Pubdate: Wed, 30 Apr 2003
Source: Boston Weekly Dig (MA)
Copyright: 2003 Boston Weekly Dig
Author: Steven Epstein


I found the story on Ed Rosenthal informative, but with respect to the 
concept of jury nullification, it presents the "progressive liberal" view 
that jurors will not do the "right thing" if they are not ordered by the 
judge to follow the law ("The Curious Case of Ed Rosenthal," #5.17, 
4/23/03). The excuse today for not letting jurors know of their power to 
follow their consciences and judge the law as well as the facts is that 
they may act on their racial biases. However, the first efforts to curtail 
the jurors power were in direct response to the repeated failure of juries 
to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act!

In Massachusetts the jurors' oath, made at the beginning of a criminal 
trial, is: "I shall well and truly try the issue between the commonwealth 
and the defendant, according to my evidence; so help me God." Each juror is 
to determine what weight to give the testimony and documents introduced at 
the trial; having done this, it is the juror's evidence.

The judge also instructs them on the law. The instruction on proof beyond a 
reasonable doubt informs jurors that, "It is that state of the case, which 
after the entire comparison and consideration of all the evidence, leaves 
the minds of the jurors in that condition that they cannot say they feel an 
abiding conviction, to a moral certainty, of the truth of the charge."

If you believe as I do that Ed Rosenthal's conviction is morally wrong, the 
blame does not lie with Judge Breyer for doing his job in a federal trial. 
It lies with an education system that fails to teach the principles of the 
constitution, and those of justice, moderation and frugality necessary to 
preserve the advantages of liberty, and to maintain a free government.

Steven S. Epstein, Esq.

Georgetown, MA
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