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Thread: Unlicensed Gun Carrier Aquitted in Washington, DC

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    A jury in DC decides to aquit an amputee serviceman who carried a gun with him in his wheelchair. This is a case discussed on this forum previously. This commentary from a Letter-to-the-Editor:

    The Jan. 14 Metro article "Marine Amputee Acquitted on Gun Possession Charges" painted a picture of a defendant who, rejecting the advice of his court-appointed lawyer to plead guilty, fought for himself at trial and was acquitted of felony gun possession charges. The lesson appeared to be: "Don't listen to your public defender; he will just try to sell you out."

    The real story -- and what the article completely missed -- is that Cpl. Melroy H. Cort apparently admitted...that he was guilty of carrying an unlicensed gun in the District but the jury nevertheless acquitted him. The jurors engaged in what is commonly known as "jury nullification" -- acquitting a defendant despite a clear violation of the law...

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...012401613.html


    ETA: I just realized this is from early 2009! How did I miss this at the time?
    Three cheers for the jury!!
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Regular Member Alexcabbie's Avatar
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    Actually the Marine thought in good faith that he was following instructions from a competent authority about what to do with the weapon (turn it in to the armorer at Walter Reed for safekeeping) but was caught with the weapon befor he got on base. I kinda remember the original story and may be fuzzy about it, but the jury was more likely taking into account the absence of intent to violate the law and probably some sort of mistake of fact (which is a defense) as opposed to mistake of law (which is not, but given the hideous complexity these days of even the most banal laws - especially in Washington, D.C. maybe should be in some cases).

    However, if this indeed was a case of a jury unanimously saying: Wha...? Why this... What the... Are you stupid? NOT GUILTY!" then GOOD.

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    Campaign Veteran since9's Avatar
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    Citizen wrote:
    ETA: I just realized this is from early 2009! How did I miss this at the time?
    Three cheers for the jury!!
    I'm sure the judge was disgusted with the verdict, but I, too, say "Three cheers for the jury!"
    The First protects the Second, and the Second protects the First. Together, they protect the rest of our Bill of Rights and our United States Constitution, and help We the People protect ourselves in the spirit of our Declaration of Independence.

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    Regular Member simmonsjoe's Avatar
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    since9 wrote:
    Citizen wrote:
    ETA: I just realized this is from early 2009! How did I miss this at the time?
    Three cheers for the jury!!
    I'm sure the judge was disgusted with the verdict, but I, too, say "Three cheers for the jury!"
    cite please. You don't know who the judge was or what their personal feelings about the case were.
    illegal ≠ immoral legal ≠ moral
    [SIZE=1]"I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. "Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent." - Thomas Jefferson
    G19 Gen 4; Bersa Thunder 380; Sig Sauer P238; Kel-Tec su-16c

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    simmonsjoe wrote:
    since9 wrote:
    Citizen wrote:
    ETA: I just realized this is from early 2009! How did I miss this at the time?
    Three cheers for the jury!!
    I'm sure the judge was disgusted with the verdict, but I, too, say "Three cheers for the jury!"
    cite please. You don't know who the judge was or what their personal feelings about the case were.
    Well, considering the statements that the Chief of Police has made to the media; considering the well-publicized actions of the undercover officer who drew his gun because his vehicle was hit by a snowball; and considering the statements made by various members of the D.C. City Council--I think it's a pretty safe bet that the judge was also anti-gun.

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    Flyer22 wrote:
    simmonsjoe wrote:
    since9 wrote:
    Citizen wrote:
    ETA: I just realized this is from early 2009! How did I miss this at the time?
    Three cheers for the jury!!
    I'm sure the judge was disgusted with the verdict, but I, too, say "Three cheers for the jury!"
    cite please. You don't know who the judge was or what their personal feelings about the case were.
    Well, considering the statements that the Chief of Police has made to the media; considering the well-publicized actions of the undercover officer who drew his gun because his vehicle was hit by a snowball; and considering the statements made by various members of the D.C. City Council--I think it's a pretty safe bet that the judge was also anti-gun.
    The judiciary hasa history of being opposed to jury nullification. Going back to the 1950's or so. All this according to the FullyInformed Jury Amendment (FIJA) website.

    Not that it particulary supports Since's comment. However, I would be pleasantly surprised if the judge supported nullification.

    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    During Colonial times (before the Revolution), the British -- actually, everyone pretty much was "British" so I guess I should say "the Crown" -- was not happy with Jury Nullification, either,since many colonist defendantscharged with assortedcrimes against said Crown (violating English laws of that era)such as smuggling (usually a violation of English maritime law), were found "not guilty" by anti-Crown "patriots" serving on the jury. SoJury Nullificationgoes back at least that far in America's history.

    As for how far (and if) it goes back in England's legal history (upon which our law was based), I don't know.

    -- John D.
    (formerly of Colorado Springs, CO)

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    cloudcroft wrote:
    During Colonial times (before the Revolution), the British -- actually, everyone pretty much was "Bristish" so I guess I should say "the Crown" -- was not happy with Jury Nullification, either,since many colonist defendantscharged with assortedcrimes against said Crown (violating English laws of that era)such as smuggling (usually a violation of English maritime law), were found "not guilty" by anti-Crown "patriots" serving on the jury. SoJury Nullificationgoes back at least that far in America's history.

    As for how far (and if) it goes back in England's legal history (upon which our law was based), I don't know.

    -- John D.
    It goes at least as far back as William Penn's trial in (1670?).

    Essentially, Penn was tried for preaching Quakerism in an Anglican nation (England). The jury refused to convict.

    The transcript is available on-line. It is very interesting reading.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    A bit off-topic, but here is another example of the government interfering with the ancient powers of the jury.

    WARNING: This involvesa hot-button topic. I am in no way supporting or opposing the hot-button topic or any underlying issue. So, do not bother to take issue with what you think I might be saying about the hot-button topic. I am literally only forwarding an example of government interference with a jury. Also, do not go off onto the topic of the hot-button issue.



    Y'all know there is a fella on trial for shooting an abortion doctor. He is charged with 1st or 2nd degree murder. He issaying he did it in defense of others. Today on the radio, it was reported that the judge will rule on whether the jury will be allowed to consider voluntary manslaughter.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Regular Member Alexcabbie's Avatar
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    No matter what anyone says, no matter what the popular opinion is; the Jury is in all cases the judge of LAW as welll of FACT. This is in fact the whole point of trial by jury. Under this system, a prosecutor can be very justifiably faced with "What jury would convict....."

    The jury system - and the requirement that a trial take place in the district in which the offense is alledged to have taken place - has as its very centerpiece the possibility that a jury might decide that the law does not apply in the case presented.. For an example: (this is illustrative fiction)

    Suzy Schmoe and her brother Joe are visiting their uncle Moe. There is a creek behind uncle Moe's house that is home to the endangered Suzyeater beastie. Suzy is attacked by the beastie, and Joe kills it to save his sister. Joe is ARRESTED for killing a protected species.

    The case comes to trial, and the jury decides that although killing a protected species is unlawful; and that Joe did indeed kill the Suzyeater; and that he is technicalliy guilty of killing an endangered species; he did in fact save precious innocnt human life; and thus is guilty of NOTHING.

    There are objections to "jury nullification": but if this was not the intent of the Framers, then why would they have deliberately inckuded it??

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    Regular Member Alexcabbie's Avatar
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    Why do the heathen rage? And why do the keyboards double-click? I dunno, and I am no heathen, and I wish I could eliminate these double posts. BUt stuff happens. Sorry.

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    Alexcabbie wrote:
    SNIP why do the keyboards double-click?...I wish I could eliminate these double posts. BUt stuff happens. Sorry.
    Oh, I dunno that its all that bad.

    I just turn my monitorover on its sideto read your posts. Then I have one for each eye. :P
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Alexcabbie wrote:
    SNIP There are objections to "jury nullification": but if this was not the intent of the Framers, then why would they have deliberately inckuded it??
    Where did they deliberately include it? I can't believe I missed that part.

    Actually, jury nullification goes back at least to Magna Carta* according to Lysander Spooner. I've read at least one mention that it goes back to 8th century Germany, although I never followed up to read the cited material.



    *For more than six hundred years --- that is, since Magna Carta, in 1215 --- there has been no clearer principle of English or American constitutional law, than that, in criminal cases, it is not only the right and duty of juries to judge what are the facts, what is the law, and what was the moral intent of the accused; but that it is also their right, and their primary and paramount duty, to judge of the justice of the law, and to hold all laws invalid, that are, in their opinion, unjust or oppressive, and all persons guiltless in violating, or resisting the execution of, such laws.

    http://lysanderspooner.org/node/35

    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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