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Bud Landry

Maine Legislators Do Not Trust Their Constitutents
By Bud Landry
Mar 28, 2005 - 6:45:00 AM

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I attended a workshop March 16, 2005 on LD 103, "An Act to Establish the Fully Informed Jury." It was a lesson in the distrust a great many of our Maine legislators have for the honesty and common sense of their constituents.

There were only nine members present, and all went on record as being opposed to informing their constituents of their constitutional rights as a juror. It took from March 16 until March 28, 2005 to get the results from the other five members of the judiciary committee.

Not one of these representatives of the people argued or denied that the people have this right, but they did agree that this right should be kept secret from the people.

Below is a list of the Judiciary committee members that do not trust their constituents' honesty or ability to be Fully Informed Jurors:

  • Senator Barry J. Hobbin [D-York], Chair
  • Senator Lynn Bromley [D-Cumberland]
  • Senator David R. Hastings 111 [R- Oxford]
  • Rep. Deborah L. Pelletier-Simpson [D-Auborn,] Chair
  • Rep. Sean Faircloth [D-Bangor]
  • Rep. Stan Gerzofsky [D-Brunswick]
  • Rep. Marilyn E. Canavan [D-Waterville]
  • Rep Mark E. Bryant [D-Windham]
  • Rep. Micheal Edward Dunn [D-Bangor]
  • Rep. Roger L. Sherman [R-Hodgdon]--Ranking Minority Member
  • Rep.Roderick W. Carr [R- Lincoln]
  • Rep. Donna M. Loring [Penobscot Nation]
  • Rep. Joan M. Nass [R -Acton]
  • Rep. Joan Bryant Deschenes [R-Turner]

All this Fully Informed Jury Act does is to give the defendant the right to a trial by a jury informed of its constitutional power to judge the law, as well as all of the evidence, and to render a verdict dictated by conscientious consideration.

This is an inherent right that, as English citizens, the colonists retained when they emerged from the revolution. They did not surrender any rights when they formed the United States. Article 9 of our Bill of Rights states "The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

This right has been upheld by the Supreme Court from its very first jury trial in 1789 to the present. In the 1890s a supreme Court decision said, The jury does indeed have veto power but they need not be told of it. Up until that time juries were informed of their power. After this decision this knowledge was gradually withheld from the people until today many juries are informed by the judge that they must judge only the facts in a case, and that the court will judge the law. They lie when they say this, as a juror has the right to judge both the law and the facts of the case and to render a verdict based on his or her conscience. As a matter of fact, the judge is not much more than a moderator in a properly run jury trial. There are actually twelve judges, and they sit in the jury box.

The reason the legislators vote against this bill is that it reminds the people that they have the right to veto bad laws. This would be a great loss of power to those who make the laws and who do not want their wisdom to be questioned. The state and its employees surrender power hard. Most of our representatives take office with high intentions of serving their constituents, but most of them succumb to their position of power and instead begin to serve the state rather than the people who put them in that position of power. The few who remain dedicated to their constituents are usually badly outnumbered by those who do not. Yet, the people continue to reelect these servants of the state. We the people do get the kind of government we elect and deserve.

For those who would like to further research this matter, I would suggest you go to Yahoo, type in 'Fully Informed Jury" and you can read for hours on the constitutionality of, and the importance of this "secret" Constitutional Right "WE THE PEOPLE" have.

-- Bud

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