Local jury rights activists will be located outside the Camden County Hall of Justice, 101 S. 5th St., Camden, NJ 08103, between the hours of 7:30 AM - 5:00 PM on September 5, 2014, distributing literature to educate the community about jurors’ right of conscientious acquittal through jury nullification.
“Anyone wishing to help us distribute literature should visit the Camden, NJ Jury Rights Day - Jury Nullification Outreach event page at http://www.facebook.com/
William Penn’s jurors refused to convict him of breaking England’s Conventicle Act, despite clear evidence that he had publicly preached a Quaker sermon in violation of the law. Despite being directed by the judge in the case to return a Guilty verdict, and even when imprisoned for their act of conscience, jurors refused to convict.
Some of the jurors who were punished appealed to a higher court, winning a ruling in their favor that jurors cannot be punished for their verdicts. This reversal firmly established in English common law, not only jurors’ right to conscientiously acquit, but a firm foundation for freedoms of religion, speech, and assembly. The founders of the United States purposely protected all of these rights in establishing the American legal system.
“Law exists for the purpose of safeguarding justice. Justice is not to be violated or repudiated in the interest of technically upholding an unjust law,” said FIJA Executive Director Kirsten Tynan. “When law and justice come into conflict, justice must prevail. The Fully Informed Jury Association teaches that jurors are empowered to uphold justice in such cases, by setting aside the law and voting Not Guilty when a just verdict requires it,” said Tynan.
On this day of celebration and commemoration, juror educators hope to create many more fully informed jurors who understand and are prepared to act on the knowledge that:
Jurors cannot be punished for their verdicts.
Jurors have the right to deliver a general verdict and are not required to explain the reason for their verdict.
Jurors have the legal authority and the ethical duty to consult their consciences and to render a just verdict, even if it requires setting aside the law to do so.
About Rev. Deborah Kalinowski
Rev. Kalinowski is the Co-Pastor of God’s Not Finished With Me Yet Ministries - http://www.godsnotfinishedwithmeyet.weebly.com/
About the Fully Informed Jury Association
FIJA is a non-profit, educational association dedicated to informing the general public about their full rights, powers, and responsibilities in delivering just verdicts as trial jurors. The organization publishes and distributes educational literature, which anyone can receive by calling 1-800-TEL-JURY, and maintains a web site at www.FIJA.org to inform the general public of their Constitutional authority to protect human rights by refusing to enforce bad laws. FIJA encourages all jurors to consult their consciences when deliberating over a case, and to refuse to enforce any law that violates the human rights of the defendant.