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Seemingly a 'dirty secret' not afforded Counsel or Jurors

Understanding The Constitution, The Judicial System , Justice
And The Rule of Law

By Robert 'Bob' Bowman

America is a Republic, not a Democracy. Question: Who is the most powerful individual in the United States? If you answered, the President, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the U.S. Attorney General, the Speaker of the House (Congress), or any other elected official, you failed Civics 101.

The answer is YOU, a selected juror, in a trial jury. A juror has an "unreviewable and irreversible power" to acquit in disregard of the instructions on the law given by the trial judge. Under what provision is that power given you? It's often called JURY NULLIFICATION dating prior to the Magna Charter (England).

In criminal cases where the decision must be unanimous, it takes only one vote to effectively "hang" the jury, which may not call for acquittal, but at least the defendant will not be convicted of violating an unjust or unconstitutional law.

You, therefore, are one of the twelve judges, instead of the defendant relying solely on the trial judge. If a juror accepts as the law, that which the judge states, then that juror has accepted the exercise of absolute authority of a government employee and has surrendered a power and right that once was the citizen's safeguard of liberty.

Most students, and the majority of citizens, simply do not read the Founder's documents closely enough or they would recognize that there are in reality FOUR branches of the government. The obvious three: Judicial, Elective and Legislative seem to be the cornerstone of the balance of power; however, WE THE PEOPLE constitute the fourth and we the people elect to have government serve US, not we serve the government.

That now creates a problem for most of the populace because if the government is composed of public servants, can we realistically expect the 'servant' to divulge our rights or must we accept the responsibility to learn our rights and to preserve them.

In reference to (Los Angeles, CA Daily News 2/9/03), "Justice not served in trial of pot grower, juror says", Marney Craig states that as a juror, the judge's instructions prevented an acquittal, thereby leaving "jurors awake nights, anguished by the injustice we participated in and angry at ourselves for failing to follow our consciences...."

The above treatise seems to demand that the defendant's counsel is also remiss in that 'jury nullification' wasn't part of the closing statement. It would seem most appropriate that the sentence be appealed on the grounds that defense counsel was inadequate for a proper defense and that the judge's instructions to the jury were not within the law.

Bob Bowman can be contacted at See also a much deeper study in Jury Nullification under the department "Justice & Juries"