Make Jury Power A Priority?
care about liberty and justice, there are a host of different issues that are
worthy of focus and energy. Why should one focus more on jury power than
on other political issues?
We at the
Lone Star FIJA think that there are a number of compelling reasons why focus on
fully informed jury legislation and education are the most important to the long
term health of our nation:
Founding Fathers handed us a powerful tool to keep government in
check. Over the last century, freedom loving people have abandoned
that tool to our detriment. We need to pick it up again. Thomas
Jefferson said, "I consider trial by jury as the ONLY anchor
yet imagined by man by which a government can be held to the principles of its
constitution." Is it any wonder that America is a far different place
than the Founders envisioned if we have let deteriorate the one institution
they considered capable of protecting their dreams, sacrifices, and hopes?
independence changes fundamentally the losing game that liberty lovers are
playing, today, giving us a chance at stopping and reversing the seemingly
inevitable encroachment of government into our lives. Today, special
interests hire lobbyists to spend their full energies to pass laws that deny
liberty. Often, it is taxpayer money, itself, that is used to erode
further the liberty of the taxpayer. People who work for a living and
do politics part time fight a losing battle when they go up against such a
machine. Fully informed juries have the potential to stop the
injustice of bad law - one case at a time. Every midnight
regulation and law passed by a backroom deal will, when it actually starts
causing harm to an individual, have to face the light of day in the
courtroom and jury room.
jury power gets people to thinking fundamentally about the proper role of
government and about what political values we as a nation value most.
Most Americans, when they think about it, realize that our most highly
prized political values are right there at the end of the Pledge of
Allegiance to the flag - ". . . with Liberty and Justice
for all." - not the Law, no matter how tyrannical.
Talking about jury independence gets people to thinking about that.
power is a non-violent way to achieve social change. Steve Symms,
Republican U.S. Senator from Idaho, said, "There are three ways to
protect liberty: the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge
box." When minorities are being trampled by the majority through
the democratic process, juries which follow conscience give hope to those
being targeted, and avoids social unrest. If we care about social
harmony, we have to work for jury independence.
for representatives is a pretty flawed way of letting our leaders know what
we want. Jury participation comes closer to getting our views in synch with
legislative action. Many of us may vote for one candidate because we
dislike their opponent. The candidate who receives our vote may think
that we voted for him or her because we liked every one of his or her policy
stances. Repeated jury nullification of a law lets legislators know
what the people in the community really want.
that you will agree with us that working for fully informed jury education and
legislation is one of the most important political actions you can take.
If so, we hope you will work with us toward our common
goal of liberty and justice through juries.