What are the Petit Juries?
Petit juries are the traditional jury that everyone talks about.
A petty jury is what a traditional person saying I’ve got called for jury is referring to and that is a jury of 12 people.
In some cases it could be nine or six depending upon where you live and the rules of that court and it is concerning a controversy between people or people in companies in a civil matter or it is involving the criminal matter also in state or federal court.
What are the Grand Juries?
A grand jury is a special jury that is called and they meet over a longer period of time maybe once a week.
Once a month is usually in federal court that could be in state court for concern indictments and criminal matters and prosecutors will bring in evidence to show the grand jury over a period of time and you may probably heard about it on the news where the grand jury voted and returned an indictment.
That’s what starts a criminal matter.
So that’s one type of a jury and that continues over a longer period of time and can involve multiple cases.
WHAT IS JURY NULLIFICATION?
Not many people look forward to being called for jury duty but in some cases there really is a duty involved but not for the reason.
Those in power will tell you if criminal investigators are the experts when it comes to evidence and lawyers and judges are the experts when it comes to the law.
Why bring in average people who often know little or nothing about evidence or law to sit on juries and decide cases?
Obviously juries can make bad decisions but imagine a so-called justice system without them.
Imagine if someone in a position of power didn’t like you for whatever reason and could simply accuse you of doing something wrong, declare you to be guilty without having to prove anything and then have you found caged.
The idea of a jury duty which dates back many hundreds of years was intended to prevent this to act as a check against tyranny by making it so that those in power before they can inflict harm on someone must first be able to prove to a jury of his peers that an individual has done something deserving a punishment.
However, deciding what the evidence does or does not prove in a particular case is not the only job of a jury and not even their most important job, those who control the so-called justice system.
In the US have put a lot of effort into keeping juries from knowing how much power they really have in fact in nearly every criminal case before the trial even starts the judge makes it a point to lie to the jury telling them that if a juror disagrees with the law or believes the law to be immoral or unjust that the juror is required to ignore his own conscience and moral code and apply the law the way the judge says to apply it.
Judges tell that lie because they fear something called jury nullification which inside the legal system is one of the most powerful tools that people have for combating tyranny and oppression.
Nothing is so evil or destructive that it cannot be legislated all sorts of horrendous and justices have been carried out in the name of authority and law when that happens of what use is a jury for decades.
In our country slavery was legal imagine if you were called to be on a jury back then in a case where the evidence obviously showed that someone had committed the supposed crime of helping a slave to escape even if you recognize slavery as evil and recognize that the one helping the slave to escape was doing the right thing.
The judge would tell you that it didn’t matter whether you thought the law was immoral or unjust and that your only job was to decide whether the facts proved the case.
Many jurors back then did the right thing by ignoring such instructions and disobeying the judges.
In fact jury nullification played a major role in weakening and undermining the institution of slavery as those in power found it more and more difficult to find juries who would convict people for violating the Fugitive Slave laws.
Essentially juries were telling the politicians we know the accused violated your so-called laws and we think it’s good that he did that because those laws are immoral and illegitimate and we won’t help you enforce them and slavery is not the only real-life example of jury nullification defeating injustice.
Back before the United States even existed, a juror refused to convict William Penn for having led a religious meeting of Quakers in violation of the King’s so-called laws.
The judge ordered the jury to find William Penn guilty and in fact caged and tried to starve the jury to force him to convict but they wouldn’t.
Today in the United States, jurors can use the power of jury nullification to defeat tyranny with essentially no risk to themselves thanks mainly to the
Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment a verdict of not guilty cannot be undone or overturned by any court and the reasons or motives for such a verdict cannot be legally questioned or challenged the power of jury nullification acting as a check against oppression is a very old tradition in both English and American law.
John Adams who became the second US president explained that a juror has not only the right but the duty to render a verdict quote according to his own best understanding judgment and conscience though in direct opposition to the direction of the court end quote various federal courts including the Supreme Court have ruled similarly for example the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that quote if the jury feels the law is unjust we recognize the undisputed power of the jury to acquit even if its verdict is contrary to the law as given by a judge and contrary to the evidence.
This power played a major role in defeating slavery and ending alcohol prohibition and even in protecting those accused of being witches in colonial times recently the state of New Hampshire enacted legislation specifically recognizing the power of jury nullification allowing defense attorneys to tell juries that they may acquit someone in spite of the evidence.
If they believe the law to be unjust whether in general or as applied to that particular case but unfortunately most American courts still not only fail to tell juries that they have such a power but intentionally lie about it telling juries that they are required to apply the law the way the judge tells them to whether they like it or not.
In fact it is common practice for judges to disqualify any juror who won’t swear to apply the law however the judge tells them to.
In other words American judges routinely lie and cheat in order to overcome one of the most effective legal means that people have for combating tyranny ultimately legality is not what really matters morality is what matters even if every law and every Court commanded you to help government to harm an innocent person you would still have a moral obligation to refuse.
Of course no one is suggesting that jury nullification should be used to acquit thieves, murderers or others who have committed aggression but when the law itself condones aggression against those who have not threatened or harmed anyone else then the law is illegitimate and should be disobeyed and resisted.
Jury nullification is one way one nonviolent risk-free vary powerful way to do that so one should jury nullification be used one simple phrase sums it up no victim no crime harming in a sense is wrong disobeying arbitrary decrees of politicians is not and most people currently in prison are there for victimless crimes which is true only because most juries unthinkingly act as accomplices to injustice whenever that injustice is called law because the state can only punish someone if there is a unanimous guilty verdict.
Even if there is one person on a jury who has a conscience and applies this principle the best the state can get is a hung jury that means that you all by yourself could stop a non-violent peaceful person from being caged.
If you can bring yourself to look so-called Authority in the face and say no I will not help you hurt someone who hasn’t heard anyone else you can learn more about jury nullification by looking up the fully informed Jury Association but really you don’t need to know anything about history or law books or court cases to understand.
The underlying moral principle here if you are summoned to be on a jury you do have a duty if those in power asked for your permission to hurt someone who hasn’t threatened or harmed anyone else then you have the duty to say no you have the duty to ignore their so-called laws.