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SEP 02- SEP 09, 2014

Disarming the SAFE Act
How Jury Nullification Would Work in the Brenden Morgan Anti- SAFE Act Case

By Frank Parlato

September 02, 2014

At last opponents of the NY SAFE Act have a case that they can use to overcome the vicious, draconian, unconstitutional NYS SAFE Act, the monster child of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Brenden Morgan, 22, of Medina, NY, was charged by State Police with criminal possession of a weapon in the 4th degree, a Class A misdemeanor.

Morgan possessed an unregistered AR-15 semiautomatic rifle with a detachable magazine - which is now illegal under the NY SAFE Act- although it had been legal in New York State since 1957 when the gun was first designed.

Morgan hurt no one with his gun and was not arrested for any act he committed.

A domestic dispute by warring neighbors led the vicious couple to tattle on Morgan, possibly in hopes of getting out of their own legal troubles.

In New York, spying on and telling on violators of the SAFE Act brings monetary rewards, not unlike as they did in Nazi Germany.

But Morgan may not be in any trouble because Gov. Cuomo has not yet been able to eliminate the right of a trial by jury in this state.

Here is how a jury of Morgan's peers could set him free and strike a blow against the vicious and unconstitutional SAFE Act.

The method is simple.

It is called jury nullification.

It was designed as part and parcel of the U. S. Constitution and allows juries to judge both the facts and the law.

It is simple logic.

Since a jury cannot be punished for its verdict, the jury is free to veto any law that they do not agree with.

An outright acquittal is not required. The secret of jury nullification is that if only one juror out of 12 votes to acquit, the jury is hung and the prosecution is stymied. The prosecution can try it again, but if juries continue to hang themselves, the state cannot enforce the law.

That is why unanimity is required in jury convictions - to protect the minority from the majority.

If enough juries acquitted or hung themselves, the state would soon be unable to enforce the SAFE Act.

Thankfully, this prosecution of the innocent-of-any-crime Morgan is in Orleans County, the most rabid anti-SAFE Act county in the state-- where every municipality in that county has passed a resolution demanding the repeal of the SAFE Act.

Jury nullification is the time honored tradition of vetoing bad laws by the people. Here in Orleans County there is the chance to do just that.

The government may make laws, but only a jury of the people can approve any law.

Many judges will falsely tell the jury in their instructions that jurors may not veto laws and that, if they find that the facts of the case show that the defendant is guilty of breaking the law, however bad that law may be, they must find the defendant guilty.

This is absolutely false.

Firstly, because no judge may punish a jury for its verdict (so it is free to do what it wills and to vote its conscience) and, secondly, the whole purpose of the jury, since the days of Magna Carta, directs that jurors are entitled, and in fact it is their duty, to judge not only the facts but the law itself.

The Niagara Falls Reporter will evidence this by listing below important authorities on the right of a jury to nullify any law and is calling upon the jurors of this state to repeal the SAFE Act through jury nullification.


JOHN ADAMS (1771) It's not only ....(the juror's) right, but his duty, in that case, to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court. ALEXANDER HAMILTON (1804): Jurors should acquit even against the judge's instruc- tion...."if exercising their judgement with discretion and honesty they have a clear con - viction that the charge of the court is wrong.


THOMAS JEFFERSON (1789): I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution. JUDGE THOMAS J. WISEMAN "[T]o deny a defendant of the possibility of jury nullification would be to defeat the central purpose of the jury system."


WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (Measure for Measure, 17): 'Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus, Another thing to fall. I not deny, The jury, passing on the prisoner's life, May in the sworn twelve have a thief or two Guiltier than him they try.
JOHN LOCKE (Second Treatise of Government): "Yet the legislative being only a fiduciary power to act for certain ends, there remains still in the people a supreme power to remove or alter the legislative, when they find the legislative act contrary to the trust reposed in them....And thus the community perpetually retains a supreme power of saving themselves from the attempts and designs of any body, even of their legislators, whenever they shall be so foolish or so wicked as to lay and carry on designs against the liberties and properties of the subject."


Lysander Spooner Trial by Jury (1852) It is manifest, therefore, that the jury must judge of and try the whole case, and every part and parcel of the case, free of any dictation or authority on the part of the government. They must judge of the exis- tence of the law; of the true exposition of the law; of the justice of the law; and of the admissibility and weight of all the evidence offered; otherwise the government will have everything its own way; the jury will be mere puppets in the hands of the government; and the trial will be, in reality, a trial by the government, and not a "trial by the country." By such trials the government will determine its own powers over the people, instead of the people's determining their own liberties against the government; and it will be an entire delusion to talk, as for centuries we have done, of the trial by jury, as a "palladium of liberty," or as any protection to the people against the oppression and tyranny of the government. JUDGE DAVID BAZELON ("The Adversary Process: Who Needs It?," 12th Annual James Madi- son Lecture, New York University School of Law (April, 1971), reprinted in 117 Cong. Rec. 5852, 5855 (daily ed. April 29, 1971)): "It's easy for the public to ignore an unjust law, if the law operates behind closed doors and out of sight. But when jurors have to use a law to send a man to prison, they are forced to think long and hard about the justice of the law. And when the public reads newspa- per accounts of criminal trials and convictions, they too may think about whether the convic- tions are just. As a result, jurors and spectators alike may bring to public debate more informed interest in improving the crimi- nal law. Any law which makes many people uncomfortable is likely to attract the attention of the legislature. The laws on narcotics and abortion come to mind and there must be others. The public adversary trial thus provides an important mechanism for keeping the substantive criminal law in tune with contemporary community values."










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©2014 The Niagara Falls Reporter Inc.
POB 3083, Niagara Falls, N.Y. 14304
Phone: (716) 284-5595

Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
Managing Editor: Dr. Chitra Selvaraj
Senior Editor: Tony Farina