The Right to a Jury Trial
The Right to a Jury Trial
By Paula Michaud – Maine JIC
From: Paula J Michaud [mailto:pjm2008@...]
Sent: Tuesday, May 05, 2009 8:02 AM
As always, I'm trying to find an easy way to get judges held accountable... so far JAIL has been the only answer. However, I just thought of something. Might it be possible, or easier to pass such legislation as what I've proposed here?
That every state Supreme Court decision in which one of the parties has a complaint of constitutional rights violations be placed on some sort of ballot for voters to decide if a jury trial should be held.
People could vote on only the cases they want to, and check off a "NO VOTE" box on those cases in which they have no strong opposition or support for a trial by jury to be held. Please consider sending this out to all other JAILers. Thanks!
Paula, our Founding Fathers have already provided for this in our Constitution. In civil matters we are entitled to a jury trial in every matter exceeding twenty dollars, VI Amendment. In criminal matters our Constitution provides in Article III, Section 2, Clause 3, “The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury.”
I was mocked by those in South Dakota during the 2006 election on this point. They said, “If Ron Branson had his way, we would have to provide a jury trial to prosecute anyone who did not get a dog license.” I smiled at this observation of our enemies, but chose not to comment thereon. They are entirely correct, inasmuch as a dog license does not fall within the exception for impeachments. However, this conclusion is not based upon “what Ron thinks,” but upon the supreme law of the land, the Constitution. I didn’t happen to be around, or even make the suggestion, that we include this mandate when this provision was placed in our Constitution. They argue to me that they don’t have the money to give a jury trial to everyone that demands such trial for every citation they write. That’s tough! What are they proposing? Do they wish to abolish our Constitution?
The fact is, the government can prosecute whatever they wish, provided they follow due process. But if constitutional due process is not followed, the government should not be able to try a single soul even if it be a “major” crime. Yes, and this is also provided for in our Constitution, “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury.”
What happened in 1970 is the California Legislature came up with a “marvelous” idea on how they could rake in much more money so they could convict people without giving them a jury trial, so they invented a new class of “crimes” called “infractions.” The only crimes recognized prior to this point in our Constitution were high crimes and misdemeanors. Along comes “infractions” which provide that no one could ever go to jail for the commission of such “crimes,” and therefore were neither entitled to the assistance of counsel nor a jury trial, but that the judge would decide. All the other states said “this was good,” and so they spoke the word, and jury trials were eliminated from most every “case.” This is precisely why our country is now overtaken by so-called “administrative laws.”
I wrote on this subject under the title of “Understanding Administrative Law” in a past J.A.I.L. News Journal, and peppered it with humor. See http://www.jail4judges.org/JNJ_Library/2003/2003-12-09.html. The nature of government is to convert God-given inalienable rights into government-granted licensed privileges. If the people didn’t object, the next thing you know, government would even seek to convert the God-given right of marriage, (“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.” Ephesians 5:31) into a government-granted licensed privilege, and we would start having marriage “licenses” – God forbid!
Hey, I’ll bet you didn’t realize that marriage without a license was a crime and required government’s permission. Hmmm, I wonder if people should be entitled to a jury trial for getting married without government’s permission. God commands us to, “do your own business, and to work with your own hands,” I Thessalonians 4:11, but then the government comes along and says, “No problem, just apply at our State Contractor’s License Board, or go to jail!” What? You want to exercise the privilege of laboring with your hands? Okay, just sign here and acquire our number and you can go to work. Do we not have a Lordship question here? Is work a duty and right from God, or a privilege from the State?
But some will say to me, “Ought we not to render unto Caesar?” Yes, but the question I am presenting is, ought we to render unto Caesar that which belongs to God, and thus render Caesar to be like unto God. Was not Satan’s fall “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Isaiah 14:14? This is what “government” pursues, i.e., in every area to be like unto God; omnipresent, (everywhere) omniscient, (all knowing) omnipotent, (all powerful) and finally, the god of this world.
So, Paula, we see in our State Constitutions that the, “Trial by jury is an inviolate right and shall be secured by all. …. A jury may be waived in a criminal cause by the consent of both parties expressed in open court…” ( Calif. Const. Art. I, Sec. 16). There are no exceptions! The problem is not “provision,” but rather “enforcement,” and that is why we absolutely must have J.A.I.L. or our nation collapses absolutely!
- Ron Branson