The Fully Informed Jury concept is one of the more brilliantly subversive ideas engendered by the modern Libertarian movement. As is often the case, it is the revival of a very old, very good idea. Libertarian activist Larry Dodge, after growing impatient with a lack of electoral success, cast around for another strategy to increase freedom and resist the State.

Dodge learned (or remembered) that originally juries were empowered not just to determine the guilt or innocence of an accused party in court, but were also intended to act as a bulwark against illegitimate laws and unjust conviction. In short, a jury could ignore the law and free a defendant if they had moral objections to the law, or if they believed the State had overstepped its legitimate authority. More surprisingly, Dodge found that this right of juries still existed!

Not at all surprisingly, however, juries were not being informed of this right. Thus, the Fully Informed Jury Association was founded to make sure that this information became part of the general knowledge of ALL citizens of countries where juries played a part in trial proceedings.

FIJA - The Fully Informed Jury Association

The object of FIJA is to re-establish the trial jury not only as the decider of justice in the case before it, but as a commentator on the law itself, so that lawmakers enjoy ongoing access to the will of the people, expressed through the verdicts of citizen juries. The action specified in most versions of FIJA is a requirement that the court remind all jurors of their right and responsibility to judge both law and fact when deliberating a verdict in every action to which the government is a party (currently, all criminal proceedings).

FIJA is a national non-profit educational organization, with tax-exempt 501(c)3 status. FIJA publishes and disseminates informational materials of various kinds -- books, tapes, leaflets, information kits, taped telephone messages, bumper stickers, cups, PSAs, banners, buttons, you name it. National officers also make media appearances and periodically testify at legislative hearings. For more information on FIJA call: 1-800-TEL-JURY or write: FIJA, PO Box 59, Helmville, MT 59843.

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