There is a secret historical power of the people won through hard and long struggle from a British king who claimed to rule by divine right. This power was codified in the now 800-year-old Magna Carta. Modern-day petty kings, otherwise known as ‘judges,’ would like to take this power back away from you. In fact, they have successfully done so since an 1895 US supreme court ruling.
This secret power doesn’t require a majority vote. It doesn’t care whether you are a civil disobedient, an agorist, a democrat or a left libertarian. It doesn’t require marksmanship skills or an ability to speak in public. This power is unique because it requires only one person to act on his conscience and vote no. This power is called jury nullification.
Jury nullification, according to lawyer and scholar Clay Conrad, “is the doctrine that a criminal trial juror can refuse to convict on conscientious grounds if they believe the law is unjust, the law is being unjustly applied or the defendant has already suffered enough.”
Jury nullification is our best strategy for taking away the state’s ability to prosecute victimless political crimes such as fabricated charges, drug charges, self-defense-related charges, activism-related charges and any other of the many abuses that happen daily within the state injustice system. By informing the public about the existence of jury nullification, we can reduce not just the flow of political prisoners into the state’s cages but also the flow of money from asset forfeiture into police department coffers. We can strangle the prison-industrial complex and muzzle runaway cops and prosecutors.
Sure, there are other ways to influence the outcome of the many trials that take place every day around the country, and the world. We can hire expensive lawyers. We can try to elect the right politicians who will appoint and approve the right judges. We can work on creating and distributing better defensive technology in order to evade detection and capture. But none of those options are as cheap or effective as jury nullification nor do they have the potential to actively involve a greater number of people in the project. Every day of the week around the country and the world, jurors are seated. Many of them don’t know about jury nullification. The judge won’t tell them and the defense attorneys are usually not allowed to say anything.
That’s where we come in.
Now, you might google jury nullification or jury rights activism and find a bunch of activists getting beaten down outside courthouses. Julian Heicklen is the most prominent recent example along with myself (in 2010). However, you should pay no mind to this because people like James Cox, John Connell, Jim Babb and Jake Witmer have engaged in jury rights activism time and time again without getting arrested. They share their secret strategies in the below interviews. I recorded these interviews precisely for your benefit, so that you can have an impact for individual freedom while doing jury rights pamphleting – without undue fear of being arrested.
And don’t let anyone tell you that jury nullification is illegal. It’s not. In fact, in 1972 the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals held that the trial jury has an “… unreviewable and irreversible power … to acquit in disregard of the instruction on the law given by the trial judge.” The pages of history shine upon instances of the jury’s exercise of its prerogative to disregard instructions of the judge; for example, acquittals under the fugitive slave law (473F 2dl 113).”
The Call to Action
Jury rights activism can be done in many ways. The conventional way is to pamphlet the general public – jurors and potential jurors – outside of courthouses and in other places where large crowds gather. But there are other ways. We can put up billboards. We can run TV and radio ads. We can make videos, write blog posts, tweet and update our other social media profiles. We can put signs in stores. We can speak to social, community and political groups as well as at schools. Perhaps you can come up with an even more original and effective way to do it.
Shield Mutual has promised that, as we grow, we will divert a portion of profits into a series of deliverables that will accrue to the liberty community and our cause. These deliverables, which you can read more about on our Vision page, will advance our evolution towards the stateless society. As Shield Mutual grows, so does the liberty community.
One of those deliverables is the Jury Rights Project, a decentralized group of activists intent on informing jurors and potential jurors of their right to judge the law as well as the facts and their historical power to safeguard individual liberty from government tyranny. We are proceeding quickly to launch our first chapter in Washington, DC on September 9. We’re simultaneously working on social media outreach and a pilot program to send an experienced activist or group of activists into an area where they will build an enduring jury rights activism group. This group will continue operations with support from the international Jury Rights Project headquarters indefinitely. Our trainers will then go out again and build another enduring group over and over again across the country, and eventually the world. We will work within the system to inform jurors of their rights and powers.
Get involved. If you are in the Washington, D.C. area, come out on Monday, September 9 for our founding event there. Activists will be pamphleting and at least one veteran activist is coming from out of town to train new activists in how to do jury rights activism effectively without being arrested.
Please stay tuned here at Shield Mutual dot com for more information about the Jury Rights Project as we launch it. Join our mailing list (top right) to get updates. We need your help to make this happen. The Jury Rights Project is not a shot in the dark that will make a splash today and be gone tomorrow. Shield Mutual is committed to maintaining it in an aggressive posture indefinitely.
Most importantly, celebrate Jury Rights Day, September 5, by sharing this post so that other activists can find out about this awesome yet neglected power and how they can have an impact for justice and liberty.
As an added bonus, Ian No Masters generously shares this 24-page essay, “Jury Independence: Safeguard of the Citizenry” for free distribution in PDF format. If you find it useful, please donate to the bitcoin address on the first page of the document.
And I will leave you with these comedic thoughts from Doug Stanhope.
Get informed now and get involved today! Share this article and/or the video interviews on September 5 to celebrate Jury Rights Day. And join us by telling 3 people about jury rights.