Power in courtroom belongs to you

(My Clovis News Journal column for March 18, 2016)

Picture yourself on a jury, realizing that even though the defendant broke the law, the law is wrong.

Must you obey the judge’s commands to consider only whether the law was broken? Or can you do more.

Actually you can, and should, do more. You have hundreds of years of legal history behind you, empowering you to do the right thing.

You should judge whether the violated law should exist, and whether the potential penalties– even when the judge tells you to not consider them– are too severe.

In the courtroom, all power and authority is yours.

Most judges no longer want you to know this fact. They will hide it and make you believe they are the authority. At most they are a referee, making sure the dance follows the established steps. When judges hide this law from you it is your responsibility to know it yourself. The only purpose of the courtroom is to find justice. You can’t do that if someone is being prosecuted for violating a law which should not exist, or is facing a penalty out of proportion to what they did.

A jury doing the right thing and setting free the accused in spite of the State’s wishes is called “jury nullification”. Unjust laws in the past have evaporated because of juries refusing to punish people for breaking them.

If one person violates another– through theft, physical attack, or trespass– you can uphold the law he broke without guilt. These crimes are known as “mala in se” crimes; wrong because they violate life, liberty, or property.

However if you find yourself deciding the fate of a runaway slave or bootlegger, remember that the pretense of wrong in these cases lies upon someone dreaming up a law which prohibits the act. This law is counterfeit– it imagines a “mala prohibitum” crime. “Wrong” only because it is prohibited, without an ethical foundation of respect for human rights and liberty. In other words, not wrong at all.

Of course, runaway slaves aren’t quite as common as they once were– unless you count truancy “laws”. But there are a great many counterfeit “laws” being enforced. Such as all gun regulations, the War on Politically Incorrect Drugs, “vice laws”, licensing requirements for business and piloting a vehicle, tax laws– most of the laws enforced today.

Stand up for what’s right. Refuse to punish people for imaginary “crimes” which have no individual victim. Nullify bad “laws”. For more information visit fija.org

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2 Responses to “Power in courtroom belongs to you”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    …or simply refuse to participate in statist rituals.

  2. Kent McManigal Says:

    I generally agree, but if I have the chance to rescue someone, I will take it.

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