The Inherent Right of ALL People to Alter or Reform Their
The Right Upon Which All Other Rights Depend.
History On Juries
February 2006 Idaho
http://www.proliberty.com/observer/20060202.htmKAMIAH, Idaho-Carol Asher, a 66-year old retired nun and school
teacher faces the possibility of 14 years in prison for exercising her right to
free speech in the privacy and sanctity of the jury deliberation
What did she say? As nearly as we have been able to learn, she may
have told the other jurors that ultimately, she answered to a Higher Authority
than the judge. Now she has been charged by Lawrence G. Wasden, who is the Idaho
Attorney General, by Stephen A. Bywater, who is Deputy Attorney General, Chief,
Criminal Division, and by Justin D. Whatcott, who is Deputy Attorney General,
all of whom work for the people of the state of Idaho, with felony perjury for
speaking her mind within the confidentiality of the jury deliberation
[Note: Iliolo Jones, director of The American Jury Institute (AJI)
and the Fully informed Jury Association (FIJA), then made the point that, our
government is supposed to recognize that our rights come from God and among them
is the right to create government. Upon creating government, we retain our
rights and "the Bill of Rights is simply a list of pre-existing rights by which
we informed government that it was not to even consider infringing"].
we do have the right-we could not give it away if we wanted to, because it is an
intrinsic part of our identity as humans-to make decisions based on our own
conscience. Carol never gave up that right while she was in the courtroom,
serving as a juror, or at any other time. No oath administered to any juror can
deprive us of that right.
Since when did free speech become a felony? If
jurors are not to deliberate, to freely discuss their impressions and ideas, if
jurors are not allowed by the state to hold open, honest consultation with each
other in a trusting and truthful fashion, then why do we have juries?
every juror who serves on a jury must guard his or her tongue in the privacy of
the jury deliberation room, fearful of making a statement which will be reported
to the prosecutor or the defense attorney or judge by some jury snitch, then
what happened to the privacy, the sanctity, and the confidentiality of jury
Have we reached the time in the history of our once great
nation when jurors must be provided with a list of phrases-perhaps even
words-which they cannot utter in the jury deliberation room, under pain of
Have we reached a time in our courts when jurors will be punished
for refusing to render a verdict according to the demands of the government,
when jurors will be punished if they refuse to ignore their conscience and
blindly accept the orders of the judge as the supreme law of the
Have we reached a time when to hold the moral and religious
reservations held by the majority of the people in this country-those
reservations which allow us all to consult our own conscience, to rely upon our
own guiding principles and religious teachings-must be ignored, set
Must we, when we serve on a jury, no matter how reprehensible a
verdict of guilty might be to our conscience, vote guilty if that is the verdict
dictated by the tight confines of government instructions? And will we then be
singled out, from among the many voting not guilty, if we have the courage and
the moral strength to share our thoughts and our reasoning with the other
Carol respectfully listened to the evidence of the case-it was
another of those apparently slam-dunk drug cases against a minority young male,
in this case, he was Indian, not Hispanic or black-and thoughtfully considered
what she had heard, as well as what she did not hear. She was a thinking,
attentive, and conscientious juror, and tried to do her best to pay attention to
all the facts and to render a just verdict.
Carol was one of four jurors
who voted "not guilty." Yet, because she was open and honest in her remarks to
the other jurors, not realizing there might be some snitch in the room who would
not respect the confidentiality of jury room proceedings, she has been singled
out to be prosecuted for felony perjury. One must ask "why?"
Well, as it
turns out, Carol also works with a civil liberties group which criticizes a lot
of the silly and abusive actions meted out by government officials against
private citizens. She has the courage to ask questions. We think that may be why
she has been singled out for this harassment, tyrannical prosecution and general
Some other juror, perhaps unhappy that Carol honestly said
what was on her mind, went to rat her out to the prosecuting attorney. Well,
sure, the prosecutor wanted to win. Forget justice: These days, those government
employees go for blood, to polish their conviction rate record. And now they are
after Carol, singling her out to punish for thwarting their prosecution, just
because they think they can get away with it.
The state employees named
in the first paragraph certainly know they will lose this one on appeal, but
they can meanwhile cause Carol a lot of stress and a lot of financial hardship.
By their actions, if their nasty little ploy works, they will scare other jurors
in to a state of meekness and obedience to the state and the government
employees. No more questions. No more thinking. A nice, neat rubber-stamping of
the charges brought against anyone. This is a prosecutor's dream come true.
Carol interfered with a slam-dunk for the state lawyers, and she is being
punished for being honest about her thinking. But, don't we want jurors to
Why do we have juries in this country, anyway? We all understand
that juries protect society from dangerous individuals. But how many, today,
recall that juries are also empowered to protect individuals from dangerous
government prosecutions and unjust laws?
Jurors have a duty and
responsibility to render a just verdict. They must take into account the facts
of the case, mitigating circumstances, the merits of the law, and the fairness
of its application in each case. Our recognition of the authority and right of
jurors to weigh the merits of the law and to render a verdict based on
conscience, dates from before the writing of our Constitution, in cases such as
those of William Penn, while still in London, who was tried for breaking the
King's law against preaching the Quaker religion. His jury refused to convict
him although the judge ordered the jury to find him guilty. When the jury
refused, the judge had several jurors jailed until a higher court ruled that
jurors could not be punished for their verdict. Penn later came to America and
No country has protected free expression more than
has the United States, and no case in American history stands as a greater
landmark on the road to protection for freedom of the press than the trial of
German immigrant printer John Peter Zenger. On August 5, 1735, twelve New York
jurors, inspired by the eloquence of the best lawyer of the period, Andrew
Hamilton, ignored the instructions of the governor's hand-picked judges and
returned a verdict of "Not Guilty" on the charge of publishing "seditious
The Zenger trial marked the beginning of a free press, and was
an eloquent declaration of the stubborn independence of American jurors. Those
jurors insisted that they would not be bullied by the instructions of the
judges, but would remain free-thinking, independent citizens, exercising their
minds as well as their consciences to render a just verdict. That was their
responsibility as jurors, and their human right.
Should this right ever
be suppressed, the people will retain the right to resist, having an unalienable
right to veto or nullify bad and oppressive laws, and in fact, would be morally
compelled to do so.
Jurors, as the representatives of the people, hold no
personal agenda during any trial and most certainly not the government's agenda.
Let us not forget that the prosecutors, judges, arresting officers-and the
forensic investigators in most cases-are all a part of and receive their
paychecks from government, with personal power bases to build and personal
careers to protect through the "productivity" of successful prosecutions
resulting in convictions. Jurors have no such stake in the outcome, and are, in
fact, the only truly objective individuals in the courtroom.
form of government was organized, hired and strictly limited by our founding
private citizens to protect our rights, not arbitrate those rights. Juries were
intended as the protectors against government's power-hungry expansion and the
resultant rise of tyranny. The primary role of our jurors remains that of
serving as an independent body to protect private citizens from dangerous,
unconstitutional government laws and actions. Many existing laws erode and deny
the rights of the people. Jurors protect against tyranny by refusing to convict
Juries are the last peaceful defense of our civil
Our country's 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. What a person holds as justice in their
personal, private conscience and what decisions a person chooses in the privacy
of their own mind, are not susceptible to nor dependent upon any external
authority, direction or written law, but are the sole province of the
individual, reasoning mind.
The concept and right of sovereign juror
authority is not a right derived from any legal reasoning. It requires no
citations to legitimize it. It is a right that permeates the very concept of
being human. Human rights come before government: our government was formed by
free humans to protect human rights, not to grant them. While our government may
have been flawed, it yet rests on an excellent set of controlling concepts from
which it was formed. Human rights were what our government was designed to
protect. These rights, including the right of the individual juror to make a
decision based on rational and responsible thought and individual conscience,
transcend all legislation and legal rulings and is above any modification or
apportionment by any lawyer or politician in our form of government.
concept and right of sovereign juror authority requires no citations to
legitimize it: It is a concept as solid and unalienable as our right to life.
While discussions of citations and rulings are of interest, the core authority
is not derived from the words of other humans, but from our personal, individual
inherent sense of our self-ownership and our individual responsibility toward
life and all that implies.
All thinking Idahoans should rise to Carol's
defense, in righteous indignation, and in outrage over the arrogant, despotic
actions of state Attorney General Wasden, and his staff, all of whom are
complicit in an official conspiracy to deny human, civil, and jurist rights, in
defiant opposition to the clear dictates of our Constitution.
attorney is Wesley Hoyt at hoytlaw@....
next court appearance is scheduled for March 7th.
Please get in touch with
the people listed below and complain about this treatment of a free and honest
Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General, (208) 334-2400
Bywater, Deputy Attorney General, (208) 334-4545
Justin D. Whatcott, Deputy
Attorney, (208) 334-4545
Iloilo Marguerite Jones is the Executive
Director of the Fully Informed Jury Association and the American Jury Institute
- www.fija.org The Idaho
P.O. Box 457
Spirit Lake, Idaho 83869