The Coastal Post - December, 1996

The Fully Informed Jury

BY KIRBY FERRIS

The gun control advocates in America are facing stiffer opposition these days. The newly-formed Lawyers Second Amendment Society has its feet on the ground and is making itself heard. Now LSAS has aided Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership in the creation of a highly informative comic book, entitled "Can You Get a Fair Trial in America?" In it, a law-abiding woman is arrested for carrying an unregistered handgun. She successfully scares off armed attackers, calls the police, and is then arrested for packing a handgun without a concealed carry permit. Daniel Schultz, the author of the booklet and practicing attorney, uses this event to dramatize the appalling status of legal affairs in our nation today.

On trial is every sane and law-abiding American's right to self-defense. The police has absolutely no duty to protect you (Bowes vs. DeVito, 1982, and South vs. Maryland, 1856). Using the drama of the armed woman's arrest, the booklet goes into the fully-informed jury movement. The role of the jury in America is explained in an easy to understand and logical manner. In short, the jury has the power, even the duty, to vote against bad laws. The armed woman broke the technical law, but she did not break the moral law. She threatened no one else except her attackers. An added hook to the story is the detail that the woman has previously been arbitrarily denied a concealed weapons permit by the local sheriff-something that will happen to you here in Marin County if you apply for a carry permit.

Juries have gotten a bad rap lately. The Rodney King beating incident and the O.J. debacle has stimulated the insidious attitude that maybe we should get rid of unanimous jury vote in criminal trials. Maybe make it nine to three, or seven to five, to convict. This is a dangerous, and truly un-American, brainstorm.

The historical record shows that this nation's legal system was instituted with the express direction that the jury had the right to overturn bad law in the case before it. Jurors are supposed to vote their conscience. The jury is the citizens' protection from tyrannical government. You can't necessarily count on the police. They work for the government. You can't count on the District Attorney. He or she works for the government. You certainly can't count on the judges, because they also work for the government. In fact, the judge will likely try to hide the juror's true power from them! The judge will instruct the jury to "judge the facts of the case" only. In the booklet, Webster's 1828 dictionary definition of "jury" is reprinted. In part it reads: "Petty juries, consisting usually of 12 men, attend court to try matters of fact in civil cases and to decide both the law and the fact in criminal prosecutions."

The American citizen has three votes in his or her arsenal to counteract tyranny. They are the ballot box, in which you elect representatives that you can hopefully trust to create just laws and repeal bad laws; you have your second vote if you serve on a grand jury-you can vote against the government and deny a criminal indictment against one of your fellow citizens. And then you have your third vote in the "party" or "Petit" jury. Each of these votes is meant to be an insulation from overbearing government incursion into your life and freedom.

If all of these votes fail, you have a final vote, and that is the bullet box, the "right to revolution" that is made as clear as day in the Declaration of Independence, and is the true intent of the Second Amendment, the right of the People to keep and bear arms. The trick is the make that somber "fourth vote" eternally unnecessary here in America. And to do that we must all reassert our power at the polls and in the grand jury and petit jury rooms, while at the same time, never surrendering our right to private firearms ownership.

The scary part of this whole scenario is that the system is not working. Your ballot box vote is stolen from you every time a candidate makes a promise, gets elected, and then breaks that promise. The bastards lie to get your vote. Your vote is effectively stolen from you as soon as the representative takes office.

The grand juries have been corrupted by government. A grand jury is supposed to be a completely independent authority. But over and again grand juries are denied the independent subpoena powers they should be allowed to exercise. The grand jury in the Oklahoma City bombing was an appalling example of this kind of usurpation of power.

The petit jury-the 12 peers of the defendant-has been corrupted by the judicial instruction process. Did you know that if your defense attorney attempts to tell the jury in your case of its true power, the judge will tell the jury to disregard your attorney and will then cite your defense counsel for contempt of court?

Fortunately, in 1983 the Supreme Court ruled that the sidewalks in front of the courthouses in America were "free speech zones." You can hand out copies of "Can You Get a Fair Trial in America?" to anyone you want! Maybe we should give it a try

Contact Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, 2872 S. Wentworth Ave., Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53207, (414) 769-0760. A single booklet is $3 postpaid, but only 38 cents apiece if you buy a hundred. See you down at the courthouse!

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