KUDOS TO SHERIFF FINCH AND THE PEOPLE OF LIBERTY COUNTY, FLORIDA
By Chuck Baldwin
November 7, 2013
I realize it is hard for some people to understand (especially those holding political office), but in the United States, “We the People” are the sovereigns. America has no king. In America, “We the People” are Caesar. Someone rightly said, “In America, the people rule; they have the power of the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.” Amen. And in this land of liberty, nothing is more important than the jury box. The right to a speedy trial by a jury of one’s peers is a benchmark principle of a free land.
Juries have immeasurable power. Not only do they have power over the fate of the accused, they have power over the accusers. No one has more authority than a jury–not even the judge. And without hyperbole I can say that a constitutionally literate, fully informed jury is pretty much all that stands between the ballot box and the cartridge box.
In a letter to Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I consider [trial by jury] as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.” And two years before the first musket shot was fired that started America’s War for Independence, a Boston lawyer by the name of John Adams said, “Representative government and trial by jury are the heart and lungs of liberty. Without them we have no other fortification against being ridden like horses, fleeced like sheep, worked like cattle, and fed and clothed like swine and hounds.”
All of the rhetoric of modern judges notwithstanding, juries have a constitutional duty and obligation to judge, not only the merits of the case before them, but also the merits of the law which brought the accused before them. And America’s Founding Fathers agree with what I just said.
John Adams said, “It is not only his [the juror’s] right, but his duty…to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.” Again, this is from one of our country’s most celebrated attorneys, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and America’s second President. America’s first Supreme Court Chief Justice agreed with Adams. John Jay wrote, “The jury has the right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy.”