Our guarantee of a trial by a jury of our peers pre-dates the Constitution by over 100 years. Most courts illegially and immorally attempt to usurp that power, but the USA Supreme Court and numerous regional, state and local courts have proven over and over again that an honorable jury can acquit any time they feel it is appropriate to do so… regardless of what the law school graduates in the room say.
This is the job of the jury and we must work to make sure they understand it as often as possible.
The Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) mission is to educate Americans regarding their full powers as jurors, including their ability to rely on personal conscience, to judge the merit of the law and its application, and to nullify bad law, when necessary for justice, by finding for the defendant.
The Fully Informed Jury Association(FIJA)is a nonpartisan public policy research and education organization located in Helena, Montana. FIJA focuses on issues involving the role of the jury in our justice system and the preservation of the full function of the jury as the final arbiter in our courts of law. The FIJA mission is to inform all Americans about their rights, powers and responsibilities when serving as trial jurors. FIJA works to restore the political function of the jury as the final check and balance on our American system of government.
To assist supporters who press for a “fully informed jury,” FIJA has drafted the following model bill language suitable for passage into law or for amending a state constitution:
“An accused or aggrieved party’s right to trial by jury, in all instances where the government or any of its agencies is an opposing party, includes the right to inform the jurors of their power to judge the law as well as the evidence, and to vote on the verdict according to conscience.
This right shall not be infringed by any statute, juror oath, court order, or procedure or practice of the court, including the use of any method of jury selection which could preclude or limit the empanelment of jurors willing to exercise this power.
Nor shall this right be infringed by preventing any party to the trial, once the jurors have been informed of their powers, from presenting arguments to the jury which may pertain to issues of law and conscience, including (1) the merit, intent, constitutionality or applicability of the law in the instant case; (2) the motives, moral perspective, or circumstances of the accused or aggrieved party; (3) the degree and direction of guilt or actual harm done, or (4) the sanctions which may be applied to the losing party.
Failure to allow the accused or aggrieved party or counsel for that party to so inform the jury shall be grounds for mistrial and another trial by jury.
When every American juror is aware of and permitted to exercise all of his and her rights, the final judgment of law will return to where it was always intended to be located…in the hands of the people. Once again our jury system will function as our country’s founders intended it to function as people’s final check against the government’s tendency to encroach upon the rights of its people.