Jurors should act as the voice of the community
When we serve on a jury, we are told by the judge that we are there merely to determine the facts of the case, and not cast judgment on the law itself. This is patently false. Juries have an inherent right to veto laws that they disagree with. This right was recognized by the founders and was conceived of as a last resort of the people to fight back against tyrannical legislation.
Jurors should think of themselves as the voice of the community when deciding cases. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t convict. If one disagrees with the law, if one thinks the punishment is too harsh, if one thinks it is being improperly applied, if one thinks it is politically or racially motivated, if one thinks the defendant’s actions were justified, then vote one’s conscience.
Many people feel like the government does not represent them, and they are right. Our government is completely lawless and out of control. They pass laws protecting themselves and punish whistleblowers who try to warn the public. We have a solemn duty to protect our fellow citizens from tyrannical legislation and malicious prosecution.
This letter was prompted by a recent case in Texas where a kid may get life in prison for baking a pot brownie. He wouldn’t be the first either – there are people spending life in prison for shoplifting, due to California’s three-strikes laws.
Potential jurors can learn more about their rights from the Fully Informed Jury Association at fija.org