A few reasons not to serve on juries

A few reasons not to serve on juries

Woodworth, Fred

1. Juries provide a cover of legitimacy for governments’ injustices. Juries are selected and managed so that most of their members, most of the time, are fanatical believers in authoritarianism-that is, they are in unshakable agreement with the carefully fostered obsession for control and punishment. Thus their decisions are greatly biased, but in such a way that this is not obvious to most observers. Therefore the decisions may subsequently be pronounced as fair by other socially prestigious (and likewise biased or conniving) “authorities.”

2. In serving on a jury you enter into a situation where you are outnumbered by persons who are, at least in part, functionally insane. They grant enormous credibility to members of the State apparatus and to witnesses who demonstrably believe in, angels, devils, “god”, “worship”, and, often, a vague, alleged divine basis for the power and authority of the court (and consequently its officers, and primarily the judge and the prosecuting attorneys). It is far more likely that, in the emotionalism and unfamiliarity of the situation, you will be temporarily swept into reversion to their value system, than that they will be converted to yours.

(A reasoned philosophy of freedom is usually reached only after considerable discarding of pernicious family-, church-, and school-instilled mistrust and hatred of the rights of the individual person. It is extremely hard to eradicate every trace of such pervasive brainwashing.)

3. If you are accepted onto a jury at all, the chances are overwhelmingly in favor of its being for a case that presents no opportunity for the credible use of any libertarian principles. The trial may be concerned with murder, theft, vandalism, arson, rape, or some other actual crime, and it will be very difficult for you to argue for a verdict of Not Guilty if, in fact, you do believe the prosecution’s evidence-in which case you will suddenly be in the position of collaborating with statists. Then it may well turn out, later, that the minutely-selected and judicially-approved evidence you were allowed to hear only told part of the story.

On the other hand, if you go into the process with a private resolve to acquit no matter what evidence is presented, then you will probably be unable to convince any of the other deliberators, and the sole result will be a hung jury which is of no help to the defendant, who will only have to defend himself before another court later.

4. You can be prosecuted for refusing to convict. In a case where you are the lone holdout, not only will a mistrial be declared, but intensive probing may be done into your motives. If it turns out that, at the outset, you failed to disclose any affiliation, writing, public expression or activism on behalf of opinions or principles which might have predisposed you to refuse to believe police or prosecutors, or to regard the statutes as being unjust, you can be held and prosecuted for perjury.*

5. Responding to a jury summons means submitting to being held in State custody for a period of time. Once inside the courthouse, you are not allowed to leave without permission from some unelected bureaucratic “authority”; thus you have given up, hopefully temporarily, but in any case for a period unknown to you and which is totally out of your control, your personal autonomy and freedom of movement.

During this time you may be asked to fill out extremely extensive and privacy-obliterating questionnaires under penalty of perjury if the information is incorrect, and under penalty of jailing for “contempt of court” if you refuse. You, the potential juror, the allegedly vital component in this exercise of Democracy, then discover that you are, in fact, a pawn in a very undemocratic game where your own rights have largely evaporated and you will be commanded and intimidated by a lot of snotty, ignorant minor thugs, and browbeaten into genuflecting before judicial bullies.

6. Pronouncing on the guilt or innocence of another in such a statist proceeding means that you have given assent to the propriety of such a proceeding, and someone ELSE, making similar pronouncements as to your own guilt, if at any time the judicial system fixates on you. Statists often lyingly claim that you have implicitly signed a “social contract”; participating in their rigged authoritarian ceremonies allows them to point to your complicity as proof of the rightness of their rule over yet another contented citizen.

7. All of the language of the process reveals the philosophy beneath: Jury “duty”, “serving”. This is the mindset of the draft board and the army general, not anything in your own interest.

You won’t get into any of these situations if you don’t get a summons from the statists, and you won’t get a summons if you don’t register to vote. And you won’t register to vote if you decide to quit sanctioning abuse, theft, war and control by governments who, without you, would stand revealed as autocratic tyrants.

* Following a trial in May of 1996 in which she was a juror, Laura Kriho refused to convict a person charged with possession of “paraphernalia” and diet pills. The infuriated judge, who managed to discover that she had previously expressed some opposition to the Drug War, had Laura arrested and charged with contempt of court, perjury, and obstruction of justice. The perjury charge came despite the fact that she had never even been asked about her views on this subject-the judge bellowed that she was expected to volunteer them.

Immense wrangling in Colorado courts ensued, costing this woman thousands of dollars. If a jury trial were to be held on such charges, wouldn’t such a jury recognize in a single minute what might be in store for IT, if it voted to acquit? Clearly such a dilemma revealed the fundamental tyranny of this prosecution, but, making an end-run around their beloved Constitution, as usual, the Authorities decided that you’re not entitled to a jury trial unless the sentence is more than six months in prison. The prosecutor then conveniently stipulated that he intended to ask for only exactly six months in prison, so the State could deny the defendant a trial by jury and thus avoid the appearance of biasing jurors through intimidation.

Though why a JUDGE wouldn’t then appear to be even more partisan and biased is anybody’s guess.

The only thing left to surprise this writer is why it is that I too am not charged with contempt of court for writing these lines, because I truly do have nothing but contempt for it and “its laws, its force-propped authority.”

[Reprinted by permission of Fred Woodworth dated November 2, 2000. This article originally appeared in THE MATCH!, Number 94, Summer 1999, pp. 57– 58. Box 3012, Tuscon, AZ 85702.]

Copyright Voluntaryists 1st Quarter 2002

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