It appears that the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) is taking a page from the Oath Keepers’ script and placing billboards in strategic locations to inform jurors of their right to judge the law, not just the facts of the case, in their role as jurors. Of course prosecutors are up in arms about it, and paint it terms to indicate it is unlawful, or immoral, for jurors to use this power, but it is definitely legal, and a time-honored tradition. In NH they passed a law prohibiting judges from denying the right of defenses to inform jurors of this right. Just as Oath Keepers is reminding oath takers their oath is to the Constitution, so FIJA is informing jurors of their rights to nullify. Jurors do NOT have to follow the instruction of judges. They may judge the law as well as the facts of the case.
Good job, FIJA.
This article comes from the Washington Post.
By Keith L. Alexander
The illuminated billboard in the Judiciary Square Metro station near the F Street entrance was strategically placed.
Prospective jurors who take the subway to D.C. Superior Court and exit near the National Building Museum see these words: “Good jurors nullify bad laws” and “You have the right to ‘hang’ the jury with your vote if you cannot agree with other jurors.”
Since the billboard went up this month, District prosecutors have been worried that the message could sway their cases. In the past week alone, they have asked judges in three cases to ensure that jurors had neither seen nor been influenced by the billboard.
The billboard is part of a growing national campaign to encourage jurors who disagree with a law, or think a punishment is too harsh, to vote for acquittal. Kirsten Tynan of the Montana-based Fully Informed Jury Association, whose name and Web address is included on the billboard, said the nonprofit group generally challenges crimes it calls “victimless,” such as vandalism by graffiti or gun possession.
James Babb, a Philadelphia-based graphics artist who organized a fundraising campaign to put up the billboard, said he raised $3,000 in about a week through Facebook and other social-media sites. He said he is concerned about laws that he thinks are too restrictive.
“People are going to jail for weed,” Babb said. “Things are getting so weird. There needs to be this final safeguard to protect us from a tyrannical government.”
Babb’s group has added a similar message on two pillars in Archives station, another Metro stop near the courthouse. Both displays are scheduled to be up for about a month. Babb said he also plans to place signs in other cities, including Chicago and Los Angeles.
Supporters of jury nullification in several cities have raised the ire of judges and prosecutors. In New York last year, an 80-year-old man was charged with jury tampering after passing out fliers about jury nullification to courthouse visitors; the case was later dismissed by a federal judge.
Locally, prosecutors have been scrambling to ensure that the billboard’s message doesn’t influence their cases.
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