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FIJA Files Amicus Brief in Ninth Circuit

With a salute to Don Doig, co-founder of the Fully Informed Jury Association, Oath Keepers is proud to spread the word about FIJA filing its most recent Amicus Brief, which should be of interest to all our members.

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FIJA Files Amicus Brief in Kleinman Case in

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

 

 

For Immediate Release

CONTACT:
Kirsten C. Tynan
Executive Director
(406) 442-7800
aji@fija.org

Roger I. Roots, J.D., Ph.D.
FIJA Advisory Board Member
(406) 224-3105
rogerroots@msn.com

Helena, MT–  The Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) has filed an amicus curiae brief in the case of United States of America v. Noah Kleinman in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the judge’s instructions to jurors, which FIJA argues effectively denied the defendant’s Constitutionally-guaranteed right to trial by jury.
From the outset of the federal trial of Noah Kleinman for victimless, marijuana-related activities that were legal under California state law, the prosecution and the judge were bent on quashing any possibility of jurors conscientiously acquitting Kleinman.

Jurors in the case were vetted extensively not only during the initial voir dire at the start of the trial, but were grilled again by the judge in individual, mid-trial interviews. In explaining his crafting of the mid-trial interrogation, the judge stated that jurors “lie like hell” and that “First they lie not to get in that seat; now they will lie to keep that seat.”

Such blatant disrespect of the jury and abuse of the jury process ultimately culminated in the judge issuing inaccurate instructions to the jury, verbatim as submitted by the prosecutor, with objections from the defense being rebuffed. The offending instruction read:

“You cannot substitute your sense of justice, whatever that means, for your duty to follow the law, whether you agree with it or not. It is not your determination whether a law is just or whether a law is unjust. That cannot be your task. There is no such thing as valid jury nullification. You would violate your oath and the law if you willfully brought a verdict contrary to the law given to you in this case.”
FIJA argues in its amicus brief that in Kleinman’s trial that the court’s approach and treatment of the jury, and its jury instructions, so deprived the jury of its ability to deliberate over Kleinman’s fate that Kleinman was utterly deprived of trial by jury:

“While jury instructions have increasingly taken on a tone and orientation reflecting the prosecution bar’s desire to repress jury discretion, never before has a jury been instructed in such an overtly ham-fisted manner as the jury in Noah Kleinman’s trial…”

Roger I. Roots, J.D. Ph.D., attorney and FIJA advisory board member, wrote and filed the brief pro bono on behalf of FIJA.

“This case offers a near perfect opportunity for a high-level, appellate court to address the growing inaccuracy of jury instructions at the trial level. In fact, they’re not just inaccurate-in many ways they are totally false,” said Dr. Roots.

About the Fully Informed Jury Association
The Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, nonpartisan, educational organization headquartered in Helena, Montana. Focusing on issues involving the role of the jury in our justice system, FIJA seeks to preserve the full function of the jury as the final arbiter in our courts of law by informing everyone about their rights, powers and responsibilities in delivering just verdicts when serving as jurors. The organization does not advocate for or against any case in progress, but rather seeks to fully inform everyone of all their options when serving on juries. This includes the option to conscientiously acquit when a just verdict requires it by voting Not Guilty, even if they believe the law has technically been broken, without fear of punishment for their verdict.

Learn more at FIJA’s website:  http://fija.org/

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Elias Alias

Editor in Chief for Oath Keepers; Unemployed poet; Lover of Nature and Nature's beauty. Slave to all cats. Reading interests include study of hidden history, classical literature. Concerned Constitutional American. Honorably discharged USMC Viet Nam Veteran. Founder, TheMentalMilitia.Net


3 comments

  1. There is a judge using misbehavior in the courtroom, breaking the Oath(s) (a felony and the crime of Perjury), and either ignorant of thelawful duties of a judge, or using criminal actions to pressure the jury to the only berdict that jduges seems to want.

    US Constitution, Article III, Section 1: “The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.”

    Alexander Hamilton: “The standard of good behavior for the continuance in office of the judicial magistracy is certainly one of the most valuable of the modern improvements in the practice of government.”

    John Adams: “It would be an absurdity for jurors to be required to accept the judge’s view of the law, against their own opinion, judgment, and conscience.”

    U.S. vs. Dougherty, 1972: “The pages of history shine on instances of the jury’s exercise of its prerogative to disregard instructions of the judge.”

    Early in US history, judges informed jurors of their nullification right. The first Chief Justice, Jand Second US President ohn Jay, told jurors:
    “You have a right to take upon yourselves to judge both the facts and law.”
    And “The jury has the right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy.”

    Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Thomas Paine: “I consider [trial by jury] as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.”

    John Adams: “It is not only his [the juror’s] right, but his duty… to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.”

    Samuel Chase: “The jury has the right to determine both the law and the facts.”

    Patrick Henry: “Why do we love this trial by jury? Because it prevents the hand of oppression from cutting you off…This gives me comfort, that, as long as I have existence, my neighbors will protect me.”

    Thomas Jefferson: “…To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions is a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so. They have with others the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps…and their power is more dangerous as they are in office for life and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruption of time and party, its members would become despots….”

    Something extra to consider;

    Justice Potter Stewart: “The 4th Amendment and the personal rights it secures have a long history. At the very core stands the right of a man to retreat into his own home and there be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion.”

    Thomas Jefferson: “The several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes — delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force: that to this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral part, its co-States forming, as to itself, the other party: that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party (the people) has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.”

  2. not only should their be a Jury advocate in all states ,but the absolute requirement of the reading of the founding documents should be required at each Jury deliberation before any such deliberation begins.97% conviction rates need to be reduced to the pre 1970 level of 7%.then and only then are we assured of not putting innocence into prison or death.

  3. I have seen a case argued in Alabama that occurred in Arkansas and the jurisdiction knew the crime occurred in Arkansas.The Judge also gave strange instructions in that case ,effectively ruling out a fair trial.The man was convicted and given 10 years.They refused testimony of me and several other witnesses in the case.Now we did not have testimony that would reflect anything that occurred in Arkansas,but we could have testified that the victim spent time with the man at our place after the fact.The fact that the man was being prosecuted in Alabama for a crime that was alleged in Arkansas is I believe wrong.

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