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(Bozeman Daily Chronicle)   Movement afoot to convene "common law grand juries" made up of citizens with little or no basis in law or competent governance. What could possibly go right?   (bozemandailychronicle.com) divider line 110
    More: Stupid, grand jury, common law grand juries, cost basis, establishments, lynch mobs  
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4100 clicks; posted to Main » on 09 Jan 2014 at 1:32 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-01-09 02:00:46 PM  
I don't necessarily support these crackpots, but I've pretty much lost all faith in the government as well, and its argument seems to be simply that "you can't make your own laws to prosecute the government; it says so right here in this law passed by the government!"  It smacks a lot of, "God exists because this book that God inspired to be created says that God exists."
 
2014-01-09 02:03:45 PM  

Millennium: I thought grand juries only decided whether or not there was sufficient evidence and cause to prosecute a case. If TFA is any indication, that's the context in which this idea is being presented. I'm not sure I see a problem with that.


They have no authority. We already have grand juries. These are just stupid people calling other people names, basically.
 
2014-01-09 02:04:43 PM  
I think it's time Canada started thinking about a border fence. We can leave moats and minefields for later consideration.
 
2014-01-09 02:06:41 PM  

StrangeQ: I don't necessarily support these crackpots, but I've pretty much lost all faith in the government as well, and its argument seems to be simply that "you can't make your own laws to prosecute the government; it says so right here in this law passed by the government!"  It smacks a lot of, "God exists because this book that God inspired to be created says that God exists."


i3.kym-cdn.com
/hot
 
2014-01-09 02:09:54 PM  
We should really leave these matters to the Q Continuum.
 
2014-01-09 02:13:25 PM  
Must be one of Sarah Palin's relatives.  (She's is originally from the area and her maiden name was Heath)
 
2014-01-09 02:15:01 PM  

susler: Bad reporting.  The first 2 paragraphs use the words citizens and groups.  But the last paragraph in the TFA included  So far, Heath said she is the only person involved in the Gallatin County effort.

Can it really be called a movement when there's only 1 person involved?


///Only when it involves that person's bowels
 
2014-01-09 02:15:27 PM  
the panel would consist of 24 people who would present findings unsubstantiated accusations to prosecutors

"Findings" implies that evidence would be collected. The problem is, 24 idiots calling themselves a grand jury don't have any power to compel someone to appear and testify. Nor do they have any enforcement mechanism to punish someone who ignores their request to appear (other than the aforementioned lynch mob).

So basically these folks would be going to prosecutors with complaints based on what they think happened, and then leaving it up to the prosecutor to actually investigate the accusation and establish whether a crime has been committed. You know... what a prosecutor does now when someone reports that a crime may have been committed. Except they also think that a prosecutor would be required to agree with their claims or face arrest.

Alternatively, the "grand jury" would just declare that a crime had been committed and go dish out punishment on their own (back to that lynch mob thing again...).

Now, if they want to form a "community court" where people agree to be held responsible to a certain set of rules and then resolve disputes on their own, have at it. But if they think they can go around enforcing State or Federal law, they are delusional.
 
2014-01-09 02:16:17 PM  
Please proceed, RWNJs.
 
2014-01-09 02:17:14 PM  

cameroncrazy1984: BizarreMan: Well, the big dogs might actually face charges because the common law grand jury might not care how much influence that person has.

Face charges? Are you kidding? Common law is not an actual thing.


Um, yes, yes it is very much a thing, however I don't believe it applys in the US.
 
2014-01-09 02:18:01 PM  
Also, it's tough to fit pitchforks and torches into a jury box.
 
2014-01-09 02:19:45 PM  

Millennium: I thought grand juries only decided whether or not there was sufficient evidence and cause to prosecute a case. If TFA is any indication, that's the context in which this idea is being presented. I'm not sure I see a problem with that.


Grand juries have the power to force someone to come in and present testimony. They can also issue subpoenas for things like bank records and private documents. Do you want any random person to have the power to get your bank records just because they unilaterally decide you probably committed a crime?
 
2014-01-09 02:25:39 PM  

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: It's not a movement unless it involves a #2.


Nope, that involves three or more people, singing in harmony.
 
2014-01-09 02:27:00 PM  

Calmamity: susler: Can it really be called a movement when there's only 1 person involved?

They'll think shes crazy and they won't take her.

Now if you get TWO people...


Oh... whoops.
 
2014-01-09 02:30:16 PM  
susler:

Can it really be called a movement when there's only 1 person involved?

According to the precedent established by the "Alice's Restaurant Massacree" (Reprise Records, 1967)
It takes 3 people to be an Organization and at least 50 to be considered a movement.

/hows that for precedent
 
2014-01-09 02:32:47 PM  
Because "regular" juries are so intelligent, right?
 
2014-01-09 02:41:10 PM  
I really should have read the next few comment.............
 
2014-01-09 02:43:04 PM  
This won't go anywhere.

I convened a grand jury of my neighbors and we issued a lien on her house.

Also, we sent her a bill for eleventy billion dollars.

/embarrassed Montanan
 
2014-01-09 02:48:20 PM  

The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves: We should really leave these matters to the Q Continuum.


If we're lucky, Q would snap half of humanity out of existence due solely to their inescapable stupidity, then feed half of what's left to the Calamarain
 
2014-01-09 02:55:14 PM  
Well, you might not get put on the sex offenders list for pissing in a parking deck if you had something like this.

Then again if Pastor Smith's youngest daughter saw you, you might get put in prison instead.

/this sounds dumb
//much rather have jury nullification become a regular thing
 
2014-01-09 02:59:19 PM  

Oztemprom: I really should have read the next few comment.............


You and me both, brother.
 
2014-01-09 02:59:53 PM  
Wow, you people are idiots.

The so-called "Common Law Grand Juries" already exist in many states and the federal government. They are used to prevent prosecutors from misusing their power by dragging people into court without a good reason. These groups just want to extend that power to also include the ability to force prosecutors to stop ignoring cases such as rape, which is a huge problem in some states.

They are not going to be able to start inventing laws or sentencing criminals. They won't even be able to declare someone guilty. At best they can say is someone is possibly guilty and needs a real trial.

So please, tone down the derp a few notches.
 
2014-01-09 03:01:20 PM  
The naive idiot does have a valid point, though.  In most other states, the Grand Jury system acts as a protection against D.A. misconduct on prosecutions.  Having only the DA make the decision on a case leads to abuse.
 
2014-01-09 03:06:34 PM  

Grauenwolf: Wow, you people are idiots.


Welcome to the place where you are.
 
2014-01-09 03:09:01 PM  

Tricky Chicken: Isn't this really just a mob?


Meh.  You say 'Lynch Mob', I say 'Common Law Grand Jury'.  Tomato, Tom-ah-toe.
 
2014-01-09 03:09:18 PM  

Another Government Employee: Having only the DA make the decision on a case leads to abuse.


Agreed. The grand jury is basically just a blunt instrument to be used by the DA to get whatever size stack of charges he/she wants.
 
2014-01-09 03:11:54 PM  

Grauenwolf: Wow, you people are idiots.

The so-called "Common Law Grand Juries" already exist in many states and the federal government. They are used to prevent prosecutors from misusing their power by dragging people into court without a good reason. These groups just want to extend that power to also include the ability to force prosecutors to stop ignoring cases such as rape, which is a huge problem in some states.

They are not going to be able to start inventing laws or sentencing criminals. They won't even be able to declare someone guilty. At best they can say is someone is possibly guilty and needs a real trial.

So please, tone down the derp a few notches.


Prove it.
 
2014-01-09 03:14:51 PM  

chunderboy: This won't go anywhere.

I convened a grand jury of my neighbors and we issued a lien on her house.

Also, we sent her a bill for eleventy billion dollars.

/embarrassed Montanan


So, an HOA Grand Jury, then?
 
2014-01-09 03:15:21 PM  

Grauenwolf: The so-called "Common Law Grand Juries" already exist in many states and the federal government. They are used to prevent prosecutors from misusing their power by dragging people into court without a good reason.


BTW, those are grand juries, which are convened by the prosecutors and sanctioned by the courts. Those are statutorily allowed.

What "common law grand juries" are are extralegal entities that derives no legal powers from the law or from a court. The whole idea is that it's a panel of citizens who give themselves the power to investigate and recommend prosecution to prosecutors. This is not a grand jury.
 
2014-01-09 03:17:52 PM  

Nabb1: Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: susler: Bad reporting.  The first 2 paragraphs use the words citizens and groups.  But the last paragraph in the TFA included  So far, Heath said she is the only person involved in the Gallatin County effort.

Can it really be called a movement when there's only 1 person involved?

It's not a movement unless it involves a #2.

POOP THREAD!


The Dishonorably Discharged Judge Orton presiding?
 
2014-01-09 03:25:47 PM  

Calmamity: Sharia


Yup!
 
2014-01-09 03:26:24 PM  
Today I am forming The People's Common Law Grand Jury to investigate and recommend charges against individuals involved in common law grand juries.
 
2014-01-09 03:28:14 PM  
If the RINO liberals in Congress won't impeach the felon in the White House, I guess somebody has to step up.

/ You know that's what this is about
 
2014-01-09 03:29:11 PM  

mdeesnuts: much rather have jury nullification become a regular thing


Mentioning Jury Nullification is a good way to make sure you are never picked to sit on Jury Duty
 
2014-01-09 03:29:16 PM  

Mike_1962: cameroncrazy1984: BizarreMan: Well, the big dogs might actually face charges because the common law grand jury might not care how much influence that person has.

Face charges? Are you kidding? Common law is not an actual thing.

Um, yes, yes it is very much a thing, however I don't believe it applys in the US.


From Wikipedia, which matches lectures I have heard on constitutional law (at the undergraduate level, I'm far from an expert):

The actual substance of English law was formally "received" into the United States in several ways. First, all U.S. states except Louisiana have enacted "reception statutes" which generally state that the common law of England (particularly judge-made law) is the law of the state to the extent that it is not repugnant to domestic law or indigenous conditions.[26] Some reception statutes impose a specific cutoff date for reception, such as the date of a colony's founding, while others are deliberately vague.[27] Thus, contemporary U.S. courts often cite pre-Revolution cases when discussing the evolution of an ancient judge-made common law principle into its modern form,[27] such as the heightened duty of care traditionally imposed upon common carriers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_the_United_States#American_commo n_ law
 
2014-01-09 03:31:14 PM  

mdeesnuts: //much rather have jury nullification become a regular thing


Jury Nullification is interesting that it can only acquit, never convict. In that sense, it can never undermine liberty.

However, it can deny justice. It was often used to that effect in the US South, to acquit whites of crimes against blacks, even for murder.
 
2014-01-09 03:46:04 PM  

Calmamity: susler: Can it really be called a movement when there's only 1 person involved?

They'll think shes crazy and they won't take her.

Now if you get TWO people...



Did they bring a flag?
 
2014-01-09 03:48:41 PM  

LemSkroob: mdeesnuts: much rather have jury nullification become a regular thing

Mentioning Jury Nullification is a good way to make sure you are never picked to sit on Jury Duty


That's why I never would mention it. :)

Enigmamf: mdeesnuts: //much rather have jury nullification become a regular thing

Jury Nullification is interesting that it can only acquit, never convict. In that sense, it can never undermine liberty.

However, it can deny justice. It was often used to that effect in the US South, to acquit whites of crimes against blacks, even for murder.


While it can deny justice, I am more concerned with overzealous prosecutors and the 10,000+ pages of laws we currently operate under. Even if all our federal, state, and local lawmakers were the best damn statesmen this side of Founding Fathers (ha!), they're still gonna fark up in 10k pages.

And thousands upon thousands of laws just gives the State that much more ammunition to add you to our 1st place American prisons.

/USA #1!
//in incarceration rates
 
2014-01-09 04:04:21 PM  

Enigmamf: Jury Nullification is interesting that it can only acquit, never convict. In that sense, it can never undermine liberty.


Hardly.

Yes, the common usage of "jury nullification" is when jurors acquits on evidence they know would legally call for a conviction. But if jurors feel that they are in charge of the law as well as the facts, they may very well also decide to convict on evidence they know would legally call for an acquittal.

Chief Justice Dickson in Canada put it well:

The contrary principle contended for by [the defense], that a jury may be encouraged to ignore a law it does not like, could lead to gross inequities. One accused could be convicted by a jury who supported the existing law, while another person indicted for the same offence could be acquitted by a jury who, with reformist zeal, wished to express disapproval of the same law. Moreover, a jury could decide that although the law pointed to a conviction, the jury would simply refuse to apply the law to an accused for whom it had sympathy. Alternatively, a jury who feels antipathy towards an accused might convict despite a law which points to acquittal. To give a harsh, but I think telling example, a jury fueled by the passions of racism could be told that they need not apply the law against murder to a white man who had killed a black man. Such a possibility need only be stated to reveal the potentially frightening implications of [the defense]'s assertions.
 
2014-01-09 04:06:29 PM  

Grauenwolf: Wow, you people are idiots.

The so-called "Common Law Grand Juries" already exist in many states and the federal government. They are used to prevent prosecutors from misusing their power by dragging people into court without a good reason. These groups just want to extend that power to also include the ability to force prosecutors to stop ignoring cases such as rape, which is a huge problem in some states.

They are not going to be able to start inventing laws or sentencing criminals. They won't even be able to declare someone guilty. At best they can say is someone is possibly guilty and needs a real trial.

So please, tone down the derp a few notches.


New here, aren't ya?
 
2014-01-09 04:09:12 PM  

KickahaOta: Yes, the common usage of "jury nullification" is when jurors acquits on evidence they know would legally call for a conviction. But if jurors feel that they are in charge of the law as well as the facts, they may very well also decide to convict on evidence they know would legally call for an acquittal.


That's much worse than the current system, where the people who write the laws, judge the laws, prosecute the laws, and enforce the laws are all paid by the same party and say it's their job to determine what the jury can and cannot hear.
 
2014-01-09 04:20:33 PM  
Even if you create a bunch of fancy proceedings and use lots of big words, you'll still just be a bunch of ignorant vigilantes.
 
2014-01-09 04:31:19 PM  

KickahaOta: Enigmamf: Jury Nullification is interesting that it can only acquit, never convict. In that sense, it can never undermine liberty.

Hardly.

Yes, the common usage of "jury nullification" is when jurors acquits on evidence they know would legally call for a conviction. But if jurors feel that they are in charge of the law as well as the facts, they may very well also decide to convict on evidence they know would legally call for an acquittal.


Except the judge can overturn their conviction and can't overturn their acquittal. That's sort of the whole main difference.
 
2014-01-09 04:40:39 PM  
Well, why not? The Law in America is so f*cked up we might as well go back to our roots. You know, before the government got involved and mucked it all up.
 
2014-01-09 04:55:21 PM  

Enigmamf: The actual substance of English law was formally "received" into the United States in several ways. First, all U.S. states except Louisiana have enacted "reception statutes" which generally state that the common law of England (particularly judge-made law) is the law of the state to the extent that it is not repugnant to domestic law or indigenous conditions.[26] Some reception statutes impose a specific cutoff date for reception, such as the date of a colony's founding, while others are deliberately vague.[27] Thus, contemporary U.S. courts often cite pre-Revolution cases when discussing the evolution of an ancient judge-made common law principle into its modern form,[27] such as the heightened duty of care traditionally imposed upon common carriers.


OK, so I need someone to show me when and where in Pre-Revolution America (or India, Australia or other "common law" nations once under English rule) the British Govt authorized or allowed for non-governmental "Grand Juries" to operate.    It's one thing to acknowledge the "common law" when it comes to precedent, it's quite another to operate under the delusion that citing the nebulous term "common law" somehow legitimizes actions by a group of officious intermeddlers or gives them the right to lawfully interject themselves into the affairs of others.


Bottom line, the "common law" in no way supports the claims of these idiots to simply take the law into their own hands, nor does it provide a historical legal basis for forming such groups.
 
2014-01-09 05:21:45 PM  

shtychkn: Common law does not mean laws being enforced by common people.  Common law is known as Judge Made Law.  It is law made when Judges uphold common laws and give common. <Br><br>

As long as any judgement passed by this bastardization of "common" is subject to an Appeal and independent review, it should be fine.  But without a check on this, it will become corrupt and lead to group think and miscarriages of justice.


So, a lynch mob with an appeals process?  How does that work?
 
2014-01-09 05:53:57 PM  
Oh lord, these troublesome people at the fringes of the liberty movement again.  This batch has a kind of manifesto called The Citizen's Rule Book.  A quick look confirms they are a "natural rights" group that believes certain rights come directly from FSM.  They answer, as it were, to a higher authority.  If they keep it to being an advocacy group that simply tries to pressure public officials into prosecutions, they could be OK in the sense of not being Waco'd.  I can tolerate half a cup of Judge Nap in the morning, but he keeps the natural rights in the background.

KickahaOta: Chief Justice Dickson in Canada put it well:

The contrary principle contended for by [the defense], that a jury may be encouraged to ignore a law it does not like, could lead to gross inequities. One accused could be convicted by a jury who supported the existing law, while another person indicted for the same offence could be acquitted by a jury who, with reformist zeal, wished to express disapproval of the same law.


Only if the jury instructions fail to say that support for the law is not grounds for entering a guilty verdict.

Moreover, a jury could decide that although the law pointed to a conviction, the jury would simply refuse to apply the law to an accused for whom it had sympathy. Alternatively, a jury who feels antipathy towards an accused might convict despite a law which points to acquittal.

Again, if the jury is not told that sympathy for or personal animosity towards the defendant are not proper grounds for deciding the case, something is wrong.

To give a harsh, but I think telling example, a jury fueled by the passions of racism could be told that they need not apply the law against murder to a white man who had killed a black man.

Slippery slope.  The instruction should be that jury nullification can be used only to find the defendant not guilty on charges premised on conduct that the juror believes should not be criminalized.  Worst case scenario, the defendant robbed a bank and the prosecutor somehow seats a panel of jurors who all believe bank robbery should not be a crime, that'll be an acquittin'.
 
2014-01-09 05:55:37 PM  

Another Government Employee: Must be one of Sarah Palin's relatives.  (She's is originally from the area and her maiden name was Heath)


Sandpoint, ID is not in the same area as Gallatin County, MT
 
2014-01-09 06:06:34 PM  

MaudlinMutantMollusk: You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers ... these are people of the land ... the common clay of the New West....


Just watched that yesterday with my nephew :D
 
2014-01-09 06:08:02 PM  
This is sovereign citizen derp. You know it's sovereign citizen derp because (as someone on Fark has previously pointed out quite elegantly) it's cargo cult legal practice.

Let's take these terms one at a time: "Common law" is a fairly well understood concept by lawyers, although one that cannot be quickly summarized, but I'll go for a not quite accurate description that's good enough for a layman's understanding: it's all the law that we've always had that isn't overruled by the Constitution, by statute, or by a court somewhere (in that order, usually). It's a fairly limited area of the law these days, because most of the ancient precepts have since been codified, reshaped, or interpreted in the two plus centuries of legal framework that exist in this country. It's the bedrock that a lot of our laws rest on, especially when it comes to property and property rights. It's not some other, shadow law that exists independently of what's written down and codified in the Constitution, statutes, or judge's opinions, it's just a common framework that exists throughout our country that ties us together (except those weirdos in Louisiana).

Now, a grand jury is a weird sort of animal. It comes from a time where there weren't all the trappings of the criminal justice system we currently have. Just like how you can sue anybody today for a civil complaint, you used to be able to prosecute anybody for a criminal complaint. You'd work up a complaint and bring it to the grand jury. They'd investigate it and either decline to allow it, or return an indictment, which would allow you (or a hired attorney, or an appointee of the grand jury, or a prosecutor or whoever) to actually begin a criminal prosecution. It's a buffer between the plaintiff and the defendant in a criminal case, to make sure that the alleged crime at least had a chance of actually occurring.

Now, here's the rub: we stopped allowing private citizens to bring prosecutions on behalf of the government. We've got government servants now to do that, who are trained, accountable, and professional, instead of just pissed-off victims. Therefore, the grand jury wasn't needed as much for a buffer, so its use has declined in the United States, and practically disappeared everywhere else in the world. The use differs state by state, but broadly, somebody from the government calls one together to do some looking into something and let the prosecutor know what crimes should be charged. But in a lot of jurisdictions, the prosecutor can figure out what crimes to charge just as easily and without the help of a grand jury.

So, if I'm understanding these loonies correctly, what they're actually trying to do is convene one of the old-style grand juries to hear private complaints and return indictments that will allow prosecution. Essentially, they're setting up a shadow legal system of their own based on their old-timey notions of "justice" and "what they think the Constitution means" and the like. Given that they have absolutely no authority to convene a grand jury (if their state even still allows grand juries), any actions taken by them will almost certainly be void from the beginning. But again: cargo cult legal practice. They think that if they say the magic formula and wish really really hard, they'll actually be able to get to put people behind bars.
 
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