Posted: February 9th, 2011 by Militant Libertarian
It would appear that a judge in Orlando, Florida, Belvin Perry, Jr. , likes his juries not to know that they have the option to nullify the law. He has put out an administrative order “GOVERNING EXPRESSIVE CONDUCT TOWARD SUMMONED JURORS”. The order may be read in its entirety here.
Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) activists have been tireless in their efforts to educate Florida juries of their power to nullify the law if they disagree with it or its application. Otherwise juries would be reduced to mere rubber stamps with the government able to convict anyone of anything they choose to make illegal. This is an established principle of law.
The judge is claiming that FIJA activists are trying “to influence summoned jurors as they enter the courthouse” by handing them brochures. (Actually, the brochures are handed out to all who enter or leave the courthouse.) The brochures don’t tell jurors how to vote on specific cases they merely inform them of one of their options. Sadly, the judge’s view is that “Such occurrences severely impact the court’s ability to conduct the efficient, prompt, and proper administration of justice…”. Therefore, stopping the FIJA activists’ exercise of free speech “…is necessary to serve the State’s compelling interest in protecting the integrity of the jury system…”. With this Orwellian statement judge Perry has given himself away. What could possibly be more conducive to “…protecting the integrity of the jury system…” than informing juries of one of their powers? Does the judge not want to see the jury system working as it should, as a check on tyrannical government? It would seem not, otherwise he would welcome the FIJA activists educational efforts at his court. Obviously, the judge likes his juries obedient and easily manipulated.
The national leadership is calling on all Florida FIJA activists to stop their outreach efforts until this repressive administrative order is set aside. (The full FIJA response to this outrage can be read here.) This is a sad time for liberty and one that activists of all political persuasions must take note of. There are many demonstrations at courthouses across the USA, especially anti war ones. If they can shut down the FIJA activists they can shut down all activists. We all need to stand together to restore free speech at the Florida courthouses before it is too late.