Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Open carry activist promotes jury nullification

Jury Nullification: A sanctioned doctrine of trial proceedings wherein members of a jury disregard either the evidence presented or the instructions of the judge in order to reach a verdict based upon their own consciences. It espouses the concept that jurors should be the judges of both law and fact.

Mesquite, TX – David Gerber sees himself doing something to change the course of history.

He is taking up a collection to educate the venire from which the County Court at Law jury of six registered voters will be chosen in the re-trial of C.J. Grisham following his October mistrial over a misdemeanor case in which he is charged with carrying a loaded firearm on a rural road.

Temple, Texas city police arrested him and confiscated his weapons, an AR-15 assault rifle and a semiautomatic .45 caliber Kimber concealment model handgun, for which he holds a concealed carry handgun license.

M/Sgt. Grisham is accused of violating a statute that prohibits interfering with a public official carrying out his appointed duties. A Class B misdemeanor filed in Bell County Court at Law, heard by a visiting jurist from Harris County, upon conviction, it carries the maximum penalty of a $2,000 fine and six months in the County jail.

Police originally charged him with resisting arrest, then with a violation of the disorderly conduct statute by “rudely carrying” a firearm “in a manner calculated to cause alarm.”

Prosecutors have stated they intend to re-try the case in a change of venue at an undisclosed location outside of Bell County.

Mr. Gerber's mission is to send printed material to the registered voters named in the venire who are designated for jury selection in the case, which is tentatively scheduled for December 16 in an undisclosed location.

His goal is to raise $1,200 for printing and postage, and to obtain the mailing list from the Bell County Clerk's office.

The material will state that “Every single day in America, people are convicted of "crimes" simply because the members of the jury were not made aware that they had the RIGHT to disregard the instructions of the Judge and/or the law itself if they feel that either is in conflict with morality or the Constitution of The United States of America.”

Jury nullification is a concept used with great effect in western states such as Montana and Idaho when prosecutors bring charges for marijuana or gun violations. The goal is to make it impossible to select a jury from a venire of prospective panelists who refuse to acknowledge during voir dire examination that they will be able to render a verdict based solely on the judge's instructions, and upon the facts as presented through witness testimony and the introduction of evidence during the trial.

Those who indicate during questioning by prosecuting attorneys that they will not be able to render a verdict based solely on the facts are dismissed for cause, for which there is an unlimited number of challenges.

In many cases, the prosecution gives up pursuit of their cases when it becomes obvious there is no way they can easily select a jury panel.

To contact Mr. Gerber with a donation, one need only visit his website at Jury Education and Awareness Campaign:

Nullification is a concept introduced by Messrs. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson during the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, particularly in the western states of Kentucky and Ohio. They were able to convince state legislators who feared a central government that could become too strong that the extraordinary powers vested in the federal government could be curbed through three forms of nullification.

  1. Legislative action
  2. Judge-made case law
  3. Jury nullification

To further their interests, they had the Constitutional Convention insert the Tenth Amendment, which reserves all powers not granted to the federal government by the U.S. Constitution to the states.

Many experts, including Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, author of the Texas Concealed Handgun statute, consider city and county ordinances drafted to outlaw carrying firearms openly to be unconstitutional; they have called for action and more action to nullify these laws.

He is a GOP candidate for Lieutenant Governor, and as Land Commissioner granted permission for Open Carry activists to rally at the Alamo in support of gun rights on October 19.

Gun confiscation by Mexican authorities was a major cassus belli in the Texas Revolution, he noted in public remarks he made on that day.

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