|Must Judges' Instructions Be Obeyed?
By Dr. Don Boys
© 1997 Cornerstone Communications
A Judge usually tells a jury that they can decide the facts in a case but he will decide the law. That is not correct. Juries have the final decision as to fact AND law. They are more powerful than the governor or president since those officials can only pardon after a guilty verdict. A jury can affirm that there is no guilt! Of course, that strikes at the heart of a judge's authority, and most of them resent it, ridicule it, and will resist it whenever possible.
We have seen a recent spat of cases where admittedly guilty people have been declared "not guilty" by a sympathetic jury. The most outrageous case is the Menendez "boys" in California who blew their parents away with shotguns while they were eating ice cream. It is very possible that the parents (who can't defend themselves) were sexually abusing them, but all the "boys" had to do was drive away to safety in their expensive sports cars. But then, that would be leaving behind millions of dollars. Even though the brothers admitted they did the crime, two juries refused to find them guilty. That is jury nullification where a jury, in essence, strikes down an offensive law. (In this case, a bad use of an honorable principle.)
Another notorious case involves the Bobbits of Virginia. She mutilated her husband while he slept because he "raped" her. She complained that he was always sexually satisfied while she was never satisfied. Well, her mutilation of him sure didn't help that problem. Now neither of them is satisfied. She did the crime (and if anything is a crime, that is), yet a sympathetic jury found her not guilty. Although she did it, the jury said she did not, or she was insane at the time.
Washington, D.C. Mayor, Marion Barry was caught on videotape using crack cocaine, yet a jury found him innocent of that charge and guilty of a much lesser offense that required only a few months in jail for "his honor." The all-black jury, knowing he was guilty, decided he was not! That is jury nullification prompted by racism-in my opinion.
We saw the same thing with the case of the black punks who almost killed Reginald Denny (because he is white). A cowardly jury knew the vermin (vermin are vermin whatever their color) were guilty since they were caught on videotape yet the jury slapped their wrists. Another bad example of jury nullification.
Okay so there are some bad examples of jury nullification where the jury sets aside the law and in essence, strikes it down for the moment. There are also some good aspects of that procedure.
If I were serving on the jury of a man who spanked his child (in a state where that is a crime) I would vote for his acquittal. Of course, if it involved a man who had tortured and harmed a child I would vote to put him away for twenty years or more. Non-thinkers can't tell the difference. A parent has an obligation to spank a child from time to time, no matter what the law says. There is a higher law. (Gasp!) Informed citizens will not find a man guilty for responsible discipline of a child.
If I were on a jury where a man is being tried for having a gun in his car or briefcase, I would vote "not guilty" unless he was a psychopath, criminal or former felon. It is real simple: The good guys have a right to defend themselves against the bad guys. The cops can't be everywhere, and in fact, we now have no legal right to expect their help! If I were a legislator again, I would introduce a law requiring every homeowner to own a gun! That is the law in Kennesaw, GA and the crime rate dropped when that became law. No law-abiding citizen should be penalized for having a gun. He should be praised!
I think the day will come within ten years when almost everyone will carry a gun as in the wild West. Some of my readers are horrified at the thought, but let me remind them that the bad guys already have guns. Good guys with guns will only add to our safety.
There are numerous other possibilities where I would disregard a judge's orders and decide on the law: I would find people innocent who were, in fact, guilty of preaching on the streets (after all, we own the streets), handing out gospel literature contrary to city ordinances, protesting at an abortion clinic, sincerely motivated tax protesters, etc.
What will happen when pastors and church leaders are tried for not hiring a homosexual, firing an adulterer from a church position, disciplining a church member who refuses to confess sin and stop disgracing the church? People with character will disregard the judge's orders and vote "not guilty" even though the accused are "guilty."
Jury nullification is the very last blow the average citizen can strike at tyranny. Radicals have thrown down the gauntlet at the feet of Christians; the cultural war is raging. We will fight them in newspaper columns, on radio and TV talk shows, in university debates, in the courts and fill the streets with protesters if necessary. And we will be Christians during the battles without being passive, weak, anemic, sickly and despicable people. When people of principle must defend themselves, jury members will disregard the pious, pompous, perverted orders of the judge and vote NOT GUILTY for people who are obviously "guilty."
Copyright 1997, Dr. Don Boys