Time: Sat Sep 06 16:59:52 1997
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Date: Sat, 06 Sep 1997 16:58:29 -0700
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From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: Jury Reform (fwd)

>*Jus Dare*
>Jury Reform
>From: "Harold Thomas" <harold@halcyon.com>
>Subject: (Fwd) piml] Principles of Jury Reform
>------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
>From:          Jon Roland  <jon.roland@the-spa.com>
>Subject:       piml] Principles of Jury Reform
>Principles of Jury Reform
>The jury system was established for one reason: because judges cannot be
>trusted. It is not just a way to involve citizens in the process of
>justice, for their enlightenment. If it were merely a matter of legal
>competence, then judges would be better qualified to decide the "facts"
>as well as the "law" in a case. But our forefathers recognized in
>requiring that verdicts be rendered by juries that legal competence is
>not as important as having the decisions made by persons who, being
>selected at random from among the community, are less susceptible to
>undue influence, and because if the law and the facts in a case cannot
>be decided by ordinary people, then ordinary people can hardly be
>expected to obey the laws, the violation of which they may be accused.
>But judicial practice has come a long way since the Constitution was
>adopted, incorporating the standards of the common law in place at that
>time and freezing it at that point. The result is that there are a
>number of principles that need to be re-established, to return us to the
>kind of jury system our forefathers had in mind. The following are some
>of the most important of those principles, the violation of which must
>become reversible errors:
>(1) The jury must be informed of their right and power to judge the law
>in a case.
>(2) The judge may not forbid the defense to inform juries of their right
>and power to judge the law, or to penalize them for doing so.
>(3) The defense may be ruled incompetent if it does not inform the jury
>of its right and power to judge the law, or to raise the issue of
>jurisdiction of the court in the case.
>(4) Neither the judge or either side of a case has the right to exclude
>a juror during voir dire who is aware of his right and power to judge
>the law, who is a member of an informed-jury advocacy organization, or
>who has read informed-jury literature.
>(5) A juror may not be excluded on the basis of his superior knowledge
>of the law.
>(6) The judge may not hold a juror in contempt of court for failing to
>disclose his or her awareness of a juror's right and power to judge the
>(7) Persons who try to inform jurors of their right and power to judge
>the law may not be charged with such offenses as jury-tampering or
>obstruction of justice.
>(8) Jurors may not be prevented from obtaining copies of the relevant
>constitutions, statutes, and case law in a case, or doing research in a
>law library.
>(9) The jury must be provided any legal documentation they request or
>(10) The jury may not be excluded from being present during arguments
>over the law in the case.
>(11) The jury must be provided all legal pleadings in the case,
>including amicus curiae briefs.
>(12) The prosecution must prove, in the presence of the jury, that the
>court has jurisdiction in the case, before the main trial begins.
>(13) The judge may not charge a juror for violating his instructions, as
>though they were orders.
>(14) The judge may not allow only one set of instructions to be given to
>the jury, and not to allow each side to submit its own.
>(15) The jury must be allowed to ask questions of the judge or any
>party, including amicus filers, on any pertinent matter, and get answers
>to those questions.
>These principles represent the state of due process at the time the
>Constitution was adopted, and must be re-asserted if compliance with the
>Constitution is to be achieved. Demand for such compliance must be made,
>relentlessly, at every opportunity, until the pressure to comply becomes
>Constitution Society, 1731 Howe Av #370, Sacramento, CA 95825
>916/568-1022, 916/450-7941VM         Date: 09/05/97  Time: 08:16:32
>http://www.constitution.org/         mailto:jon.roland@the-spa.com

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

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