Frank Turney with then Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Sept. 5th 2008
Special Thanks to jury activist and executive director of the American Jury Institute, Iloilo Jones, for requesting a jury rights day proclamation from Governor Sarah Palin.
WHEREAS, September 5, 2008, will mark the 338th anniversary of the day when the jury, in the trial of William Penn, refused to convict him of violating England’s Conventicle Acts, despite clear evidence that he acted illegally by preaching a Quaker sermon to his congregation.
WHEREAS, by refusing to apply what they determined was an unjust law, the Penn jury not only served justice, but provided a basis for the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment rights of freedom of speech, religion, and peaceable assembly.
WHEREAS, September 5th, 2008, also commemorates the day when four of Penn’s jurors began nine weeks of incarceration for finding him not guilty. Their later release and exoneration established forever the English and American legal doctrine that it is the right and responsibility of the trial jury to decide on matters of law and fact.
WHEREAS, the Sixth and Seventh Amendments are included in the Bill of Rights to preserve the right to trial by jury, which in turn conveys upon the jury the responsibility to defend, with its verdict, all other individual rights enumerated or implied by the U.S. Constitution, including its Amendments.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Sarah Palin, Governor of the State of Alaska, do hereby proclaim September 5, 2008, as: Jury Rights Day in Alaska, in recognition of the integral role the jury, as an institution, plays in our legal system.
Our founding fathers gave us trial by jury to check and balance government laws, whether they come from Congress or your own state legislator. For the past 16 years Frank has been informing and educating Alaskans, young and old, about our rights and responsibilities when sitting on a jury. Judges excuse jurors in the event a juror admits he knows his jury nullification rights. As a juror, you have the right to judge the laws and the facts. Frank is also educating people about the true use of the Grand Jury - not only indictment, but the lesser known second function: presentment.
For Frank Turney's Story go here:
You can not be accused of Jury tampering if you are educating registered voters who are not jurors yet.
But does the jury's power to veto bad laws exist under our Constitution?
It certainly does! At the time the Constitution was written, the definition of the term "jury" referred to a group of citizens empowered to judge both the law and the evidence in the case before it. Then, in the February term of 1794, the Supreme Court conducted a jury trial in the case of the State of Georgia vs. Brailsford1. The instructions to the jury in the first jury trial before the Supreme Court of the United States illustrate the true power of the jury. Chief Justice John Jay said: "It is presumed, that juries are the best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumed that courts are the best judges of law. But still both objects are within your power of decision." (emphasis added) "...you have a right to take it upon yourselves to judge of both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy".
So you see, in an American courtroom there are in a sense twelve judges in attendance, not just one. And they are there with the power to review the "law" as well as the "facts"! Actually, the "judge" is there to conduct the proceedings in an orderly fashion and maintain the safety of all parties involved.
As recently as 1972, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said that the jury has an " unreviewable and irreversible 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 this same truth was stated in a 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 of 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)
These quotes are from the Juror's Handbook, found here:
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Monday, January 25, 2010
Sarah Palin's Most Important Act as Governor of Alaska?
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