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DF! Masthead

The Feral Answer to FIJA

Don Lobo Tiggre

The ballot box is already useless for most practical purposes--if the jury box goes too, we really won't have any choice about resorting to the cartridge box. And the forces of statism are undermining that bastion of American freedom, the jury box, as quickly as they can. Since jurors, even those most carefully selected from sleepwalking sheople, are human and have an unruly propensity to think for themselves at the darndest times, the ferals are taking greater pains to manipulate what juries can hear.

On Friday, 2/25/00, prosecutors filed a motion asking the judge in a case involving the American Medical Marijuana Association to rule that the AMMA is not eligible to use the Compassionate Use Act (the law that resulted from California's passage of Prop. 215) as a defense. They also asked the judge to disqualify the AMMA's expert witnesses and prohibit them from mentioning the Oakland Guidelines or the Federal IND program. The result is that AMMA will no longer be able to cite laws, tell their story, or say much of anything useful in their defense.

Last month, a bunch of anti-nuke demonstrators had a judge in Michigan rule their defense inadmissible, leaving them with nothing to say as they were tried, found guilty, and sentenced. As one of the protesters put it:

Or, as the South Bend Tribune put it, on January 26, 2000:

Last November, Judge George King ruled that Peter McWilliams' defense could not so much as mention many of the things barred from the AMMA trial. (Peter's press release has the relevant quotation from the judge's ruling.) Peter wouldn't even have been able to tell the jury that he was sick. Interestingly, Judge King used the same grounds Judge Schillinger used: ruling that a defense based on necessity could not be presented.

Now, I can see why a judge might rule "temporary insanity" an inadmissible defense in a case involving someone, say, a former president, who ran for office so he could later pardon himself of a previous crime. But how can a judge order a dying man not to tell the jury that he did what he did in order to save his life?

One lawyer explained it simply and truthfully. They have "...lots of machinegun-toting, unsympathetic men to assist them in making their decisions stick." This is certainly true, and we should never forget that brute force is the basic tool and a characteristic feature of the state, but it doesn't help us understand the legal fictions involved, nor help us determine what to do about it.

Believe it or not, the answer is supposed to be that the judge is ensuring a "fair" trial. For example, if the prosecution brings up a previous criminal record unrelated to current charges, in an effort to prejudice a jury against a defendant, the judge can rule the evidence inadmissible. The judge can also exclude evidence that was obtained illegally, which seems like a good idea. But clearly, judges can also use their power to keep a jury from hearing arguments and seeing evidence they don't want them to. If a judge has already ruled on something as "a matter of law", for example that the state law allowing Peter to use medical marijuana isn't relevant to federal charges, he's not going to want to give the jury a chance to de facto overrule him. And he or she can rule on many things as a "matter of law", because Congress has, for instance, passed laws that say that nuclear power is safe, and marijuana has no medicinal properties. Or, as the Associated Press put it:

Since a judge has to rule on the law, and the laws passed by Congress say all kinds of stupid things that bear no relation to reality, judges almost have to use their arbitrary power to prevent juries from hearing and seeing things that could lead them to base their verdict on common sense (or--gasp!--even upon a sense of justice) instead of The Law. At least, that's the most charitable interpretation. One could also conclude that judges are statist parasites who must be ever more brazen in order to prop up ever more incoherent statist systems. Gotta keep those paychecks coming--good ol' boys take care of each other!

Net result: judges have the power to exclude any kind of evidence, any at all.

But guess what: this is not new. It does seem to some observers that the use of such powers by judges is on the rise, especially in politically charged cases, but these powers in the United States go way back, and are supported by plenty of precedent (not to mention Congress). One could imagine that this withholding of information from juries is the statist response to fully informed juries. Perhaps these powers actually did more good than harm in some past time when most judges cared about justice, if indeed there ever was such a time. In today's America, with statists using every dirty trick imaginable to speed America toward politically correct totalitarianism, these powers have to be viewed as being strongly anti-freedom.

So, what is one to do?

Short of stretching the necks of those who are destroying freedom in America and defiling the Constitution that was meant to defend it (and which they themselves have sworn to uphold), adding a new facet to the FIJA (Fully Informed Jury Association) program might be our best bet. It's important for as many potential jurors as possible to know that they have the right to judge the law as well as the facts, but they should also know that the system is on to them, and that they may not be getting all the relevant facts--or even laws--to judge.

What would a judge do if a jury sent a note out during deliberations, asking for a written statement from the plaintiffs and defendants, in their own words, as to what happened? What if the jury asked to see all relevant federal, state, and local law on the matter? He or she might well deny the request, but that would leave the door wide open for "reasonable doubt".

Jury power is the only power close enough to the action in this arena that can counter judge power. Everyone who cares about Doing Freedom should do what they can to enhance jury power. Join FIJA. Get them to expand their program--and then help them do it. Let's show the bastards some real contempt of court!

(c) 2000


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