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Analysis posted Jan 09 2012, 4:56 PM Category: Commentary Source: InformationLiberation Print

Tell the Truth, Get Out of Jury Duty

Chris | InformationLiberation

This morning I had to "serve" my country through the involuntary servitude of the jury system. Fortunately, I told the truth during the deliberations and got kicked off the jury as a result.

It all started with the summons a month or so ago, the government only gave me about 4 weeks advance notice. Fortunately, I didn't have a trip planned, as I've heard stories of people being forced to cut their vacations off early because they were drafted to "serve."

I was dreading taking part in this service the whole night, I realized I haven't felt under compulsion to do anything in years, I felt like I was back in school and remembered how servitude felt like, it wasn't pleasant and I tossed and turned stressing out all night.

When I arrived at the building, the place was packed to the brim, numbers 1 to 451 were called to go in, and sure enough there was seemingly 451 people there, I guess everyone can make it when they're under threat of compulsion. Everyone was searched at the entrance to the building, we're being forced to go there, but they must shake us down and make us empty our pockets, classic government.

When I get to the juror lounge I have to check in, the lady in front of me I heard complaining to the government worker at the desk, "I had to do so much to come here," she said looking for some sympathy, she got none. I presented my letter and on I went into a jam-packed room with 7 or 8 large LCD's hanging from the ceiling. I walked to the back of the room looking for a seat, everyone was sitting with a spacer seat in between them so when I made it to the back of the room I had to ask to squeeze in.

The government worker came on the intercom and said "while she knows people are probably a little miffed, we're all here to serve our country, assure a fair trial," etc. etc. It was clear she was just trying to stem some sort of revolt. Finally they play some video, again it starts with some government worker blabbering on and on for several minutes nonsense just to calm everyone down, "we know you might find this an inconvenience, but you're here to serve," blah blah blah. The video stops, the government worker says if anyone has any reason they can't make a 5 day trial or can't serve on a jury form a line, she joked only 5 or so people should get up. Probably 40% of the entire crowd rose to their feet and formed a line 180 people long. Fortunately, I brought an MP3 player, I listened to Peter Schiff's show for 40 minute straight. After the entire line was processed, we were called up to go into the court room.

"Number 132."

I was finally called, I head up to the court with about 100 other people. I was the next to last person to enter the court room, fortunately I happened to be seated at the front in the Juror's chairs which I can only describe as supple. The courtroom is in the shape of a large circle and there's an "all seeing eye" pattern in the circular lights above the court, no doubt to give the impression of respectability.

The judge instructs us the case is an attempted murder case, that means the case will last 3 to 5 days. The defendant was named Alfonso something and he was black, he had a black lawyer who reminded me of Johnnie Cochran, he was dressed very sharp in a nice blue suit. The state's prosecutors were two shrewd older women, they didn't strike me as pleasant to be around.

Eventually the "voir dire" questioning process begins, we're told if any questions apply to you, raise your hand and speak your number. Incidentally, there was a law passed just recently in our county to make all juror's semi-anonymous, you were only IDed by your number and not name, it was rather nice.

"Does anyone have English as their second language and feel it may compromise their ability to judge the case?"

Only one man responded.

The judge asks a few more questions, finally it comes to the magic question, "Would anyone be less likely, or more likely, to trust the testimony of a police officer by merit of his occupation?"

I was the only one to raise my hand.

"132," I nervously forced out.

The other jurors looked at me like I was odd.

After all the questioning was done, I was called up to the stand to explain myself. I walked up and stood with the defendant's lawyer to my left, the two prosecutors on my right, and the judge before me. The judge blared white noise out of a speaker so no one else could hear, he asks me, "So, you said you would be less or more likely to trust someone's testimony because of their occupation?"

"Um... I think the question was about police?"

"Yes, I asked if you would be more or less likely to trust the testimony of a police officer as a result of their occupation."

"Well, I run an alternative news website, and part of it chronicles stories of police abuse. I've seen easily one hundred articles where police perjure themselves on the stand, and they're not charged with perjury after the case is over. I think the incentive structure is out of whack."

"What's your website?!" the state's prosecutor asks.


"And what type of website is it?"

"It's libertarian, there's a section called "Tyranny/Police State" which has thousands of articles of police abuse."

"What's on it?"

"Stuff like police taking people's cell phone cameras."

The prosecutors scribbled this all down hastily.

I'm sent back to my seat.

Sure enough, after a long wait, because my number was one of the first ones, I'm called to be on the jury and take one of the twelve jury seats. The judge says the defendant and the prosecutor can now object if they don't want you on the jury.

First, as far as I recall, was the man who spoke up before because he seemingly did not speak great English, the prosecutor says "Swear him," the defendant and his lawyer talk for a bit, say "Swear him."

Presumably, that means he's on the trial.

I'm second, the defendant's lawyer speaks first this time, "Swear him."

The prosecutors start squabbling amongst themselves, I don't know if it was just for show, but they exchange perhaps thirty words back and forth, I'm thinking to myself, "uh oh, I might actually have to sit through this thing and listen to 10 police officers testify against this guy."

Incidentally, only police were testifying against him, everyone defending the defendant was not a police officer. Judging by the man actually being willing to subject himself to a trial and not take a plea, I'd assume it's likely he's not guilty.

"Thank the Juror and dismiss him," the state's prosecutors say.

"Juror #132, you're free to go," says the judge.

"Aw yeah," I think to myself.

I walk back to the jury waiting room, presumably to be sat on another trial, we were all told we'd be there likely until 4:30, though sometimes it lasts hours longer.

Instead, I arrive and there's a huge line, I see people walking out with checks. My servitude was over, I'm given a $15 check and sent on my way, it was only 12:30.

So there you have it, for those of us who are actually aware of rampant police criminality, escaping jury duty is as simple as telling the truth.

What that means about the pool of jurors who remain, I don't really know. I can't believe out of 100 people I was the only one to say I'd be less likely to trust the testimony of a police officer because of his occupation. Police lie constantly under oath and on the stand, get caught red handed, then face zero repercussions for committing perjury, yet apparently no one in this courtroom besides myself is aware of this.

That's not a good sign.
Chris runs the website, you can read more of his commentary here. Follow infolib on twitter here.

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Comments 21 - 35 of 35 Add Comment < Page of 2

Posted: Jun 05 2013, 8:20 PM

7482 I think I am being forced to jury duty and it's not right. I do not stand up and talk in front of others. I didn't do this in school and I'm sure not about to start doing it now. It makes me sick to my stomach just to think about it and I want nothing to do with any of it. I would think they would want people on juries that really want to be there.

Posted: Jul 23 2013, 3:37 AM

18496 I got called in for the first time. I'm going to be quiet and hope to be chosen, with every intent of ignoring the case and saying NOT-GUILTY

Posted: Jan 22 2014, 10:41 PM

9661 Jury Duty: Legal robbery. The judge, the court clerk, the police, non work for nothing. Yet, we are told it is our "obligation" to serve without pay. NY pays a lousy 40.00 a wk, may take 6 weeks to get pd. I myself have served more times than most native New Yorkers, NO MORE. My spouse who is our main bread winner, caring also for a disabled person is being required to serve, lose pay of over 200.00 a day. I do not even want to hear the self righteous blabbing about your obligation as an American. We do our part, we obey the law, we support ourselves. If we cannot pay our electric bill, will the state pay it? If we cannot pay our taxes will the state let us keep our property? The bottom line is if you serve, you should get paid the same as your job and you should be pd the day you serve.

Posted: Jan 31 2014, 8:56 PM

76216 I got my jury notice today for march 10. I am going to take a vacation day and show up and hope and pray I dont get chosen.

Posted: Feb 02 2014, 2:08 PM

70190 Did the exact same thing in my younger days. The judge had an "interest" in my since he says he understood my reason. Purjury. Laws need to be changed to hold every cop accountable in court. They use the system against us, do it right back 'em. Yes, getting active in politics is a burden to some, but it's the last chance before shtf. This enslavement and evil can only go on for so long till something or someone stupid intitiates it. Maybe Dorner was right?

Posted: Feb 19 2014, 6:03 AM

68102 In the state of Kansas they stack the juries with law enforcement officers and their families. Defense can only kick off so many and prosecutors try to kick out all other regular citizens. Under the police officers contract they get full pay while serving minus the $8.50 that the court pays. This was changed under the Criminal & Justice Act of 2003. They are no longer exempt. Even Judges and court personnel are called on a regular basis, as long as they give the standard trained answer of yes when asked if they will remain fair and unbiased. (which of course is a lie and a GIGANTIC conflict of interest). Most of them serve several times a year over and over. The justice system does not really care about justice, the Bill of Rights, or the Constitution of the United States of America unless they are putting on a big show and pretend that that they have the public's best interest in mind, but what they say and what they actually do are completely the opposite thing. The bottom line is that they are politicians and there is a LOT of money at stake. The entire system is a HUGE revenue generator and they are willing to do whatever it takes to keep that stream flowing.
Jake Witmer

Posted: Feb 26 2014, 5:09 AM

3897 The people who agree with Chris in the comments section, are, plainly and simply, the reason why we don't have a totally libertarian society. They are servile servants of the police state, and their logic falls apart under even the weakest libertarian questioning. In Colorado, the home of libertarian juror Laura Kriho, prosecutors couldn't find jurors willing to convict in marijuana cases. One year later, the state allows the legalization of marijuana by the vote, in order to "save face" and try to prevent the public from realizing that they hold absolute power, as jurors.

Can the state sometimes prevent jury nullification, even given a seated (well-educated) libertarian juror intent on nullifying? Yes! Is that a foregone conclusion? No! In fact, it's very, very rare. The problem is entirely servility, apathy, cowardice, and stupidity of "libertarians" like Chris.

Chris, the editor of this post writes:

"I too was criticized for doing the same, as you'll see in the comments on his article, the fact of the matter is I didn't want to perjure myself, and as Jeff Tucker notes it would only have ended in a hung jury and a retrial. - Chris"

"Didn't want to perjure myself" --OK, this is your real reasoning, and such reasoning is cowardly, unintelligent, narrow-sighted, and anti-liberty. Why not rephrase it so it reveals the entire truth? "My desire to not lie to the police state ("perjure myself")" overrode my desire to "obstruct the actual victimization of an innocent person by that police state." Amazing! Why not just fold up your tent then?

When Thoreau stated that we must cling with our whole weight against the system, he was precisely referring to refusing to allow oneself to be used as a tool to punish innocent people. In his time, the abolitionists were highly successful at setting free innocent people accused of harboring fugitive slaves. They did this by handing out pamphlets informing jurors of the unconstitutional "voir dire" process.

"and as Jeff Tucker notes"
--Ah, the appeal to an idiotic authority figure for legitimacy. Argument by appeal to a (false) authority. Sorry, when a libertarian gives a cowardly or unsound line of reasoning, they lose the title "libertarian."

"it would only have ended in a hung jury and a retrial"
Wow. You really can see the future! But you know what? Statistically speaking, you're totally wrong. First of all: hung juries put a ton of pressure on prosecutors. They open themselves up to arguments that they are "wasting time and tax money prosecuting innocent people." And the defendant (if not the bar-licensed and bar-silenced defense attorney) then also has the ability to point to the prior jury trial, that was hung.

A simple logical test is in order: "What is more likely?" ..."A jury trial is nullified and hung, and the person the police state is trying to victimize is victimized anyway." or "A jury trial blandly convicts an innocent person of a victimless crime and that innocent victim is then correspondingly punished." The second option is far more likely, and gives lie to your objection to attempting nullification. If you never attempt something (something which is possible and happens all the time), then it will DEFINITELY never happen. (In this case the thing being referred to is your successful nullification of a victimless crime law.)

(As a great proof of this, recently in Colorado, one entire year before the people of Colorado voted to legalize marijuana, the Arapahoe County prosecutor stopped filing marijuana charges against people, because they realized NO JURY WOULD CONVICT.) And let's imagine that they are willing to retry a case more than two times (they aren't, but let's pretend they are, for the sake of your weak argument): if you become a nullifying juror, at least you didn't comply! At least you took every action in your power to prevent an innocent person from having their life destroyed by the police state.

And what about the possibility that you might actually convince the other jurors to "vote not guilty" alongside you? This happens on a regular basis, to the extent that prosecutors in DC, including Paul Butler, have stopped prosecuting marijuana offenses. Additionally, due to such informed jurors, Paul Butler stopped being a prosecutor, and became a vocal advocate of nullifying the drug laws!

Actual nullification --and all votes to nullify-- are the Foundation of the libertarian element of western civilization. All of the economic success of America, the industrial revolution, the relatively high standard of living in the USA in comparison to third-world hellholes like North Korea and Soviet Russia, is due to the right of jury trial. The jury is the only branch of government comprised of people who did not seek political power.

In many cases, libertarians ONCE SEATED ON THE ACTUAL JURY have convinced the other conformists on the jury to vote with them, "NOT GUILTY."

At very least try for this optimal outcome. If you fail, at least you can truthfully say "I served the higher truth, and didn't let the police state use my tendency for narrow-minded honesty against me, and against an innocent person."

That would be something to be really proud of. Use Marcy Brooks, DOug Casey, and Edward Bushell as your role models, not dipshit wanna-be anarchists like Doug French and Jeffrey Tucker.

...And grow a pair.
True Leveller; True Libertarian

Posted: Feb 26 2014, 5:27 AM

3897 Voir Dire pronounced "Vwahr" "deer"

Google "Surviving Voir Dire" by Clay Conrad. Read the book "Jury Nullification: The Evolution of a Doctrine" by Clay Conrad. Those are the two best sources of information possible for those who want to be informed jurors.

It's by far the smartest, best, optimal, most libertarian course of action to pretend to be a conformist during "jury questioning" AKA "voir dire." (Voir dire means "to see the truth" --it is the police state "seeing the truth" about the views of one of their subjects. The process of "voir dire" didn't exist before Northen judges --successfully-- attempted to find a means of enforcing the Fugitive Slave Law, in 1851. Once slavery was abolished, the practice of voir dire remained, because it allowed prosecutors to enforce laws that the general public disagrees with.)

So the appropriate thing to do is "dummy up" and answer the voir dire questions like everyone else does, and then get seated on the jury.

Put yourself in the shoes of the defendant, who has risked his entire life challenging the illegitimate police state, daring to plea "Not Guilty." By not taking a "plea bargain," this defendant is giving you the opportunity to directly defeat the police state's immoral laws. If enough people nullify the law, AS RECENTLY PROVEN IN COLORADO AND WASHINGTON, the law itself is either de-facto or de jure abolished.

That is the ultimate goal of libertarianism: to nullify and abolish all unjust laws.

So if you were risking your entire life by bravely entering a plea of "not guilty" would you want to have someone on the jury who voted "not guilty"? Would you want a hung jury?

Or would you want a unanimous "guilty" to come back from a gallery of sociopath-directed conformists, thus damning you to the hell of one of America's numerous for-profit prisons?

Think it through. If you conclude that "it doesn't matter" then you're guilty of the highest kind of "perjury" possible: lying to yourself.
True Leveller; True Libertarian

Posted: Feb 26 2014, 5:33 AM

3897 "What that means about the pool of jurors who remain, I don't really know."
--It means they are conformists, totally unaware of their right to nullify the law. Because you allowed the prosecution and judge to defeat the randomness of the jury, you allowed them to destroy the proper structure of a jury, and with it, an innocent life.

" I can't believe out of 100 people I was the only one to say I'd be less likely to trust the testimony of a police officer because of his occupation."
--Maybe the past existence of Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia's gulag, and the rising American police state with all of its for-profit prisons can get it into your thick skull that most people are conformists who don't question or disobey sociopath power-seekers who tend to seek the power-positions in government. Believe it. Act accordingly.

" Police lie constantly under oath and on the stand, get caught red handed, then face zero repercussions for committing perjury, yet apparently no one in this courtroom besides myself is aware of this."
--And your servile avoidance of jury service is entirely what allows them to get away with this. Congratulations! You have unwittingly served the very police state you allegedly disagree with.

"That's not a good sign."
--No, it's not. It's a sign that the libertarian movement is too stupid, uninformed, servile, and dim-witted to meaningfully resist the rising police state, and the militarization of America's police forces.

Posted: Feb 26 2014, 5:49 AM

3897 "Chris Posted: Jan 09 2012, 7:38 PM

"Well, I think my approach did have some "smug self interest," so that criticism I would say is fair (and I expected it, I thought about what I would do for weeks). I thought of taking the jury nullification type route, but I've heard many stories of it going wrong. I remember one story where the man who did it ended up being charged criminally himself."
--So rather than have the chance of nullification 'going wrong' (which rarely happens when the person is even slightly informed), you allowed the police state to stack the jury against an innocent defendant, which is exactly what the police state wants. You gave them exactly what they wanted, with zero resistance. You allowed the destruction of an innocent life, out of your narrow self-interest. I sincerely hope that you are on the other side of the gun sometime, praying for an informed juror to save your life. Maybe that will let you know how badly you screwed up, since reason and logic don't appear to have any effect on you.

"Frankly, I find people "not guilty" every day through this website, I find them not guilty in a court which really matters -- the court of public opinion."
--Really? The uninformed political comments on this website is 'what really matters'? It matters more than actually preventing the destruction of an innocent mind? You're a servile idiot, the likes of which serves the very worst goals of the police state.

"To be clear, I have absolutely no idea whether the man in question was guilty or not, I just said I'd assume it as he didn't take a plea,"
--And then you stupidly allowed him to be punished, even though you believed him to be innocent. Amazing! When the freedom movement has friends like these, tyrants don't face the slightest opposition.

"it's also possible he got bad legal advice or went against it and opted for a state appointed defender, I don't really know."
--Ah, so the most heroic, or the least deserving of punishment was handed to the police state on a silver platter, by way of your servile compliance in getting yourself removed from the one single institution of justice that is left in the USA.

Chris Posted: Jan 09 2012, 7:43 PM
"Also, if it was say, Adam Kokesh or someone on trial for "wiretapping," well... my decision would have been different."
--So, it really is your ability for self-aggrandizement that you care about. ...Not the consistent protection of innocent life that is necessary to living in a free society. If you had had a press release to parlay the situation into, then you'd have done the right thing, but otherwise, throw the innocent defendant into a rape-room, or cuff him with an ankle bracelet and take away all of his freedom, so you can exist in relative comfort for a few days of your life.

Wow! With friends like these, the freedom movement doesn't need enemies!

If only "too cool for school" hipsters like you could be bothered to get out of bed in the service of liberty, we'd already be living in a totally libertarian society.

Too bad that's not the case.
Libertarian Anarchist Doug Casey

Posted: Feb 26 2014, 6:04 AM

3897 on jury duty:

Posted: Jul 28 2014, 1:12 PM

209117 As proud as you are of yourself, you're really just an American with biases, same as the rest of us. As citizens we're asked to be jurors not with hopes that we'll come in without bias, but rather with the expectation that we will put our biases aside and consider the case on its merits. That's what the other jurors were prepared to do and you were not.

Posted: Aug 25 2014, 11:50 PM

58162 i find that this is NOT HELPFUL

Posted: Jan 05 2015, 11:49 PM

67183 I am ordered to go for the elimination on jury duty,,,, I personally dont believe in it, 1) I am "ordered" this right here just went against what our country is supposed to be about and they threaten you with fines and or jail time, 2) I was a criminal in their eyes just two years ago??? so how would I be on the list? 3) when you have been threatened, beat up, thrown in jail, and almost tried for something you did not do,,, then why would I ever want to step foot in the same system that screwed me over, So my question is- What if I walk in there pleading the fifth everytime they ask me a question? is that in contempt of court?

Posted: Jul 26 2015, 10:57 PM

65189 The 13th amendment 100% condemns the Nazi style jury duty in the USA. They claim is about slavery but the word NOR proves its not! All scum judges and lawyers, (ALL OF THEM are scum, they don't loose money for doing their 'duty' but become millionaires,). They say in the end your FREE TO GO? In other words you weren't free before that statement, isn't that ENSLAVEMENT?!
"Neither slavery NOR INVOLUNTARY SERVITUED, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction
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