Thanks for the update. I feared you hadn't had time to read my essay. Which I thought a shame, since I dropped what I was doing & changed my plans so I could give you a timely answer.
Here is a paper on Congress' power to make criminal laws: http://publiushuldah.wordpress.com/2009/06/29/us-criminal-code/
Re: "YOU MUST TELL THE TRUTH! You don't want to be tried for perjury."
In this age of spying, data base selling, and gathering of Intell...
What are the chances of a court officer (judge or prosecutor) having access to a list of former members of FIJA or people on their old mailing lists? .. or, for that matter, people in TPN?
Well, David, you put your finger on the problem: When both lawyers are questioning the prospective Jurors, if a prospective Juror says that he agrees with Jury Nullification in criminal cases, the prosecutor will challenge him for cause and the Juror will be removed from the panel and sent home.
If the prosecutor asks a prospective Juror directly if he agrees with Jury Nullification, the Prospective Juror needs to tell the Truth (otherwise, he might be prosecuted for perjury). However, the Prospective Juror can answer the question in such a way that he influences everyone else in the Jury pool. I should work up a short script [needs to be short b/c the judge will cut it short]
If the prosecutor doesn't ask, you don't have to tell.
Yes, in this internet age, both lawyers will be doing internet searches of the names on the prospective Jury Panel as soon as they get the list.
And when the Judge makes you promise that you will apply the law as he explains it to you, I think you have the right to assume that the judge knows the difference between a constitutional & unconstitutional law, that he knows the Constitution, etc. So you have the right to assume that he will correctly explain the law to you.
But if (to your shock & horror) you later learn that the law is unconstitutional (as outside the scope of Congress' legislative powers, etc.) or is just stupid or unfair, or is being unfairly applied, etc., you may find the Defendant, "Not Guilty". Just be very careful about what you say to the other Jurors. You don't want to go in there and babble about "Jury Nullification", b/c counsel in many jurisdictions may question the jurors after the trial is over. (Lawyers like to do this b/c it helps them understand why they won or lost.) So you would say things to the other Jurors like, "Well, I can't in good conscience find Defendant Guilty"; "If we find him Guilty", I won't be able to look in the mirror".
I catch the drift.
But by adding f jury nullification, to the many other verboten items (religious conviction, racial bigotry, age prejudice, economic and class bias, etc.) aren't prosecuting attorneys and courts reducing the pool of potential jurors even more by excluding people with knowledge of and interest in the US Constitution?
I have heard and seen the phrase "jury of one's peers" derided many times because of the large spectrum of criteria used to eliminate jurors. The opinion is often expressed that nobody of any substance or intellect would allow themselves to be inconvenienced by having to serve on a jury. All they have to do is feign having "extreme" political, social, religious, or just plain crazy views about almost anything, be dismissed, and go back to work (or whatever interests them more than serving on a jury). The opinion then follows that only idle dummies serve on juries.
The prosecutors want stupid people on the Jury b/c they are more easily manipulated. Yes, the idea is to exclude Jurors with brains. But I think defense counsel wants Jurors who are intelligent. I sure did.
Re avoiding Jury duty: Serving on a criminal jury is one's highest civic duty. Properly understood, the Juror sits as judge over the Law made by the Legislative Branch, and judge over the Judicial Branch.
Mark Twain made a comment about the exclusion from Juries of people who are intelligent and informed, so this is an old problem!
If any of you are ever called, do NOT try to get out of it!
I have been called up for jury duty 3 three times, I showed and when questioned about jury nullification, I state that I believe that both the law and the defendant are on trial the defendant for breaking the law, and was the law properly applied.
Do this often enough and you get to go home and not have to deal with the state sponsored slavery called jury duty.
NO! Consider your hands whacked by my virtual ruler.
Jurors are there FOR THE CITIZENS (or other parties) in the litigation, be they defendants in a criminal case or parties to a civil suit. The idea is that citizens are to judge citizens; and in criminal cases, citizens are also to judge the law. When one shirks jury duty - which is his civic obligation to judge his fellows and the law when called upon to do so - he is in effect relinquishing his POWER to the government: "I don't want to be bothered with judging my fellow citizens and the law (in criminal cases) - let the government do it. Or let people who are less worthy than I do it."
If YOU ever have the misfortune to be a party to litigation, whether criminal or civil, you may understand that what you have said is destructive of the very foundation of civil liberty. Jury duty is the exact opposite of "state sponsored slavery" - it is the sine qua non of Liberty.
It might interest you to know that in every trial I have been in or seen, counsel STAND UP every time the Jury enters or leaves the Courtroom. Why? Because we understand that THEY are the ones holding the real power in the proceedings. Not the Judge.
In other words, Joseph...
If you love Liberty, you have shot yourself in the foot 3 times by talking you way out of jury duty.
It may be an inconvenient and annoying process, but it is one of the few times in your life you will ever have and use real POWER to preserve the Freedom you (hopefully) value.
Jury duty is not slavery. It is your Freedom and POWER.
Ducking out of jury duty is free-loading on Liberty and giving your power away to the STATE.