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Jury Nullification: What You Need to Know

Jury Nullification: The Top Secret Constitutional Right Did you know that the trial jury was intended by America’s Founders to be a political institution? Did you know that jurors under our system of justice have the responsibility to protect our rights from infringement by the government? Did you know that jurors can judge the fairness or constitutionality of the law itself? Did you know that judges, prosecutors, and many lawyers don’t want you to know the truth about your power as a juror? When the jury or even you, a single conscientious juror, decide that the law itself is unjust or it is being applied improperly, you may decide not to enforce the law in the case before you, no matter the evidence. If a juror accepts as the law that which the judge states, then the juror has accepted the exercise of absolute authority of a government employee and has surrendered a power and right that once was the citizen’s safeguard of liberty. This is known as jury nullification. Basically, it’s the jury’s way of saying, “By the letter of the law, the defendant may be guilty, but we disagree with that law, so we vote to not punish the accused.” Ultimately, the verdict serves as an acquittal. Haven’t heard of jury nullification? Don’t feel bad; you’re far from alone. If anything, your unfamiliarity is by design. Generally, defense lawyers are not allowed to even mention jury nullification as a possibility during a trial because judges prefer juries to follow the general protocols rather than delivering independent verdicts. Surprisingly, the Supreme Court has routinely agreed that judges have no obligation to inform juries about jury nullification. I wonder why this is never talked about in courtrooms? If you serve on a jury, you should KNOW YOUR RIGHTS AS A JUROR! Did you know that when you sit on a jury, you may vote on the verdict according to your conscience. It is true. But then… Why do most judges tell you that you may consider “only the facts” — that you must not let your conscience, opinion of the law, or the motives of the defendant aἀect your decision? In a trial by jury, the judge’s job is to referee the event and provide neutral legal advice to the jury, properly beginning with a full explanation of a juror’s rights and responsibilities. But judges only rarely “fully inform” jurors of their rights, especially their right to judge the... read more

Criminalization does nothing to solve homelessness

It seems that for almost every social problem that pops up, we turn to the criminal justice system. Suffering from mental illness? Here’s a cell. Struggling with drug dependency? Let’s throw you in handcuffs. Sleeping on the street? Here’s an arrest record. And if you are a person of color, the criminal justice crackdown can be even worse. How could it possibly make sense to saddle police officers and prison wardens with sole responsibility for helping people get a roof over their head? Or to task lawyers and judges with treating mental illness or helping people get sober? Simply making problems into “crimes” is just making things worse. It’s 2014. We know better. Not only is all of this inhumane, it’s expensive. When our tax dollars are picking up the tab, it makes sense to put funds where they will make the biggest impact. Housing programs help solve homelessness. Treatment helps stabilize mental illness and end drug dependency. Arrests and jail cells just waste time and money. We Over Criminalized in America. You can go to jail for any reason these days. And now, you can go to jail for being homeless. A law was just passed that makes it illegal for homeless people to sleep anywhere outside. Watch this video! UPDATE: It was just unanimously passed the anti-trash picking laws under the guise of protecting residents from identity theft. In practice, it is another overreach of police power that will lead to more attacks on the least fortunate among us. Criminalization without viable alternatives does nothing to address the root of the problem. Are you awake Yet? Stay in touch and receive more insights with the America’s Great Awakening Newsletter. If you would like to to see a sample newsletter, click the link below. This is free and we encourage you to distribute to your friends and family. VIEW FREE NEWSLETTER If you are ready to sign up to receive our monthly newsletters, click... read more

It’s Wrong. It’s Corrupt. And It’s Been Happening For *Far* Too Long.

Actor Jason Alexander makes a strong point in this 30-second video: All citizens should keep this in mind every time they hear a political ad paid for by a special interest PAC. “Do you know what ‘Paid for by…’ really means? It means a billion dollars in the last election. Our government is filled with people who have been paid for, but no one should have more influence than you.” And politicians may pretend it doesn’t make them beholden to their donors, but… “Even if it’s in the back of their mind, you can’t tell me that if somebody spends a couple million dollars in your race… that’s not going to affect the decision-making process. The primary goal of much of the money that flows through U.S. politics is this: Influence. Corporations and industry groups, unions, single-issue organizations – together, they spend billions of dollars each year to gain access to decision-makers in government, all in an attempt to influence their thinking. It’s corruption! Shouldn’t the American people have the most influence? Oh wait, we can’t afford that. Are you awake Yet? Stay in touch and receive more insights with the America’s Great Awakening Newsletter. If you would like to to see a sample newsletter, click the link below. This is free and we encourage you to distribute to your friends and family. VIEW FREE NEWSLETTER If you are ready to sign up to receive our monthly newsletters, click... read more

The Progressive Income Tax: A Tale of Three Brothers

“The Progressive Income Tax” is one of those economic terms that gets bandied about, but few actually know what it means or how it works. This tale of three similar brothers with three different incomes (but one shared expense) helps explain the tax system under which we live. This animated story will change the way you think about how you pay your taxes. Are you awake Yet? Stay in touch and receive more insights with the America’s Great Awakening Newsletter. If you would like to to see a sample newsletter, click the link below. This is free and we encourage you to distribute to your friends and family. VIEW FREE NEWSLETTER If you are ready to sign up to receive our monthly newsletters, click... read more

America Is A Nation of Laws, Not a Nation of Men

“A nation of laws” means that laws, not people, rule. Everyone is to be governed, regardless of their position; whether it is the most common American or Members of Congress, high-ranking bureaucrats or the President of the United States; all must be held to the just laws of America. No one is, or can be allowed to be, above the law. Ok, I will pause here while you quit laughing…. Feel better? This idea was paramount in the complex process of establishing the United States of America, whose brave leaders had put everything on the line to escape the tyranny and oppression of the British Crown. The Founders wrote restrictions into the Constitution against bills or laws of attainder, which are laws that do not apply equally to everyone, but target specific persons or groups in their enforcement, and are also known as “bills of pains and penalties.” Buy, in the hands of corrupt officials, these laws could be used as a weapon that would give an incumbent politician a major advantage over anyone else. There were over 44,000 new laws passed in 2014. Think about that for a second. That brings up the question, how many laws are there? Care to guess? The Law Library of Congress is asked that question all the time. The answer may surprise you. At the reference desk, we are frequently asked to estimate the number of federal laws in force. However, trying to tally this number is nearly impossible. If you think the answer to this question can be found in the volumes of the Statutes at Large, you are partially correct. The Statutes at Large is a compendium that includes all the federal laws passed by the U.S. Congress. However, a total count of laws passed does not account for the fact that some laws are completely new; some are passed to amend existing laws; and others completely repeal old laws. Moreover, this set does not include any case law or regulatory provisions that have the force of law. In just the topic of United States Code they have 51 titles in multiple volumes. It would be very time consuming to go page by page to count each federal law, and it also does not include case law or regulatory provisions. They you can through in the state statutes. In an example of a failed attempt to tally up the number of laws on a specific subject area, in 1982 the... read more
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