Georgia’s Jury Nullification Act

Representative Charles Gregory has prefiled HB25, known as the Fully Informed Jury Act of 2013.

This act states, “In a criminal jury trial, the court shall permit the defendant or his or her counsel to argue for jury nullification in its role as the judges of the law and the facts pursuant to Article I, Section I, Paragraph XI of the Constitution.” Article I, Section I, Paragraph XI of the Georgia Constitution deals with the right to trial by jury, number of jurors, and the selection and compensation. If the Fully Informed Jury Act passes, then the Georgia Constitution would be amended to include jury nullification as a responsibility of the court.

Jury nullification has had a long tradition extended prior to American History. During colonial times, jury nullification was successfully used and juries informed of their right.

In 1734, Peter Zenger, a writer for The New York Weekly Journal was being prosecuted for seditious libel by the Royal Governor of New York. Retold in a Mises journal article “The court instructed the jury that truth was no defense. Defense counsel Andrew Hamilton, however, urged the jury to reach their own conclusions about this legal issue.” The jury came back with a not guilty verdict.

Details

Arizona Bill Would Reaffirm Ability to Privately Purchase Firearms and Equipment

Arizona Representatives Carl SeelSteve SmithAdam KwasmanDavid W. StevensBob ThorpeJudy BurgesBrenda BartonDavid LivingstonDarin MitchellKelly TownsendJohn AllenSonny Borrelli and Kelli Ward have introduced a bill that would prohibit the federal government from implementing restrictions on privately purchasing firearms and equipment.

HB2431 would amend Arizona revised statutes by adding a section relating to purchasing firearms. The text of the bill states the following:

“To maintain proficiency of arms, a person who is eligible for service in the Arizona state guard pursuant to section 26‑121 may privately purchase, in accordance with all other laws, any particularly suited firearm or equipment.  The sale of a particularly suited firearm or equipment for the purpose of maintaining proficiency of arms is lawful within this state.  A person who possesses a particularly suited firearm or equipment pursuant to this subsection shall lawfully keep and maintain the firearm or equipment and may lawfully use or transport the firearm or equipment in this state.”

“E.  For the purposes of this section, “particularly suited firearm or equipment” includes:
1.  Any semiautomatic handgun that is lawfully possessed by a person who is at least twenty-one years of age, including a semiautomatic handgun with standard military or law enforcement magazine capacities.
2.  Any semiautomatic shotgun or pump shotgun, in all barrel lengths except as prohibited by title 13, chapter 31, including a semiautomatic shotgun or pump shotgun with standard military or law enforcement magazine capacities.
3.  Any semiautomatic rifle, in all barrel lengths except as prohibited by title 13, chapter 31, including a semiautomatic rifle with standard military or law enforcement magazine capacities and configured with varieties of flash‑hiding devices, pistol grips, vertical foregrips, detachable magazines, bayonet lugs, bayonets, collapsible or folding stocks, carrying slings, aiming systems, lights and any other firearm mounted equipment in use by the armed forces of the United States or any law enforcement agency in this state.
4.  Any full-capacity magazine, ammunition‑feeding device or caliber of ammunition that is compatible with the items set forth in paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of this subsection, including sufficient quantities of ammunition necessary to maintain a high degree of proficiency of arms and to maintain a ready supply of ammunition in the event the state guard is established.
5.  Any other small arms weapons system, ammunition or equipment that is in use by the armed forces of the United States or any law enforcement agency in this state.”

It’s important to note

Details

Surprise: Law Professor Misinterprets Supremacy Clause

Have you ever read an article that you were not sure what stance the author takes on the subject but presents both sides of the argument at once? I had the distinguished experience recently when I was reading the article titled “Sheriffs, State Lawmakers Push Back on Gun Control” on the Newsmax website (see: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Gun-Control-Pushback/2013/01/17/id/471825). It was a little confusing until I got about half way through it and read a quote by Sam Kamin.

Sam is a constitutional law professor at the University of Denver. One would think that if someone was a law professor that they would actually know and understand the law. Or in this case, a constitutional law professor – who should then know and understand the constitution. It is highly unfortunate when people like Sam misspeak about a subject. Their title gives them some credibility so people think what they say is true because they are supposedly an “expert”. But, when they make a mistake it is still a mistake.

The Supremacy Clause of Article VI, Clause 2 reads:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

Sam makes the comment that state legislatures can pass any laws they want but that the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution makes such actions unconstitutional. He further states that when there is a conflict between state and federal law, the federal government is supreme. Nothing could be farther from the truth. His blanket statement implies that the state laws are not necessary and state governments are not necessary because the federal government and its laws are supreme.

Details