Time: Mon Jun 16 13:56:23 1997
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Date: Mon, 16 Jun 1997 13:43:10 -0700
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From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]

>                         JURY NULLIFICATION
>In a recent trial in Colorado, a juror was convicted of contempt of
>court when she refused to convict a defendant of drug possession. The
>juror, who felt the prosecution had failed to prove their case beyond a
>reasonable doubt, also felt that her conscience would not allow her to
>subject the defendant to a lengthy prison sentence for simply possessing
>a minuscule amount of white powder.
>Gubernatorial candidate Steve Kubby was shocked by the Colorado
>decision. Kubby is fed up with bad laws, and vows that once elected, he
>will require judges to fully inform jurors of their power to judge the
>law itself; as well as the accused.  "Judges won't like it, but I will
>pardon anyone convicted by a jury which has not been fully informed of
>all of its powers," says the indignant Kubby.
>Kubby is not alone. A growing number of people are speaking out in favor
>of informing juries of all their powers.  Jury nullification, or jury
>"veto power," is the right of the jury to bring back a verdict of
>acquittal, even if that verdict is contrary to the facts.  It is the
>right of jurors to use discretion.  It is the right of juries to
>"nullify" laws, in a particular instance, either because the jurors
>believe the law itself is unjust, or because the jurors believe the
>application of the law would be unjust. Jury nullification is the right
>of jurors to evaluate the law, as well as the evidence, and to vote in a
>way that will do justice, and not violate the juror's conscience,
>regardless of the evidence.
>The jury, the cornerstone of the American justice system, is under
>assault today like never before in our nation's history. The concepts of
>"innocent until proven guilty" and "better ten guilty people go free,
>than one innocent person go to prison," have been pushed into the
>background as Americans, upset with what they perceive to be rising
>crime, look for ways to provide security to themselves and their
>families. The jury system was designed to protect citizens from
>overzealous prosecutors, biased judges, oppressive government, and
>unjust laws.  Juries were designed to impart the conscience and
>discretion of the community to the enforcement of laws.  Just as a
>police officer has discretion on whether or not to arrest somebody, a
>prosecutor has discretion on whether or not to charge somebody, a judge
>has discretion on whether or not to drop the charges against the
>accused, so too were juries meant to have discretion on whether or not
>to convict the accused.
>Jury nullification is more important today than ever before in our
>nations history. Weak-kneed legislators, concerned only with being
>reelected, have passed mandatory minimum sentencing laws in an effort to
>appear "tough on crime" to their constituencies. Over-zealous
>prosecutors use conspiracy laws intended for the prosecution of "crime
>bosses," and extensive voir dire procedures aimed at empanelling "rubber
>stamp conviction" juries, to obtain high conviction rates. Judges,
>increasingly caught in the middle of the "tough on crime" debate, tend
>to side with the prosecution, instead of working to maintain a fair and
>impartial courtroom. Judge Fred Rodgers of Gilpin County, Colorado,
>recently published an article in the Judge's Journal, instructing other
>judges on ways to eliminate the free speech rights of citizens
>attempting to inform prospective jurors about their constitutional power
>to employ jury nullification. Caught up in the middle of all this is the
>individual juror, who is increasingly being told that they must follow
>the judges instructions to the jury, to the letter. If the jury is bound
>to do exactly what the judge tells them they must do, why do we even
>need a jury? If you buy into this concept, it is only a short step to
>questioning the need for a judge. That prospect, a courtroom without a
>fair and impartial judge, should send a chill down the spine of every
>citizen who opposes the imposition of a "Police State".
>The United States Supreme Court has upheld, on numerous occasions, the
>power of jurors to nullify existing laws, by voting for acquittal in the
>face of evidence that would normally be sufficient for conviction. The
>courts, while bound by these Supreme Court decisions, have elected not
>to make this information on jury nullification available to jurors.
>Thus, the dissemination of information on Jury Nullification falls to
>citizen groups like the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) and other
>civic-minded organizations.
>Arthur R Sobey
>Communications Director
>Kubby For Governor
>                       K U B B Y     For    G O V E R N O R
>                           98       CALIFORNIA       98
>                            email: kubby@alpworld.com
>                                Fax: 916 581-5641
>                         http://www.alpworld.com/kubby98

Paul Andrew Mitchell                 : Counselor at Law, federal witness
B.A., Political Science, UCLA;  M.S., Public Administration, U.C. Irvine

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