Are you familiar with the term “jury nullification”? If you aren’t then you should be. Here is one reference,
“It is not widely known that even if a jury determines the the defendant broke the law, if the jury believes the law itself is bad or stupid or wrong, the jury can still come in with a verdict of not guilty. This is known as ‘jury nullification.’” p. 104I don’t know if you have ever been on a jury. I made it through the selection process once. Usually I am ruled out because I don’t drink and I have known some police officers. For some reason this seems to make you unable to decide guilt in a case. The one time I was impaneled it was a civil case coming out of an automobile accident. I guess the fact that I drove a car did not disqualify me.
For me one high point in my service was when the judge instructed the jury. It has been a long time but paraphrasing my memory, one of the things he said to us went something like, “I will tell you what the law is and the choices you can make.” Since I am a rebel at heart I could not stop my hand from going up and asking the question, again I paraphrase, “Then what do you need us for?”
The basic idea in jury nullification is that citizens are just as capable as someone in a black robe on deciding what is just and what is criminal. Keep in mind that judges are nullifying the law on a regular basis. Take it a step further, they are constantly nullifying the Constitution. Their reason is not some object bit of justice but advancing their own political position. In my opinion, and the opinion of others, juries should have that same right.
There are good people on both sides of this concept. I would put my hat in the ring that says my responsibility as a juror is to see justice done. This is important because in the days ahead we will continue to see the Proregressives* try to use the courts and what used to be a legal system to intimidate and coerce the population into submitting to tyranny. If we want to avoid the fantasy that violence will solve the problem we are going to need to man up and use the jury system if they ever let us get there.
Ayoob, Massad. Deadly Force. Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2014.
homo unius libri