Kent McManigal writes for Freedom New Mexico. He shares his thoughts on a juror’s duties:
Just about everyone wants justice. One of the most powerful tools you and I have available to keep government honest is the jury.
Unfortunately, you can’t count on the government informing you of your power; you must usually hear of this from a libertarian activist instead.
I believe that when you are serving on a jury, it is your duty to not only judge the facts of the case (in other words, to decide if the accused person actually did what they are accused of), but also whether the law the person is accused of violating is a good law or not.
This has been the cornerstone at the foundation of the legal system America inherited, whether judges like it or not. The practice is called “jury nullification.” It’s been supported by John Adams, one of our nation’s founding fathers, and John Jay, the first chief of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Adams said jury nullification is not only 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.”
Jay said, “The jury has the right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy.”
One way the justice system can be used to strengthen liberty is to realize when a case does not belong in the justice system at all, and act accordingly if you are on the jury.
Today most people think of a “crime” as something the government has seen fit to forbid and punish through “laws.”
In order for real justice to be served, there needs to be a separation of court and state.