March 21, 2011 – Today activists joined Florida state coordinator James Cox at the Federal & County Courthouse in Tampa, Florida. Cox was joined by Harry McKay and Julian Heicklen.  

 

The police asked the group to go back behind the palm trees at the county courthouse.  Cox told the officer “We will comply, we are peaceful people just asserting our First Amendment right”.

 

Cox gave a brochure to a lady who started reading it to another lady that was sat with her.

 

The brochures were accepted by the majority of people, and the majority that rejected them said that they already had one from a previous time.

All in all a great day for activism. The group distributed over 400 brochures to the people.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011 – University of Central Florida.
FIJA’s Florida State coordinator James Cox spoke to the Young Americans for Liberty about the Fully Informed Jury Association and Jury Nullification.

Cox passed out jury rights brochures to the students and explained the importance for serving on a jury (see below video).

After Cox spoke to the Young Americans for Liberty, he crashed the Young Republican’s meeting, where he passed out approximately fifty FIJA brochures.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011, Orlando, Florida.

Last night James Cox spoke to the Libertarian’s of Orlando.  Cox explained to the group about his activism with the Fully Informed Jury Association in Florida.  Cox said “Education is where it is at.” “We have to educate as many people as possible about jury nullification, its our only peaceful way to turn the country around.”  Cox encouraged the group to serve on a jury if summoned, and that if they know of anyone that gets a jury summons, to encourage them to serve also.

“Don’t check your conscience at the door.” Cox said. “If there is one part of this message that I want you to take away from here is that, you have a right to judge the facts of the case and the law itself.” “Don’t let the judge fool you.” “You are the most powerful person in that courtroom.”  Cox said “The highest and best function of the jury is to protect fellow citizens from tyrannical prosecutions and bad laws unfairly imposed by government.” Cox said.   Cox asked gave each member a copy of the new FIJA brochure Brochure Fresh Air for Justice .PDF  then said to the group “I hope that I have encouraged  you to get involved.”

Monday, March 7, 2011 – Melbourne Florida.

FIJA’s Florida state coordinator James Cox spoke to a crowd of fifty plus people at the Republican Liberty Caucus of Central East Florida last night.

Cox in his speech told the RLC about how in the past ten years he has seen the United States turn more each day into the United Kingdom. In his speech Cox said “The United States is the last bastion of freedom, and I am not going to sit and watch this country turn into Europe!” He then went on to say “We have a chance to turn things around, and one of the ways is through Jury Nullification.” “The message that I am going to deliver here tonight, you the people in this room have to run with it.” Cox said. “You have to get involved, you have to educate others, like I am going to now educate you!” Cox said.
Cox asked the audience “Do you know how many times the word Jury is mentioned in The Constitution and The Bill of Rights?” The room was silent, people looked at each other for the answer. “The word jury is mentioned four times.” Cox said. “There is a reason for this, because the founders of this country knew that we would be here in this very position that we are today.” Cox said. He added “We have nothing but corruption throughout government, even the very legal system that is supposed to deliver justice is corrupt.” Cox then said “I’ll tell you how corrupt it is.” “We are caging peaceful people for victimless crimes, crimes that are not crimes at all, because there is no injured party and we are doing this at our own expense.”
“It costs around $30,000 a year to hold someone in prison and you are paying for it.” Cox said. “Not only that, if the defendant is the main breadwinner of the family, then the family will probably go on welfare.” Cox said. “We have to stop this, we are bankrupting ourselves.” Cox said.

Cox then talked about jury duty and jury nullification. He said “When you get a jury summons, please go and serve.” He then added “Once you are on the jury, judge the facts of the case and the law itself.” “Please do not check your conscience at the door” he said. Then Cox said “If you think its a bad law or the law is being misapplied you may deliver a not guilty verdict.”

Cox told the group “When you serve on a jury, you are the most powerful person in that courtroom, because one person standing their ground can hang a jury.” He then said “Why is hanging the jury important?” Cox then answered his own question by saying “Because acquittals and hung juries are politically embarrassing to legislators judges, prosecutors and bureaucrats.” He then went on to say “It shows them that, that law is not supported by the community.”

The brand new FIJA Brochure was passed to the group Fresh Air for Justice .PDF

The message was well received with a round of applause from the group.

Monday, March 7, 2011 – Seminole County, Florida.

Today FIJA activists Cory Chenard, Mark Schmidter and James Cox attended the Seminole County Courthouse near Sanford, Florida.

This merry band of peaceful men distributed educational material on Jury Rights to people entering and exiting the courthouse.  The brochures were excepted by about 90% of the people, and the people said thank you for the information.

 

This morning the group had one encounter with a female police officer who came out from the courthouse to find out what the groups was doing. Schmidter and Cox explained to the officer, that they were educating citizens about their rights when they serve on a jury. They explained that jury nullification is the right to refuse to enforce bad laws and bad prosecutions. Cox went on to say “When someone serves on a jury, they should judge the facts of the case and the law itself.” The female officer asked if she could get a brochure, which Schmidter handed to her, and with that she went back inside the courthouse.

 

Today the group distributed approximately 300 brochures.

Friday, March 4, 2011. – Last night James Cox the Florida state coordinator for the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA), spoke at the Hernando County Campaign for Liberty at: Buffet City, 13235 Cortez Blvd, Brooksville, Florida.

Approximately twenty-three people attended the meeting, where Cox explained to the group about why it is important to sit on a jury.

Cox explained that it is the right of the people, that when they sit on a jury, they can vote with their conscience. They can deliver a not guilty verdict based on not just on the facts of the case, but the law itself.  He went on and said “When one person stands their ground and finds the defendant not guilty, they have just hung the  jury.”  “When enough people do this, because they find that the law is unjust, or it’s being unfairly misapplied, it sends a message that, that particular law is not supported by the community.”

The message was accepted within the group and Cox handed out the Jury Protection for Second Amendment brochure to them.

 

For Release, March 2, 2011

CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office, (786) 363-2737 or media@aclufl.org

Daytona Beach – The ACLU of Florida today filed a legal challenge to an Administrative Order entered by Chief Judge Belvin Perry, Jr. of the Ninth Judicial Circuit. The Order bans protected speech on the Orange County and Osceola County Courthouse complexes. The ACLU’s Petition for Writ of Certiorari asks the Fifth District Court of Appeal of Florida to review and overturn the Order.

The ACLU of Florida filed the Petition on behalf of the Fully Informed Jury Association (“FIJA”) and one of its supporters and volunteers, James Cox, who, until Judge Perry’s order, regularly spoke about jurors’ rights and distributed leaflets and other related educational materials at the Orange County Courthouse complex. Mr. Cox’s expressive conduct, and the FIJA materials he offered to members of the public focused primarily on jury nullification, sometimes referred to as “jury pardons.”

Cooperating attorney Lawrence G. Walters, of Walters Law Group, and ACLU of Florida lawyers Randall Marshall and Maria Kayanan are asking the Fifth District Court of Appeal to vacate the January 31, 2011 order that bans the distribution of materials, oral protest, education, or counseling “intended to influence summoned jurors on any matter” which is, or may be pending before that individual as a juror. Penalties for violating the order include contempt of court citations, fines, confinement, or a combination.

“The government cannot place preemptive restrictions on free speech just because it doesn’t like what is being said,” said Howard Simon, Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida. “Educating the public and jurors is not obstructing justice.”

In the Petition, the ACLU of Florida argues that the ban violates the United States and Florida Constitutions, by censoring political speech and expressive conduct based solely on its content, with no compelling state interest, and imposes a prior restraint on that protected speech.

“While a judge has the right to control his or her courtroom, that right must give way to the First Amendment right of a citizen to exercise free speech on the courthouse steps. The Order issued by Judge Perry crosses the constitutional line, and is so broad, it even prohibits lawyers from arguing their case to a jury,” said Walters. “We must protect even unpopular and controversial speech to give First Amendment rights ample breathing space they need to survive.”

FIJA is a nonpartisan public policy research and education organization established in Montana in 1989. FIJA describes its mission as educating Americans about their rights and responsibilities when serving as jurors, including their powers of “jury nullification” or “jury pardon” by which, according to FIJA, jurors are encouraged to “vote their conscience” on a case.

“Jury pardons are deeply rooted in American jurisprudence, even if they may be disfavored by judges,” Simon said. “No matter how unpopular or controversial a specific idea is, educating potential jurors about legal theory is not a crime. It’s protected speech.”

FIJA supporters have refrained from speaking about their issues or distributing their literature at the courthouse since Judge Perry’s order was issued. “The judge’s order was clearly intended to single out constitutionally-protected expression which he disagreed with – namely, ours,” stated FIJA Executive Director Iloilo Marguerite Jones. “As an organization dedicated to protecting the rights of American citizens, FIJA is pleased to have the ACLU defending our rights in the courtroom.”

A .PDF copy of the petition filed today is available here:
http://www.aclufl.org/pdfs/2011-03-02-FIJAPetition.pdf

A .PDF copy of the Appendix to the petition is available here:
http://www.aclufl.org/pdfs/2011-03-02-FIJAPetitionAppendix.pdf

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About the ACLU of Florida
The ACLU of Florida is freedom’s watchdog, working daily in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend individual rights and personal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. For additional information, visit our web site at: www.aclufl.org.

 

For more information about the Fully Informed Jury Association, visit www.fija.org.