It finally happened. After all these months, this blog got its first comment from the Fully Informed Jury Association, or someone claiming to represent that group. You’ll miss it if
I just publish it as a comment to another post, so here it is on its own:
Voir dire is unconstitutional jury tampering. Jury questioning arose as a result of the Fugitive Slave Act, in 1850, since northern juries refused to punish those who abetted runaway slaves. Voir dire thus is the enemy of jury nullification of law, which is the best check on government tyranny and legalized oppression. The practice of voir dire should be outlawed, not perfected. Our prisons are full of innocent people. The drug, gun, tax and traffic laws are immoral. Jury questioning and instruction is un-American, as is mandatory BAR membership. Abolitionist Lysander Spooner opposed them all, as should you. Long live freedom. -The Jury
You need to know about organizations like this, at least while voir dire is still lawful. Their focus is jury nullification, and their core belief is that “the highest and best function of the jury is not, as many think, to dispense punishment to fellow citizens guilty of breaking the law, but rather to protect fellow citizens from tyrannical prosecutions and bad laws imposed by a power-hungry government.” Their web site offers a juror handbook, various other juror guides, and brochures designed to let jurors know about, and encourage, jury nullification. “Consider stating that you do not keep track of political issues” Depending on your case, you might want as many of these folks on your jury as possible. But you might not, and it’s clear that at least some of them are tired of being struck for cause. That’s why my commenter objects to voir dire itself. And it’s why, even though the FIJA claims it “does not advocate . . . willful disobedience to the law”, the site doesn’t just teach the history of jury nullification. It also gives clear guidance on how to lie your way through voir dire. A brochure called “Who Owns Your Body?” advises:
If you want to defend an individual’s ownership of his or her body, you must first get on the jury. During jury selection, lawyers and judges try to remove informed people from juries. Power-corrupted lawyers and judges depend on seating jurors who will do whatever they are told by government, even in violation of good conscience, reasoning, common sense and constitutional law. When called for jury duty and questioned about your understanding of the law or issues, consider stating that you do not keep track of political issues, and that you can apply the law as instructed by the court. If asked, suggest that you do not remember if you belong to any particular organizations because you get too many junk mail organizational solicitations. Imply an impartial attitude.
High Noon It’s a stand-off, then. You want to know whether you have an activist juror. The juror wants to conceal his activism. How will you recognize it? You might start by reading some brochures.