In 2011, 86% of federal prisoners — hundreds of thousands of mostly minority Americans — were in a cage due to victimless crimes. It is the urgent call of our times to stop ruining good people’s lives over victimless crimes such as drug offenses. And we can do it using the rights we already have, in the more than 800-year-old institution of the jury box.

The Big Business of “Justice”

US courts are big business. Every day, people shuffle in and out of these petty castles on victimless crime charges to be intimidated into plea deals, fined, chained, caged, put into debt with legal fees, their future potential cut short with a criminal record, consigned to private prisons at great expense to society and the taxpayers, exploited for hard labor by crony corporations for pennies per day and their lives ruined for nothing more than to render obeisance to the arbitrary and capricious edicts of the central government.

It can happen to any of us, for any reason, including these victimless crimes:

  • drug offenses;
  • traffic citations;
  • feeding the homeless;
  • gambling;
  • unlicensed economic activity;
  • prostitution;
  • weapons charges; and
  • undocumented immigration.

Jury Nullification

The right to a trial by jury, the last nonviolent bulwark against government tyranny, is guaranteed by the 6th amendment to the US constitution and was first grudgingly conceded to, at great cost, in  the English Magna Carta of 1215.

Jurors have the inherent right and unquestionable power to judge not just the facts of a case but also the law the defendant is accused of violating. Jurors may vote to acquit a defendant if they consider that law to be unjust, or for any reason at all. Jury nullification occurs when jurors vote to acquit even though they believe the defendant is guilty.

Without the power to nullify bad laws in the jury box, jurors could be punished for rendering a verdict displeasing to the judge. Without the power of jury nullification, legitimate tribunals of justice are converted into kangaroo courts and the justice system is stripped of any remaining credibility.

Jury nullification played an important role in the founding principles of the United States, most notably involving William Penn in 1670 and John Peter Zenger in 1735. Jury nullification also figured prominently in resistance to the Fugitive Slave Act in the 1850’s and alcohol prohibition in the 1920’s. Jury nullification is an indisputable fact of American jurisprudence that is regularly, if quietly, practiced today.

But most jurors never knew this, or have forgotten. Judges and prosecutors fly into fits of rage when people mention jury nullification because it threatens their arbitrary power. They prohibit mentions of this right within courtrooms and are known to harass, cage and frame jury rights activists in order to stop the signal.

We’re Informing NYC Jurors and the Public

We’re informing New York City jurors and the NYC public of their historical right and sacred civic responsibility to nullify bad laws in the jury box during the entire month of January 2015.

We’re using big, impactful phone kiosk advertising as well as personalized street pamphleting to put the judges and prosecutors in NYC on notice that they can’t continue to railroad people into cages for victimless crimes. Their lucrative, life-destroying racket is coming to an end. Be a part of this historic effort.

The ads surround the Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Courthouse at 500 Pearl St, NYC, as you can see in this image. This is the same courthouse where Ross Ubricht, the accused operator of the first Silk Road website, is to be tried. The blue marker is the entrance to the Moynihan courthouse. The red markers are where our kiosk ads are located.

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The first ads went up on December 29 and here are some photos. Here’s a PDF file of the kiosk ad copy.

We’re also doing street pamphleting in this area starting January 13th. Here is the pamphlet we’re using.

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The Civic Center area of Lower Manhattan where we’ve placed the first ads is a major government center. We will likely reach both employees and visitors, including current and future victims of victimless crime prosecutions as well as their friends and family, to the following nearby institutions:

  • NYC Police Department HQ (1 Police Plaza)
  • 2nd District Court of Appeals
  • New York County Clerk
  • New York City Supreme Court
  • US Justice Department Bureau of Prisons
  • US District Court
  • New York County District Attorney
  • New York City Criminal Court
  • IRS
  • NYC Department of Education
  • Manhattan Borough President
  • Metropolitan Correctional Center
  • The Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers

Results to Date

We’ve already raised more than $4,000 to finance this campaign, more than 52 percent of which has come in the form of bitcoin. We’re fighting hard now to multiply the impact of every donation through follow-on media attention and by securing further funding to keep the ads up for additional months at a discounted rate.

This campaign reached the #1 spot in the DarkNetMarkets subreddit, #3 in bitcoin, #1 in libertarian and #3 in ancap.

Here are some of the comments we’ve received:

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Media

Jim Babb was on Free Talk Live to talk about the campaign on December 23. Listen to the segment here.

Jim was also on The Crypto Show on January 4.

Jim and I will be on Declare your Independence with Ernest Hancock today, January 6 at 11AM Eastern. Listen in at LRN.fm.

Exercise your Jury Rights

For more information, see the full press release: http://juryrightsproject.com/nyc2015-press-release/

Or the announcement of the ads going up on December 29, 2014: http://juryrightsproject.com/nyc-jury-rights-ads/

Or our Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, which will run just a little longer and where you can get a great perk: http://igg.me/at/NYCJuryRights2015

My collaborator, Jim Babb is available for interviews, too. He’s a lively and entertaining speaker who has done everything from liberty podcasts to the Philadelphia Inquirer, live CNN interviews and more.

What You Can do Now

Take the Jury Rights 101 course, learn about our campaign, ask your favorite blogger, podcaster or YouTuber to cover us, or make a donation, either via our Indiegogo or directly via bitcoin (1GtuV3W9daNdcpJ9pdHofoGTAp3HBj7A8c). This is your campaign, too!