The Power Of The Jury

Written in 2004 exclusively for the US~Observer, “Jury Rights! Jury Nullification” (posted below) became an Internet sensation and a regularly referenced work regarding the true responsibilities of a jury. Now, almost 10 years later, much has happened that further compromises the jury system.

Our courts have systematically stonewalled juries when it comes to the knowledge of their right to decide not only the case but the law. Even Black’s Law Dictionary (Sixth Edition) defines “jury” as “a certain number of men and women selected according to law, and sworn to inquire of certain matters of fact, and declare the truth upon evidence to be laid before them.” Informed jurors must educate themselves to prevent this from happening. Schools do not teach the Constitution of the United States on even the most rudimentary level, much less the rights and duties of a juror.

The majority of candidates for elected office have never read, much less studied, the Constitution before swearing an oath to defend it. Consequently, how can we presume to think they know anything about the rights and duties of a juror? How can we expect them to intelligently make laws that do not further impinge on our rights when they don’t know the basic concepts of our Constitution and the rights and duties listed therein? That these rights and duties are imposed on government for our protection not theirs! We lose rights, if we are ignorant of them.

The justice system has become such a quagmire of deceit, power and graft that it no longer resembles what our forefathers envisioned. Do you know one of the first things a law student learns? There is no right and wrong. Do you know that one of the main precepts of an attorney is: protect yourself? Don’t worry about right or wrong. Don’t worry about truth and justice. Just remember that, as an attorney, you’ll have to come before this judge and this system many times. Clients rarely come before the court; they have no real knowledge of the law. So all too often they are thrown under the bus by their attorneys in favor of the attorneys’ aspirations and livelihoods.

The courts are mandated to enforce laws that all too often are not Constitutional. They are not to make law; they are to enforce the law as written by our legislatures. Others have an agenda and, as such, are far too willing to bend or ignore or rewrite law in order to fit that agenda. They have become militant in imposing law on us that falls far outside our Constitutional rights and their Constitutional limitations.

Today we labor under a whole new set of legal definitions. If you do not believe that, go to a pre-1970 Black’s Law Dictionary and see how the definitions of many words have changed. Or follow a law back to its inception and see the amendments and changes made to the original, which wipes out or turns around its intended meaning.

This is why all laws must be written to conform to the U. S. and State Constitutions. This is why we must elect representatives who have the courage, knowledge and backbone to bring our country back to Constitutional Law. We must also bring back morality to our country so our legal system defines its practice with truth and justice.

As a juror, it is imperative that you know your rights and your duties. These must be learned on your own, as the judge is not bound to tell you the truth about your rights or your duties. The judge will tell you what he wants even if it runs counter to the truth. That is why it is your responsibility to know that you have not only the right but the duty to judge not only the case but also the law as it pertains to the case you are hearing.

Be prepared to stand alone when not submitting to the dictates of a judge. Even other jury members may oppose you. Be prepared to educate them.

To be selected to a jury is one of the most important positions a citizen can enjoy. It should take precedence over all other concerns. It is a position of importance that few other countries afford their citizens. So, when you get that notice in the mail, don’t think about ways of getting out of jury duty, but rather how you can make your jury duty a worthy investment of your time by exercising one of our last freedoms.

Jury Rights! Jury Nullification (2004 US~Observer Exclusive)

Too often, Americans forget they were guaranteed a republican form of government with democratic elections in order to protect our sovereignty as citizens. But even with this protection, our elected representatives occasionally make laws that are not well received by the electorate.

Fortunately, our forefathers anticipated that problem. They gave us a clear, basic and forthright method of correcting unacceptable laws. It is jury nullification. Jury nullification allows the citizen to judge the law as it applies to the case.

A citizen’s last bastion of justice is a trial by a jury of his peers. The judiciary has eliminated, eradicated or simply ignored many rights; but a jury still may judge both the law and the case before them. To accomplish this, they must ignore a small portion of the “judges’ instructions to the jury.” And in so doing, all jurors will know in their hearts they are doing the right thing. They will also live with a much cleaner conscience.

For whatever reason, the government is turning more frequently to the administrative courts to determine the law. These administrative courts negate most judicial safeguards. Most particularly, the right to appeal the hearings officer’s or tribunal’s decision and the right to a jury trial are not part of administrative law.

In the Oregon system, judges would like you to think that only the judge can dictate the law. However, the jury has the ultimate responsibility and duty to determine the case and the law. The decision of the jury cannot be re-examined by any court of the United States. Is it any wonder that the legal system would like to eliminate, or at least control, juries?

Research has established that the intent of the signers of our Constitution regarding juries was that they were to judge the law as well as the case. Oregon’s Article 1, Section 16 states that jury decisions must be made “under the direction of the Court as to law” but the jury will determine the “law as well as the facts.”

In Oregon, judges are not required to inform the jury of their rights and they do not. Lawyers are not allowed to bring up jury nullification and they do not. That does not make jury nullification any less legal or applicable in coming to a decision.

“Jury stacking” is a common tactic of Oregon judges and attorneys who select only those who promise to abide by the direction of the court as to the law. This would be much more difficult if those who appeared for jury duty knew their rights, and more importantly their duty, as jurists.

Uninformed juries, in fear of the consequences that the judge might mete out, cave in to the coercive actions of the presiding officer. This would be less likely to happen if schools were teaching the rights and duties of the citizen jurist as part of their curriculum.

Schools could teach of leaders such as John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Jay and Alexander Hamilton who spoke out on the rights of the jury. Citizens should know that in 1972, Justices Byron White and Thurgood Marshal spoke out on the duty of the juror to judge the law as well as the case before them. Also, South Carolina in U.S. v. Gaudin (1995) ruled that juries are empowered to determine relevance and materiality.

U.S. vs. Dougherty, 473 F 2nd 1113, 1139, (1972) states: “The pages of history shine on instances of the jury’s exercise of its prerogative to disregard instructions of the judge…”

Citizens must understand that they are not obliged to set aside their conscience and their beliefs to follow the direction of a court official. The fact that the court chooses to ignore the rights and duties of the jury in no way obligates the jury to obey a judge who instructs them to perform against their conscience.

As far back as 1894, Alexander Hamilton admonished that, “Jurors should acquit even against the judge’s instruction…if exercising their judgment with discretion and honesty they have a clear conviction that the charge of the court is wrong.” Today, knowledge of this statement is even more important as we see juries blindly obey agenda-driven judges.

As Justice Byron White in Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 US 145, 156 (1968) stated: “Providing an accused with the right to be tried by a jury of his peers gave him an inestimable safeguard against the corrupt or overzealous prosecutor and against the compliant, biased, or eccentric judge.”

It is the duty and obligation of anyone called for jury duty to know his rights and to exercise them. When you come before a court for jury selection you may simply state, “Your Honor, I know it is my duty as well as my right to judge both the case and the law.”

In many States this will undoubtedly be cause for dismissal, but you will have alerted others in the courtroom of their rights and duty. Hopefully, this would help curtail judges and the legal profession from controlling and directing the outcome of cases that are to be placed in the hands of a jury. It would also alert the lawmaking body of our government that they cannot continue to make laws that infringe on the rights of Americans.

We as citizens must remember that our forefathers gave us the ultimate veto power to use when the government fails us. The jury is our last protection against tyrannical law and an out of control government that only pays lip service to our rights and their oath of office. It is the duty of the jury to correct these mistakes.

The trial jury has more power than Congress, the President or even the Supreme Court because the jury has the final veto power over all wrongful “acts of the legislature,” in both criminal and civil proceedings.

It is also the responsibility of the juror to insist that his vote be respected by all other members of the jury. The juror is not there to agree with the majority, but to act as a qualified judge to see that justice is done. Each juror must step forward to protect all innocent Americans from unjust laws.

It is strongly urged that every citizen log on to the many Internet sites that describe and define jury rights and the rights of jury nullification. Remember, if you do not exercise your rights, you will lose your rights!

–Jeanne Wollman and Curt Chancler

About the authors:

Curt Chancler and Jeanne Wollman worked to bring together a citizen’s group in Jackson County, Ore., for the study and investigation of corruption in the local police department, judiciary and government. This organization has been extremely effective with court watch programs, a yearly informational booth at the county fair, and using public access television to expose government corruption.

To better let people know of the problems within the county, both Chancler and Wollman obtained Rogue Valley Community Access TV Producer’s certificates from Southern Oregon University. They are now writing for the Grants Pass, Ore.-based US-Observer newspaper.

Chancler, originally from Texas, has been a businessman in southern Oregon for 35 years. He has been married 38 years and is the father of five children and grandfather of nine.

Wollman is a native Oregonian who has lived for many years in Alaska. She has been married for 48 years, and she has four children and 11 grandchildren. She graduated from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore., with a B.A. in English/Teaching.

It’s The Constitution, Stupid — Administrative Rule Be Damned!

US~Observer editor’s note: Today, the “man behind the curtain” controlling everything in local, State and Federal government is administrative law and its agents. Administrative officials are not elected; they are appointed. And. in reality, they are running our government without any accountability or means by which the public can redress grievences, except on rare occasions. For decades now, elected officials in America have been hiding behind the deceitful cloak of administrative government, which allows them to routinely violate their oaths of office. While this article deals with Jackson County, Ore., it may as well be a boiler plate for every community. This can no longer be tolerated. We need to re-establish the Republic and demand accountability from our elected officials.

History shows us that great minds throughout the ages realized that every free governing body must have three powers to exist:

  1. Legislators to create laws.
  2. An executive branch to enforce the laws.
  3. And a judicial branch to adjudicate violations of those laws.

The Magna Carta, or the Great Charter of 1215, was the first significant recognition of the importance of separation of powers and the right of a trial by a jury of your peers. Almost 500 years later, in 1748, French philosopher Baron de Montesquieu published his theory on the separation of powers. Montesquieu is credited with denoting separate functions of government as legislative, executive and judicial.

Montesquieu’s theory makes it crystal clear that when one person or group possessed all three powers, only tyranny and its closest companions (cruelty, oppression and dictatorship) could survive.

Many of the framers of our Constitution were taken with Montesquieu’s theory on the separation of powers. They believed separation prevents the concentration of all three powers in the hands of one person or group, which is recognized as the mother of tyranny.

In researching the history of the separation of powers in present-day America, the first thing that just jumps out at me is the scope and aggressiveness in the efforts of government officials. They blatantly violate their oaths of office while openly pursuing the elimination of our Constitutionally guaranteed Bill of Rights.

The governments created by the Federal and State Constitutions were by intent and design to be protectors and servants to their creators.

To change their roles in the lives of the American people from servant to master, these governments must create a shadow government. These governments must have the appearance of Constitutionality and silently blur or even erase the boundaries that separate the three powers of our Republic.

That shadow government began when the Administrative Procedure Act was created in 1946. This was done for the sole purpose of disarming every American of their Constitutionally guaranteed right to due process of law, leaving the people in this country defenseless against government’s attacks on every aspect of our lives, from our children to our property rights. Even now, I cannot believe it was not created and implemented by the USSR.

The Federal and State governments’ introduction of the administrative process into our republic will destroy our country if not stopped. Sighs of the erosions of our rights and freedoms are visible everywhere and growing.

Taking a close look at city and county governments and their unConstitutional administrative processes, it is unavoidably apparent they are much more openly blatant about the criminal violations of their oaths of office. There is evidence of the conspiracies that go on between our elected officials and the administrative and judicial branches of our governments.

In Jackson County, Ore., in 2003, past County Commissioners Jack Walker, Sue Kupillas and Dr. Dave Gilmore created chapter 294 of the county’s codified ordinances. Chapter 294 implements a hearing process that denies citizens Constitutional due process defense in the county’s quasi-judicial process.

Present-day Commissioners Don Skundrick, John Rachor and the always willing to make an ass out of himself Doug Breidenthal have been told in public meetings, by phone, by email and in person that they are in violation of their oaths of office. Some of these violations stem from the Commissioners’ performing all three functions of government: the legislative, executive and judicial. They all support and allow continuance of Chapter 294 of the codified ordinances.

Just to show the contempt these Commissioners have for their oaths of office and the people they have a sworn duty to protect and serve, you only have to read from the county’s official website.

Jackson County’s home page pictures Skundrick, Rachor and Breidenthal and states: “The commissioners serve as the Executive Branch and perform legislative and the quasi-judicial function of the county.”

This documentation from the County commissioners is very plain; your Constitutional rights are no longer observed, protected or even recognized in Jackson County.

The commissioners openly admit they are the executive branch of county government. They have the authority to run the county government as they see fit and to enforce the arbitrary and unConstitutional laws and ordinances they have created. They also control the legislative branch of county government.

Citizens of Jackson County no longer have a judicial branch of government; they have chapter 294 of the codified Jackson County’s experiment in creative adjudication.

They call it their unConstitutional quasi-judicial fourth branch of government. It works really well for government because like the Fed’s Administrative Procedure Act, the city’s and county’s administrative processes also eliminate most Constitutional due process rights, the right to a jury trial, the right to Article lll courts, the right to an elected judge, the right to face your accuser, the right to an appeals court and many more.

Jackson County’s justice system was replaced with Donald Rubenstein, a hearings officer, not an elected judge. In fact, he works at the pleasure of the County commissioners.

If you are brought before him because you have received a citation for violating one of Jackson County’s ordinances, he and he alone will determine your guilt or innocence with no substantive appeal from his decision. He will make findings of fact and conclusions of law, and he will impose fines up to $10,000 a day for noncompliance. He can put a lien on your home and shut down your business with the swipe of a pen, and he does so without hesitation.

There seems to be no end or limit to the arrogance of everyone involved in this unConstitutional scam. Jackson County compliance officers hold no law enforcement certifications, yet can come onto your property without a warrant if they feel you are not compliant with county law or ordinances.

Some historians claim the separation of powers concept took 1,800 years to evolve. Yet when Montesquieu published his theory on the separation of powers in 1748, it took only 41 years for our Founding Fathers to recognize the merits and protections of the separation of powers. The people of the late 1700s had fought to free themselves from the king’s tyranny and began to formulate the new Constitutional republic. That document clearly stated, in its first three articles, the importance of the separation of powers. Article I lays out the powers and duties of the legislative branch, Article II the executive branch and Article III those of the judicial branch.

History is clear that when any one person or group controls all three branches of government, freedom will be lost and tyranny will reign supreme.

We gained our freedom from a tyrannical King in eight years. That freedom lasted for 230 years. Yet it took only seven corrupted, duly elected Jackson County commissioners, two county administrators and a handful of county attorneys 10 years to unwind 230 years of American history, wiping out huge amounts of freedoms that Americans have been fighting and dying for since 1775.

We must rid ourselves of these “treasonous bastards” now by demanding accountability, or we should simply just tell our children and grandchildren, “Sorry, good luck.”

–Curt Chancler