) what the content his pamphlets were?

    I wonder what kind of tactics will be used to try to keep this info away from the jury.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    So he’s being arrested for telling juries, they don’t have to judge someone guilty on the basis of a law they don’t believe. How are they going to win a court case against him when it comes out(as in the jury is informed of) what the content his pamphlets were?

    I wonder what kind of tactics will be used to try to keep this info away from the jury.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    That man is a hero. They should be pinning medals on him and lining him up for a Nobel prize for his work bringing understanding of a juries rights to the people who need it most…potential jurists. Its a damned shameful state of affairs when informing people of laws that are already on the books is transformed into criminal act.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    That man is a hero. They should be pinning medals on him and lining him up for a Nobel prize for his work bringing understanding of a juries rights to the people who need it most…potential jurists. Its a damned shameful state of affairs when informing people of laws that are already on the books is transformed into criminal act.

  • emperorreagan

    I have been kicked out of jury pools because I state that I would not find anyone guilty for a consensual crime. They do actively ask questions to try to identify people who are unwilling to enforce their pointless laws.

  • http://slrman.wordpress.com/ James Smith

    Of course the government doesn’t like jury nullification. If every jury was informed about this, common sense might creep into legal cases. The the prosecutors and legal industry would be in real difficulty.

    Does anyone else wonder why jury nullification isn’t a regular part of instructions to the jury? The “justice system” in the USA is a sham.

  • Anonymous

    Of course the government doesn’t like jury nullification. If every jury was informed about this, common sense might creep into legal cases. The the prosecutors and legal industry would be in real difficulty.

    Does anyone else wonder why jury nullification isn’t a regular part of instructions to the jury? The “justice system” in the USA is a sham.

  • Anonymous

    No, jury selection doesn’t cover this. The legal system would actually declare a mistrial if anyone mentioned it during a case. Everyone connected with the “criminal justice” system in the USA is a liar. This starts with the street cops and includes prosecutors, public defenders, judges, and jailers. They lie to each other, the public, and to themselves. They all are evaluated, paid, and promoted on “cases cleared”. This is why the USA has the greatest percentage of its population incarcerated of any country in the world.

  • Anonymous

    I have written “letters to the editor” about jury nullification. I have never been sent a jury duty notice in the 16 years I have lived in my state. My wife has been called twice, however.

  • Anonymous

    There is a big difference between informing the public of their duty as jurors, which dates back to the Magna Charta, and handing out a notice of threat in a specific case. (Facepalm)

    Remember, it is trial by JURY, not trial by judge or statute.

  • Anonymous_Reader
  • Anonymous
  • Anniejrs

    Maybe Mr. Heicklen should be passing out freedom of speech pamphlets instead. As for me, I say we NULLIFY the government.

    • Anonymous_Reader

      Government nullification is what it’s all about. You can’t just talk them to death while juries knuckle under and throw people in jail for violating unconstitutional statutes. Jury nullification is the ultimate check on the three branches of government. This is the big secret that big government hates.

  • Anniejrs

    Maybe Mr. Heicklen should be passing out freedom of speech pamphlets instead. As for me, I say we NULLIFY the government.

  • Anonymous

    Government nullification is what it’s all about. You can’t just talk them to death while juries knuckle under and throw people in jail for violting unconstitutional statutes. Jury nullification is the ultimate check on the three branches of government. This is the big secret that big government hates.

  • plutherus

    How are they going to have a trial without letting the jury know what was in the pamphlets he was handing out?

    • http://twitter.com/Matt73160 Matt Bollman

      awesome!! you’re right! it’s one jury that is required to read the jury nullification pamphlet, and i’d say likely to envoke nullification

  • Anonymous

    How are they going to have a trial without letting the jury know what was in the pamphlets he was handing out?

  • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

    There is nothing “cranky” about jury nullification. It is a basic principle of justice which has been in place since the Magna Carta. Our “justice systems” are evil because they refuse to recognize it. A “justice system” which does not contain jury nullification is not a system of “justice,” it is a dictatorial system in the same way that the “justice system” before the Magna Carta was a dictatorial system.

    For more information: http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/faqs/faq-against-the-court-system/

  • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

    There is nothing “cranky” about jury nullification. It is a basic principle of justice which has been in place since the Magna Carta. Our “justice systems” are evil because they refuse to recognize it. A “justice system” which does not contain jury nullification is not a system of “justice,” it is a dictatorial system in the same way that the “justice system” before the Magna Carta was a dictatorial system.

    For more information: http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/faqs/faq-against-the-court-system/

  • dingobully

    Freedom of speech will hopefully prevail.

  • dingobully

    Freedom of speech will hopefully prevail.

  • http://twitter.com/RadicalApex Radical Apex

    “…to secure [our unalienable] rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED…” -Declaration of Independence

    • http://twitter.com/Matt73160 Matt Bollman

      Touche! The government’s own document, used to establish sovereignty, is the very statement which should check/balance the government’s abuse of power!

  • http://twitter.com/RadicalApex Radical Apex

    “…to secure [our unalienable] rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED…” -Declaration of Independence

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Sadler/100000669567592 Jim Sadler

    So when I call out to all liberals and moderates to always convict or assign payments to conservative defendants all over the land am I tampering with a jury? When I call for all liberals to always prevail in every civil or criminal suit am I tampering? When I express hope that any conservative be fired or his family suffer loss of employment at the hands of liberals am I morally wrong? If I suggest that really bad things should go bump in the night for known conservatives am I somehow doing something illegal. When I suggest that anyone in the chain of command who knows of torture of detainees and fails to act should be put on trial for crimes against humanity should I be rushed to a secret prison with no trials and be tortured? When I protest that we arrange for other nations to torture for us is that treason? Wake up people!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Sadler/100000669567592 Jim Sadler

    So when I call out to all liberals and moderates to always convict or assign payments to conservative defendants all over the land am I tampering with a jury? When I call for all liberals to always prevail in every civil or criminal suit am I tampering? When I express hope that any conservative be fired or his family suffer loss of employment at the hands of liberals am I morally wrong? If I suggest that really bad things should go bump in the night for known conservatives am I somehow doing something illegal. When I suggest that anyone in the chain of command who knows of torture of detainees and fails to act should be put on trial for crimes against humanity should I be rushed to a secret prison with no trials and be tortured? When I protest that we arrange for other nations to torture for us is that treason? Wake up people!

  • Ttfk

    I hope he gets a jury trial for this. It would make for an interesting paradox.

    If you aren’t allowed to dicuss jury nullification without a mistrial, how can you prosecute someone by a jury of his peers without mentioning what he is being prosecuted for, in essence causing a mistrial in and of itself as soon as the charges are mentioned?

  • Ttfk

    I hope he gets a jury trial for this. It would make for an interesting paradox.

    If you aren’t allowed to dicuss jury nullification without a mistrial, how can you prosecute someone by a jury of his peers without mentioning what he is being prosecuted for, in essence causing a mistrial in and of itself as soon as the charges are mentioned?

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Really? Care to articulate language that will be universally applicable in all prospective cases without need for further clarification? I’m sure the legislature will find that handy when they amend the law.

    You couldn’t really be THAT naive. What this man is doing is important, but if you don’t perceive the deep existential danger that accompanies it, well . . . God help you.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    The startlingly reckless abandon with which you seem willing to undermine the foundation of common democratic governance really shocked me. Really.

    It took me a few days to notice your response, in part because I’m recovering from a serious illness. But I really feel I need to go on record here with something stronger than what I wrote in my first reply to you today.

    Your response was so glib in its ignorance of the disasterous historical precedent set by the C.S.A with regard to nullifcation that it really cannot go unchallenged. You really need to step up to the plate and offer something more substantive.

    We are in an EXTREMELY dangerous point in American history, in danger of having the machinery of government irretreivably corrupted by a coarse, stupid and immoral plutocracy. We desperately need a response more robust and responsible than “Fight stupid with stupid.”

  • Anonymous

    It’s simple. First of all, this is not a “democracy.” Our leaders are elected by a democratic process, but they are limited in how they might legislate by a constitution. A democracy is mob rule. A republic (small “r”) has a set of laws that protect the minority from the majority. We are propagandized to believe this is a democracy so that our opinions can be formed by the official media. Then, the mob votes for things that go against the constitution, which becomes obfuscated, thus leading, perhaps, to dictatorial rule.

    A trial by jury is just that. A jury not only weighs the facts of the case, but the very law as well. Does the law conform to the constitution? Without going into details, I suggest looking at this website: http://fija.org/ . This site might be the source of the brochures being handed out by Mr. Heicklen.

    “If a juror feels that the statute involved in any criminal offence is unfair, or 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 bound 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.” – U.S. Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone, 1941-1946. (Emphases added.)

    A more appropriate garment for the judge to wear at a jury trial would be the black and white stripes of the football referee, making sure that the rules are followed and evidence is admisible, only instructing the jury to follow the constitution.

    The 6th Amendment guarantees a right to a trial by jury, not by judge or statute. The right to a trial by jury imputes a duty to serve on juries and to know what that duty entails. The citizen who serves on a jury should be knowledgable of the constitution (I have a copy of it at home. Do you?) The attorneys on both sides should also be fully versed in it as well, obviously. The jury is the ultimate check on government abuse, which is a fact not taught in government run schools. There are three branches of government, but ultimately the people hold power in the USA, by voting and serving on juries, that is, if they bother to exercise those duties.

    (Don’t get me started on the real purpose of the 2nd Amendment)

  • Liam_McGonagle

    No, it’s not “Simple”. There’s a difference between a constitutional democracy and mob rule. But apparently you don’t understand that.

    You go at some length to try to discuss constitutional niceties without at all addressing the contradiction inherent in embracing nullification. The closest you come to it is the blythe statement “unjust law”. Everyone has their own opinion on what an “unjust law” is but fuck if you’ll ever get 80% to agree to a common definition even in a specific instance. The C.S.A was founded on the principle that the state restricting individuals’ rights over their “property” (i.e., human chattel) were examples of “unjust laws”.

    You’re going to have to try much, much harder than that to impress anyone.

    Hey, I agree that our legal system is being manipulated and perverted by deeply evil skidstains. But papering over the real challenges here with glib little blurbs like “unjust law” and dodging the real issue–reaching moral consensus–just empowers the douchebags.

  • Anonymous

    “Constitutional democracy” is a contradiction in terms.

    If a US Chief Justice isn’t impressive enough, and you resort to using the term “fuck,” I don’t think anyone could impress you. This is not a nation of “douchbags,” last time I checked. Would you want to be judged by 12 of them, perhaps with your life at stake?

    Meanwhile:

    “It is not only his [the juror's] right, but his duty . . . to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.”
    - John Adams

    “To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions is a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy … I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.” -Thomas Jefferson

    “The jury has the right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy.” – John Jay, co-author of the Federalist Papers and the first U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice.

    “The friends and adversaries of the plan of the [Constitutional] convention, if they agree on nothing else, concur at least in the value they set upon the trial by jury; or if there is any difference between them it consists of this: the former regard it as a valuable safeguard to liberty, the latter represent it as the very palladium of free government.” – Alexander Hamilton

    “…it is presumed, that the juries are the best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumed that the courts are the best judges of law. But still, both objects are within your power of decision. You have a right to take upon yourselves to judge of both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy.” – U.S. Supreme Court (State of Georgia v. Brailsford, 3 DALL. 1,4)

    The jury has….”unreviewable and irreversible power…to acquit in disregard of the instructions on the law given by the trial judge.” – U.S. vs. Dougherty (1972), D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals

    “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. If the defendant preferred the common-sense judgment of a jury to the more tutored but perhaps less sympathetic reaction of the single judge, he was to have it.” – Justice Byron White (Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 US 145, 156 (1968))

    “The purpose of a jury is to guard against the exercise of arbitrary power — to make available the commonsense judgment of the community as a hedge against the overzealous or mistaken prosecutor and in preference to the professional or perhaps overconditioned or biased response of a judge.” – Justice Byron White (Taylor v. Louisiana, 419 US 522, 530 (1975))

    “For more than six hundred years–that is, since Magna Carta, in 1215, there has been no clearer principle of English or American constitutional law, than that, in criminal cases, it is not only the right and duty of juries to judge what are the facts, what is the law, and what was the moral intent of the accused; but that it is also their right, and their primary and paramount duty, to judge of the justice of the law, and to hold all laws invalid, that are, in their opinion, unjust or oppressive, and all persons guiltless in violating, or resisting the execution of, such laws.” – Lysander Spooner, “An Essay on the Trial by Jury,” 1852, p. 11

    “Cowardice asks the question: is it safe? Expediency asks the question: is it politic? Vanity asks the question: is it popular? But conscience asks the question: is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular–but one must take it because it is right. One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws–and unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Shall I go on? Are you not yet “impressed?”

  • Liam_McGonagle

    You’re a fool. You’re opening the door to chaos and mob rule without the slightest appreciation of the consequences.

    You seem to believe that trying to distract me with gallons of irrelevant quotations will change that fact that what you advocate is that each and every question be decided based upon the uniformed whim of an undisciplined mob is the height of political philosophy.

    If you want me to take you seriously, you need to cut out the buffoonery and start tackling the real problem here–there is no coherent articulation of America’s moral center anymore. Any jackass can waste hours copying and pasting from wikiquotes if he doesn’t really understand what the central issues are–you’ve just proved that in spades.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Given your extraordinary ability to misunderstand the only issue at debate here, I felt the need to elaborate further. Though I still despair of your ability to grasp even this single, simple idea:

    “If America’s moral cohesion is so fragile that we need to resort to nullification to void obvious inhuman punishments like 20 year sentences against single mothers convicted of selling $31 in pot, why wouldn’t a redneck jury in Alabama feel equally justified in nullifying a conviction of white mobs who brutally murder minorities for kicks?”

    Get it, Einstein? Nullification shouldn’t be undertaken lightly. It’s a fucking invitation to chaos. And there’s a god-damned historical precedent for it called the Civil War. Killed more Americans than any other war. Ever. No wikiquote bullshit can paper over that.

  • Anonymous

    So, explain how the Supreme Court is “irrelevant?” Where is the “bufoonery?” Please enlighten me.

    Yes, we should let the politicians rule the mob. Let the judge tell the jury how to rule. Sieg Heil. If the American People can’t figure out how to govern themselves, I guess we need to repeat history again.

    Meanwhile: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-572077907195969915#

  • Anonymous

    Idiot, read what I’ve written. Because I knew you were extra slow I included an addendndum below, filed at about 6:45pm Eastern.

    If anyone can nullify anything for any reason, who gives two shits about the goddamned courts anymore? It’ll be about “Shoot ‘em all, let God find his own.”

    We need to be spending our energy in re-articulating America’s moral vision. Anything less is giving carte blanche to the very douchebag politicians you claim to be opposed to. It’s just a “happy coincidence” that the lords of financial speculation who own the pols own the courts now, too. Don’t you see that, you worthless sack of shit?

  • Anonymous

    “Gallons of irrelevant quotations.” Uh, huh. Let’s re-define “trial by jury.”

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “It means just what I choose it to mean – neither more or less.”

    The jury trial is the second to the last check on the doings of “douchbag politicians.”

    Let’s “re-articulate America’s moral vision” by name calling. You reveal too much about yourself. If I was your case officer I’d fire you as DisInfo’s official debunker.

    “Worthless sack of shit?” C’mon, you can do better than that.

  • Anonymous

    “It’s a fucking invitation to chaos.” You mean, in a court of law, there are no rules of evidence, no constitutional point of reference? You have no idea what you are talking about.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    I think I’ve made my point: You are totally incapable of addressing my question.

    You’ve basically just admitted that your acritical advocacy of nullification is exactly what assholes who prefer guns to courts want.

    The fact that you don’t understand the applicability of morality proves that you truly are a worthless sack of shit.

    Don’t like it? Take me to court. Just have it nullified.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Idiot, once again you demonstrate a super-human ability for Fail.

    Nullification isn’t about rejecting the validity/strength/relevance of evidence or interpretation written law. It’s an outright refusal to follow that written law.

    I’ve already made it clear to anyone with the goddamned brains of a 10 year old that yes, there are many cases where blind adherence to the letter of the law results in unforgivable miscarriages of justice. But to tolerate regular, unrestrained nullification is an invitation to outright contempt for all law other than that imposed by the threat of immediate violence.

    I wish I could say that I’ve never seen such stupendous idiocy before, the likes of you spending hours building a pseudo-intellectual edifiece on a foundation so shallow and shifting as your own unchecked whims. I really wish I could say that.

  • Anonymous

    No, you fail. If the law is unconstitutional, the jury can render it null and void. Question answered. Case closed. Next case …

  • Anonymous

    I have addressed your question. I have explained what a jury trial is. Jurors (the population) must be educated in order for it to work. You, on the other hand, don’t like the idea, so you call names. you remind me of another Jesuit educated Catholic I know. Always right, superior, know-it-all, but doesn’t really know anything. You should just come out and say that the idea of a jury trial, which dates back centuries, is no good, because everyone is stupid, and our leaders (the mythical “non-corporate” types, which don’t exist) know what’s best for us.

    Name calling speaks volumes. You fume, I laugh.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    And your silence is golden, jackass. Don’t think we’ve forgotten your multiple failures (what, is this #6 now?) to address the historical chaos wrought by the application of nullification in 1860.

    BTW, WTH said I was Jesuit educated? I repeat: Jackass.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    And your silence is golden, jackass. Don’t think we’ve forgotten your multiple failures (what, is this #7 now?) to address the historical chaos wrought by the application of nullification in 1860.

    Why so afraid to touch the question? Is it because it necessarily entails you outright admitting that you don’t know what you’re talking about?

  • Liam_McGonagle

    P.S. Speaking of your hilarious Fails, I’ll add one other point: Your transparent “likes” of your own comments. Fumblenuts, in your mad dash to validate your own misunderstandings you accidently hit “like” on one of my own.

    Keep ‘em coming, Einstein. Anything to avoid addressing the question of 1860, eh?

  • http://twitter.com/Matt73160 Matt Bollman

    awesome!! you’re right! it’s one jury that is required to read the jury nullification pamphlet, and i’d say likely to envoke nullification

  • http://twitter.com/Matt73160 Matt Bollman

    Touche! The government’s own document, used to establish sovereignty, is the very statement which should check/balance the government’s abuse of power!

  • Pinhead22

    HE broke no law, he did not tamper with any jury, and he’s right nullification is the right of a juror

  • Pinhead22

    HE broke no law, he did not tamper with any jury, and he’s right nullification is the right of a juror

  • Pinhead22

    HE broke no law, he did not tamper with any jury, and he’s right nullification is the right of a juror

  • Gregg Weber

    Jury nullification protects the individual from tyranny. William Penn and Edward Bushnel 1670 come to mind. I certainly don’t want to need to do it as a member of the jury, But I really want it available if I as a defendant was being ramrodded by a tyrant. If you are 100% sure of justice then it isn’t needed, now or in the future.

  • Gregg Weber

    Jury nullification protects the individual from tyranny. William Penn and Edward Bushnel 1670 come to mind. I certainly don’t want to need to do it as a member of the jury, But I really want it available if I as a defendant was being ramrodded by a tyrant. If you are 100% sure of justice then it isn’t needed, now or in the future.

  • Gregg Weber

    Jury nullification protects the individual from tyranny. William Penn and Edward Bushnel 1670 come to mind. I certainly don’t want to need to do it as a member of the jury, But I really want it available if I as a defendant was being ramrodded by a tyrant. If you are 100% sure of justice then it isn’t needed, now or in the future.

  • Gregg Weber

    If what you say is right then there is no jury of peers. Merely a stacked jury as stated above. I can see a stacked jury rather than a jury of peers if it was a case of cattle rustling and the jury pool was almost all cattle rustlers who either had a grudge for or against the defendent and couldn’t keep that out of the decision. But those biases can be stacked out of the jury box.
    It is when the prosecution tries to stack the jury in order, not to get justice, but to get a conviction or, for political agenda reasons put someone in a cell that jury nullification is needed to protect the individual from tyranny. To protect you or me from an enemy of the Constitution.

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