You, as a juror, armed with the knowledge of what a Common Law Jury really is, and what your common law rights, powers, and duties really are, can do more to restore some justice and liberty in the United States than any mass of politicians ever could. If you feel the statute involved in any criminal case being tried by you is unfair, or that it infringes upon the defendant's God-given Constitutional, Inalienable rights, you must affirm that the offending statute is really no law at all, and that the violation of it is no crime at all. No man or woman is bound to obey an unjust law or command, and we, the jurors, have the power necessary to insure this.
How is this possible? Because even without the agreement of any of your fellow jurors in a criminal trial, you, with your single vote of NOT GUILTY, can nullify or invalidate any man-made law involved in a case that should not be enforced. If a defendant is charged with disobedience of a criminal statute, and the statute itself is unjust, that defendant has committed no crime, and jurors are bound to hold for the acquittal of said defendant. Your vote of Not Guilty must be respected by all other members of the jury.
As a member of a jury, you are not there as a fool, merely to agree with the majority, but as an officer of the court and a qualified judge in your own right. Despite the pressures or abuse that may be heaped on you by any or all members of the jury with whom you may in good conscience disagree, you can await the reading of the verdict secure in the knowledge you have voted your own conscience and convictions, not those of someone else. There lies the opportunity for the accomplishment of "liberty and justice for all." If you, and many other jurors throughout the state and nation begin and continue to bring in verdicts of Not Guilty in such cases where a man-made statute is defective or oppressive, these statutes will become as ineffective as if they had never been written. It only takes one juror to effect a verdict of Not Guilty in any criminal trial, a fact that could prove to be of great interest should you, yourself, be the defendant and your accuser happen to be the government.
The Charge to the Jury in the First Jury Trial before the Supreme Court of the U.S. illustrates the true power of the jury. In the February term of 1794, the supreme Court conducted a jury trial in the case of the State of Georgia vs. Brailsford, et al, 3 Dall. 1 "...it is presumed, that 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." (State of Georgia vs. Brailsford, et al, 3 Dall. 1)As the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has clearly acknowledged, there can be no doubt that the jury has an "unreviewable and unreversible power... to acquit in disregard of the instructions on the law given by the trial judge..." US vs. Dougherty, 473 F 2d 1113, 1139 (1972).
Or as the same truth was stated in an earlier decision by the United States
Court of Appeals for the District of Maryland:
We recognize, as appellants urge, the undisputed power of the jury to acquit, even if its verdict is contrary to the law as given by the judge, and contrary to the evidence. This is a power that must exist as long as we adhere to the general verdict in criminal cases, for the courts cannot search the minds of the jurors to find the basis upon which they judge. 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." US Vs. Moylan, 417 F 2d 1002, 1006 (1969).
The law as written and invoked by prosecutors, "demands conviction of persons whom local or even general opinion does not desire to punish." (See Law in Books and Law in Action, Dean Roscoe Pound, 44 American Law Review, 12, 18 (1910). Hence, jury disregard of the limited and generally conviction-oriented evidence presented for its consideration, and jury disregard for what the trial judge wants them to believe is the controlling law in any particular case (sometimes facetiously referred to as "jury lawlessness") is not something to be scrupulously avoided, but rather encouraged; as witness the following quote from the eminent legal authority above-mentioned: "Jury lawlessness is the greatest corrective of law in its actual administration. The will of the state at large imposed on a reluctant community, the will of a majority imposed on a vigorous and determined minority, find the same obstacle in the local jury that formerly confronted kings and ministers." (Dougherty, cited above, note 32, at 1130.)
"The pages of history shine on instances of the jury's exercise of its prerogative to disregard uncontradicted evidence and instructions to the judge. Most often commended are the 18th century acquittal of Peter Zenger of seditious libel, on the plea of Andrew Hamilton, and the 19th century acquittals in prosecutions under the fugitive slave law. The values involved drop slightly [but are noteworthy, nonetheless] when the liberty vindicated by the verdict relates to the defendant's shooting of his wife's paramour, or purchase during Prohibition of alcoholic beverages." (Dougherty, cited above, at 1130.) Rather than referring to the prior as instances of "jury lawlessness," we should say that they are examples of courageous adherence, by one or more jurors in each case, to the natural law of justice; tempered, perhaps, by kindness, understanding, or mercy.
In addition, the trial judge is generally spoken of as "the judge" but this he logically cannot be such in a trial by jury. In every such trial, the judges, preferably twelve in number, are all seated in the jury box. They are there to try the case themselves, as they see it, and not as someone may instruct them to see it. This means that the "trial judge" is not a true judge at all during a jury trial. In a trial by a jury of twelve juror-judges, the "judge" is merely the headmaster of procedure.
Every jury in the country has the right to bring in a verdict based on, not whether the defendant's act or omission was merely contrary to a dictionary interpretation of the words or phrases used in some man-made statute recited to it by the trial "judge," but whether or not the defendant's act or omission was truly blameworthy according to the jury's (and representatively, the community's) natural sense of morality and justice. It is a well established principle in criminal jurisprudence that an act or omission does not make a man guilty unless he be so by intention.
The right of the jury to disregard either the law (as laid down by the trial "judge")or the facts (as permitted by the same trial "judge" to be placed in evidence) is referred to in legal terminology as the jury's prerogative of nullification (jury's lawlessness) which means that where jurors cannot in conscience impose blame, they cannot in conscience allow punishment.
The prerogative of nullification (jury lawlessness) is not only legitimate, but a praiseworthy right of the jury, also. Prerogative nullification is a mechanism that permits the jury, as voices for the community's conscience, to disregard the strict requirements of man-made law, as well as the "judge's" instructions to the jury where it finds that those requirements cannot be justly applied in a particular case. The doctrine, or prerogative, of nullification "permits the jury to bring to bear on the criminal process a sense of fairness and particularized justice." (Dougherty, cited above, at 1142.) Sadly, the courts today conceal this knowledge from the jury, and is effectively condemned by the "judge" in the presence of the jury.
"The way the jury operates may be radically altered if there is alteration in the way it is told to operate." (Dougherty, cited above, at 1135.) The jury's options are by no means limited to the choices presented to it in the courtroom. "The jury gets its understanding as to the arrangements in the legal system from more than one voice. There is the formal communication from the 'judge.' There is the informal communication from the total culture - literature; current comment, conversation; and, of course, history and tradition." (Dougherty, cited above, at 1135.)
Jurors are not told, either formally or informally, that they have the right to judge for themselves what the controlling law is or ought to be in any particular case. They are not told that individual jurors have the right to decide for themselves what things are to be accounted as facts, and what things are unworthy of consideration, irregardless of what the "judge" deems fit, or unfit, to be admitted into evidence. Although they are not told so, juror's still maintain the prerogative of nullification, despite any judge's "Charge to the jury," which is a set of (often biased) instructions conveying what the "judge" considers to be the controlling law, or what the "judge" wants the jury to think the controlling law is in a particular case being tried by them. As long as juror's remain uninformed of their rights... no, their obligations, justice will remain a slanted game of wealth, lawyers, and trial judges.
The duty of a juror is to decide the legal and evidentiary aspects of a case according to one's own conscience, regardless of any "juror's oath" which is supposed to bind said juror to deciding the case being tried according to the "law" and "facts" as determined and issued by a trial "judge." A juror should accept no dictation as to law or fact from the trial judge, who, in a trial by jury, is merely the chief assistant of the 12 juror-judges sworn to hear and try the case. Within any legal contest between a private party and the government, the position of trial judge is that of official advocate and representative of the government. No man should be given power of judge in his own case, but this breakdown in justice maintains precedence in courtrooms today because jurors are deliberately kept ignorant, uninformed as to their true role as a "palladium of liberty," a barrier against tyranny and oppression of government. Juries which serve without understanding their true role become tools in the hands of government, unwitting pawns which are guided and directed in the execution of any injustice or oppression that government may want to institute.
If not for each juror's right to rule on the interpretation of the law and the justice of the law, juries would be no protection to an accused person, even as to matters of fact; for if the government can dictate to the jurors any law whatsoever, it can certainly dictate to them the laws of evidence. That is, government can decide, all on its own, what evidence is admissible or inadmissible, as well as the importance of what is allowed. If the government can thus control and manipulate the evidence that the jurors are allowed to consider, and then require them to decide according to that evidence and none other, it can also manipulate and control their deliberations in the jury room. In which case, the trial is actually a trial by the government and not a trial by the jury at all.
Every jury in the land is tampered with and falsely instructed by the judge when it is told it must accept, as the law, that which is given to them by the court, and that the jury can only decide the facts of the case. This is to destroy the purpose of a common law jury, and to permit the imposition of tyranny upon a people who, otherwise, would resist by their juries' refusal to uphold unconstitutional law.
Jurors, who are the only lawful judges in any case being tried by them, are under no obligation to accept or be guided by the law as given to them by the government through the "judge." There is no rule of common justice or common right by which the twelve juror-judges can be held to consider only the evidence which has met the government's approval, or by which they can be prevented from the consideration of other facts or circumstances involved. They should do, whatever in their opinion is the best , from the standpoint of preventing or averting injustice. The jurors are representing the people are in a legal position to effectively shelter the people from official abuse.
That is why it is necessary that jurors throughout these United States disregard the law as laid down to them by the trial "judge," whenever the law is violative of any of the defendant's inalienable, God-given common law or Constitutional rights. Whenever any rule or regulation is placed in the statute books, the "judge" imposes this newly adopted "law" upon the jury as being authoritative and binding when, in fact, its binding force has never been ascertained, certainly not finally or conclusively. Jurors often bring in a verdict in accordance with the judge's dictates because they fear offending the judge, then the authority and presumed binding force of the untested statute is thereby established as precedent. The people as a whole are thus brought under the yoke of the new "law," and having been upheld in one or more previous cases, it will be enforced against them in the future, should they refuse to comply with its unjust proscriptions or exactions.
You, as a juror, have it within your power, as occupiers of the most important decision making office in the land, to nullify every rule or "law" that is not in accordance with the principles of natural, God-given, common, or Constitutional law. It is precisely this power of nullification that makes trial by jury our most important right. It is the only right which can protect and preserve all of the citizen's other rights. The best, most readily available and only real legal protection against criminal activities of elected and/or appointed officials, and against the ever-increasing usurpations of federal, state, and local government, lies in the Common Law or Magna Carta Jury.
The Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights are designed to hold the national government in check; to protect the individual citizen from an unchecked government. However, those documents are not a safeguard to liberty should they stand in the way of a government that has either the cunning to evade their requirements, or the power of force to overcome those who would attempt to defend their Constitutional Rights. Consequently, if there exists no tribunal apart from, uncontrolled by, and above the government with power to nullify government's unjust "laws" as fast as they can be written and entered into our statute books, we are no longer free.
Such a tribunal does exist; the 12-person, 12-judge, Common Law Jury which was first accurately described in Magna Carta in the year 1215, and which was put into effect with all its powers by the people of the United States on March 4, 1789. The Honorable Theo. Parsons in the Massachusetts convention of 1788, answering the objection that the Constitution of the United States, as submitted to the people for adoption, contained no Bill of Rights, said: "The people themselves have it in their power effectually to resist usurpation, without being driven to an appeal to arms. An act of usurpation is not obligatory; it is not law; and any man may be justified in his resistance. Let him be considered as a criminal by the general government, yet only his fellow citizens can convict him; they're his jury, and if they pronounce him innocent, not all the powers of Congress can hurt him; and innocent they certainly will pronounce him if the supposed law he resisted was an act of usurpation." (2 Elliot's Debates, 94; Bancroft, History of the Constitution, 267.)