Saturday, July 01, 2006

The dissenting juror

One of the powers the Constitution gave common citizens was the right to interpret the Constitution when they are jurors in a jury trial. Judges have not been comfortable with this state of affairs since its inception. The citizen juror is now instructed from the bench as to what she may or may not do. That includes deferring interpretation of the Constitution to legal experts. Instruction or not, the citizen might still take it upon herself to render her verdict based on Constitutional interpretation should she feel there is an issue. In theory, there’s not a damned thing anybody can do about it.

Imagine. A citizen could derail the best laid plans of the government to prosecute those they feel are political enemies. The whole thing, of course, depends on the guts of the juror. The state will always put overwhelming pressure on the juror to knuckle under when prosecuting political enemies.

You can be damned sure the dissenter won’t be called a patriot by the state and its supporters.

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