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L. Neil Smith's
Number 639, October 2, 2011

"9/11 was a private sector crime."

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On the Juror's creed
by Tor Chantara

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

Or perhaps more accurately on getting onto a jury to put it into action

I suppose most of you have at least heard tales of people getting rejected for knowing the rights of a jury member. This is a thought for those who would like to get onto said jury.

Here is the statement you might use: "I swear [by foo*] that I will judge according to the law regardless of [platitude]

Consider the particular case of "I swear to judge according to the law regardless of whether the law is right." Because by law a juror has the right to judge the law, under a strict logical interpretation of the wording, it doesn't matter what qualifier (well, I suppose one could probably invent one that would be a problem) is used, because the base is still valid.

In this particular case, even if one only considers "the law" to refer to the same section of law in both cases, it doesn't matter as long as the statement can refer to the right of a juror to judge the law. In effect it would become "I swear to observe my legal right to judge the law, even if such right is morally repugnant." Sounds like what they are trying to get you to do with a different law, so there should (note should) be no problem here.

There should equally be no problem with the statement "I swear to judge according to the law even if to do so would constitute unreasonable punishment." Again, to judge the law is to judge according to the law, so as long as you don't swear not to judge the law, you should be fine.

Now, while English may permit this quite happily, that doesn't mean that scoundrels might not take exception to your careful use of English. As long as you can get a jury trial (by no means certain, I realize,) when asked, you can say, "The law I was referring to was the law guaranteeing the right of a juror to judge the law," (FIJA may have suggestions to help word this better; I haven't looked at their material in a while.) In theory, this should get around the restrictions on a defendant notifying a jury of their rights, because it is the correct answer to a question that must (or should I say should) be asked of you.

Of course, while I'm sure those who can properly consider themselves a part of what TLE is about need no such notice, (though the first part is probably polite,) I should probably note that I am not a lawyer, I have not been on a jury or tried to get on one, and take no responsibility for what may come of use of these suggestions. That is up to you.


* For those unfamiliar with this metasyntactic variable, see

Tor Chantara's website is

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