Last night I had the privilege of speaking in Gainesville, Florida, at the University of Florida Libertarians group.

Fifteen enthusiastic students attended the meeting to hear me talk about the Fully Informed Jury Association and Jury Nullification.

In my presentation I explained to the group that  The Founders knew how important juries are,  and thats one of the reasons that,  jury is mentioned four times in  The Constitution and The Bill of Rights.   The framers knew how importance of juries, they knew that power always corrupts.  The Founders planned and expected that ‘We the People’, would exercise this power and authority to judge the law as well as the facts every time we serve as jurors.

I encouraged the group to serve on the jury when they are summoned, and that a Fully Informed Juror is not only there to judge the facts of the case, but also there to protect fellow citizens from tyrannical prosecutions and bad laws unfairly imposed by government. Everyone should serve on a jury, because it is your chance to actively participate in how government is run, administered, and it is also your opportunity to protect the rights of another individual.  One individual acting alone can not do much to effect legislation, but as a juror you can effectively defend other individuals from bad laws.

One person on a jury can vote with their conscience and hang the jury.

One of the students asked me if I could give an example of jury nullification. I told the group about Bernard Goetz, who on a New York subway, defended himself from being robbed with a 38 caliber revolver.  In Goetz case,  the government tried to convict Goetz of several crimes, but the jury refused to convict him.  The reason that Goetz was acquitted, was because the members of the jury understood their rights and authority to judge not only the facts, but the law itself. They refused to apply the laws that the government had imposed.

When jurors refuse to convict people under bad laws, it shows the government that, that particular law is not supported by the community. Refusing to enforce bad laws by nullifying them is the highest duty of a juror.

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Horning v. District of Columbia, 249 U.S. 596, 1920
“The judge cannot direct a verdict it is true, and the jury has the power to bring in a verdict in the teeth of both law and facts.”

The group said that they would spread the message of jury nullification and get active on their campus. They had an event that they will be tabling at tomorrow and would put up the poster and hand out FIJA brochures.

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