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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    Jury responsibilities

    From Bizarre News

    Greetings fellow Bizarros:

    I was reading a booklet by Russ Kick entitled "50 Things
    You're Not Supposed To Know." In it he states that juries
    are allowed to judge the law, not just the facts of a case.

    In his words...

    "We tend to believe that the duty of a jury is solely to
    determine whether someone broke the law. In fact, it's not
    unusual for judges to instruct juries that they are to
    judge only the facts in a case, while the judge will sit
    in judgment of the law itself. Nonsense.

    "Juries are the last line of defense against the power
    abuses of the authorities. They have the right to judge
    the law. Even if a defendant committed a crime, a jury
    can refuse to render a guilty verdict.

    "Judges and prosecutors will often outright lie about the
    existence of this power, but centuries of court decisions
    and other evidence prove that jurors can vote their con-
    sciences."

    I was a little dubious of these statement until I talked
    to my own lawyer about it. As you might guess, he said
    that the issue is much more complicated than that...but
    the bottom, and oversimplified line, is that juries can,
    and often do, rule against a law. They cannot change a
    law, but they can rule find someone guilty or innocent
    despite the law.

    So does everybody know this slightly bizarre, but very
    important codicil of our legal system, or am I just a
    dumb ass?

    Bizarrely,

    Lewis

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Florida, USA
    Posts
    13,201
    Who determines the rights of the people: the government, or the people themselves? I contend that individual jurors rightfully determine which laws are just and which laws violate their rights as free citizens.

    from: http://www.serendipity.li/jsmill/doig.html

    Apparently, the person who wrote the above letter was correct. I didn't realize it either. This was one link on the subject. It's quite lengthy....but the guy makes his arguement very well.

    Perhaps a law ISN'T 'just or fair' and only the person's peers have the power to 'rearrange or interpret' the law. I''m not sure that this isn't a good thing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    1,749
    this made me think of a time i was in traffic court

    a lady was there for doing 98 in a 55- the judge asked her why and she said she was headed to the hospital b/c she had gotten a call her baby was dying- she brought in the child's death certificate- the judge was like "I'm very sorry but at that speed it is reckless endangerment and there is nothing I can do"- I was soooo mad- all i could think was a jury would have let her off- what she did was not right but considering- I don't think she deserved reckless endangerment! Do you know the effects of that on your ins drivers pts etc....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Florida, USA
    Posts
    13,201
    I agree with you on that one. If my child was in the hospital or we were on our way there....I wouldn't have even STOPPED for the police in the first place. He would've had to chase me down until I got to where I was going. If I got a big ticket for it.....so be it.

    It would be my luck though....I'd get arrested and put in jail and some jury would find me guilty.....just like they did this particular lady.

    Juries aren't always the brightest people in the world either.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    1,749
    oh this wasn't a jury- it was a traffic court judge- can you request a jury for traffic court?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Florida, USA
    Posts
    13,201
    I thought you could request a jury trial for anything....but you would have to pay for representation if you couldn't represent yourself. Due to following the correct procedures an attorney would probably be needed.

    The tickets are usually FAR LESS than the cost for a trial....which is why few people exercise that option.

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