Pubdate: Tue, 12 Jan 1999
Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX)
Copyright: 1999 Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas
Author: John Wallace


Your Friday article "A jury's duty" by Susan Gill Vardon contained several
comments by District Judge Bob McGrath that were too outrageous to go

Whether McGrath likes it or not, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in 1794
that jury nullification is a basic, constitutional right of the American
people. Chief Justice John Jay wrote: "The jury has the right to judge both
the law as well as the fact in controversy."

McGrath stated that the best way for the public to influence laws is by
initiative and referendum. This may be true, but unfortunately we Texans do
not have the rights of initiative and referendum, and the professional
politicians will fight very hard to make sure that we never get them.

He stated that "society has determined by majority vote [that marijuana]
should be regulated." I have lived in this society for 53 years, and I have
`never' had the opportunity to vote on the regulation of marijuana! The
judge also stated that juries have the power to hand out reduced sentences
or probation. This may be theoretically true in Texas, but it is certainly
not true in other states or in federal trials in which mandatory sentencing
laws are in effect.

The bottom line is that "government of the people, by the people, for the
people" is slowly but surely being replaced with "government of the serfs,
by the elite, for the special interests."

John Wallace San Antonio

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