Monday, June 27, 2011

Jury Instruction VS Too Complex Laws

Many of our laws (Most specially as to tax-codes, business laws, "green" laws and such like creations of those lawyers lurking in legislative bodies and administrative agencies). "Common sense", as a requirement for citizens who generally wish to obey our laws, has become most uncommon.

As for criminal court (Or other prosecutions) which may result in jail/prison terms or crippling fines, I suggest that the following be the first "jury instruction" given and the first rule for trials without juries or for Administrative Hearing Examiners or tribunals.

(This is written for jury instructions in criminal cases. Like positions should be posited for non-jury trials and administrative hearings.)

"The jury is first to consider if the law in question is one that can be understood by the ordinary citizen, with an average education and without prior consultation with an attorney or other like specialist. If the Jury finds the answer to be "no", it (They) must acquit without further consideration of any facts or other instructions of the Court. The jury must not consider any "should have known" position unless the defendant was proven to be an expert in the applicable part of the Law. If, and only if, the answer is "yes", then they may proceed to the consideration of the other facts and law pertaining to this case/matter."

It is very likely that such an instruction will not be automatically considered by the Court and may, very likely, be rejected by judges. Yet, proposing it and having it rejected offers a wide door for appeals of any convictions.

You may wish to refer to: Silverglate, Harvey A.; "Three Felonies A Day---How the Feds Target the Innocent"; Encounter Books; New York & London; 2009.

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