I’m about to tell you how to properly exercise your right of Jury Nullification! But first, a little background.
A few days ago I posted a video on Jury Nullification. I hope you’ve watched it. If not, on Facebook, go to the Dave Champion’s Liberty page, click on videos, and watch it. BUT that video, much of which was filmed during a 2002 TV appearance, doesn’t tell you something really critical about Jury Nullification – and I’m going to tell you what that is right now!
What is Jury Nullification? It is a process whereby a juror, or a jury, nullifies a law, or the wrongful application of a law, by refusing to convict a defendant regardless of the weight of the evidence against him.
Although Jury Nullification is 100% legal – and constitutional – the government hates it when you assert your role as We The People who are the source of all legitimate power in this country. In the courtroom, when it comes to Jury Nullification, the government is represented by the judge. Therefore it is the judge who is, ironically, your adversary in exercising your rights as a juror. Let’s go through some do’s and don’t’s.
The first and preeminent rule: KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT ABOUT JURY NULLIFICATION! This rule is a CONSTANT. Let’s look at a few key moments when it is particularly important.
When you arrive at the courthouse and report to the Jury Coordinator (by whatever name that employee might be known in your jurisdiction), KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT ABOUT JURY NULLIFICATION!
When you’re in the courtroom and jury selection [voir dire] is taking place, you may be asked a series of questions by attorneys for both sides. KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT ABOUT JURY NULLIFICATION!
If you are selected for a jury, when in conversation with your fellow jurors, causally or about the case, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT ABOUT JURY NULLIFICATION!
If you are questioned by the judge about the fact that you don’t agree with the other jurors about convicting the defendant, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT ABOUT JURY NULLIFICATION!
While these instructions are clear and shouldn’t need any explanation, let me give you some background to help you understand ‘why’ this rule exists and is the key to successfully implementing Jury Nullification.
If you tell a fellow juror (even in confidence) that you don’t approve of the law that is being enforced, and therefore you’re going to vote for acquittal despite the evidence clearly indicating the defendant’s guilt, you have no way to know whether that juror will tell the judge what you said. You don’t want that.
Let’s say the judge gets wind of, or becomes suspicious that, you’re engaging in Jury Nullification, and has you brought to his chambers. It’s unlikely he’ll come right out and ask if you’re doing so. He’ll likely ask seemingly obtuse questions, such as whether you understand his instruction to the jury, and/or whether you have a problem with those instructions. Do not answer his questions! He cannot compel you to answer. But he is a judge every day, year after year; he knows how to trip you up, so DO NOT ANSWER his questions. To any and every question he asks you should give the following response. “Judge, I understand my duties as a juror. Those duties are mine and mine alone. They are not yours. The determination to convict or acquit is a duty given exclusively to the jurors, not the judge, and this conversation is inappropriate. If there’s nothing else, I’d like to return to the jury deliberation room now.”
The judge may try to tell you he is only trying to help. Your answer should be, “I appreciate that your honor. I’d like to return to the jury deliberation room now.” There is a very slight chance, depending on the personality of the judge, that he may try to get verbally aggressive with you. Let him do his thing. Don’t sweat it. When he stops, simply respond, “Your conduct is completely inappropriate. I’m returning to the jury deliberation room now”, and get up and walk out. These judge’s KNOW they cannot force a juror to speak with them about a verdict. But that may not prevent them from trying to fool/bluff you into saying something you don’t want to say.
And make no mistake, if you bring up Jury Nullification in ANY MANNER the judge will have you removed from the jury and replaced with an alternate juror immediately. Don’t give him that power. YOU keep the power, by keeping your mouth shut!
Let me conclude with this thought. It may seem like you’re sneaking around and therefore you must be doing something wrong. That is exactly the opposite of reality. If you watched the initial video I posted on the subject, you already know that Jury Nullification is a right confirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court, just like freedom of speech or your freedom to breath. It is your right! There is indeed a problem, but it’s not with your actions – it with judges who should never attempt to interfere in your rights, but wrongfully attempt to do so in order to control the process – and to control you! They are in the wrong, not you.
I don’t think anyone is unaware that our country has some problems that need fixing. Judges interfering with your right to Jury Nullification is one of them. However, so few Americans know about their right of Jury Nullification that the time is not yet right to fix the problem by legislation. In the meantime, Jury Nullification is still your right and you should exercise it whenever you feel the law at issue is either wrong in general, or is being applied wrongfully in the case before you. And remember, it only takes one juror to prevent a conviction!
Fortunately, these cases are few and far between. However, if your conscience says, “This is the one”, then by all means exercise your right of Jury Nullification. And finally; some of you may be thinking an encounter with a judge in his chambers would be intimating and stressful. Perhaps, but guess what? Wimps don’t get a Land of Liberty. If you want it, do your job.