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$15 a Day for Jury Duty

How to never have Jury Duty again… permanently!

Key Points

Is there a way to save America and ensure justice and freedom for all? There is… if you are willing to rethink and rebuild the entire Constitution!

This article is an excerpt from the book NEW & IMPROVED: THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Learn more at https://www.jpprag.com

After going through the entire Constitution, do you know what right you do not have? There is no guarantee for a “jury of peers”, an oft favored quote on entertainment programs. That idea comes from the Magna Carta, which for all intents here was the governing document of the Kingdom of England (that history is another story entirely). The United States Constitution only guarantees an “impartial” jury and nothing else. The Magna Carta, on the other hand, states:

Magna Carta, Third Statute, Clause XXIX

No Free-man shall be taken, or imprisoned, or dispossessed, of his free tenement, or liberties, or free customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or in any way destroyed; nor will we condemn him, nor will we commit him to prison, excepting by the legal judgment of his peers {emphasis added}, or by the laws of the land. — To none will we sell, to none will we deny, to none will we delay right or justice.

By the way, the Magna Carta did not originally state this; it came through a process that we would consider an Amendment. Also, it was not written in English (This is a translation provided by the British Government from the original Latin. At the time, what we consider modern English did not fully exist yet, either). In either case, the references to juries come from:

Everything else dealing with juries has come from laws and judicial process that has developed over time. Even the idea of compulsory jury duty does not exist anywhere in the Constitution; yet it and the methods around jury selection have become the norm and expectation for American citizens. The overwhelming majority of Americans have trusted the messaging (re: propaganda) over the decades and believe that serving on a jury when called is an important civic duty, though the sentiment drops off precariously the younger the respondents is.

Despite that, most polls show that less than half of people bother to show up to jury duty when summoned (and in some areas the no-show rate can approach 90%), and of those who do arrive 95% of them will either find a way out or be dismissed. Because of these factors, more and more people are being summoned in order to get the potential pool of jurors up to a high enough number that will eventually result in the necessary quantity for a jury. Of course, that “necessary number” is again not in the Constitution, nor is there any reason for it other than the traditions borrowed from other countries at the time of the United States’ founding.

While exact numbers on how American citizens feel about truly serving on jury are not readily available, anecdotal evidence of talking to your friends, family, and neighbors will most likely reveal very few people who want to serve on a jury under the current system. The reasons are varied, but most likely fall into the following categories:

What this is all coming down to is that American citizens are ill equipped and have little desire to be on a jury. But who, then, should serve as the decider of cases? Perhaps, the Judges?

By Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, Article 3, Section 2, Clause 3 shall read:

The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by a panel of Judges acting as a Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State or Territory where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State or Territory or committed in multiples States and/or Territories, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

There is an idea of creating a “Juror Bill of Rights” or something of the like to make Jury duty and the court system more palatable, but it is unnecessarily for the judicial process to directly include the citizenry. Instead of inconveniencing the American populace and breaking the 13th Amendment, we could instead vest the power completely in the judiciary itself. Yes, this will require a set of limitations and protections in order to ensure a balanced and less biased (Note: it is impossible remove all bias) pool of judges, but we will spend the vast majority of this section on those very principals. Indeed, what we have done here is change the definition of a “Jury” from being your average “peer” to a professional judge acting in a panel. We will address how many judges should be on a panel in the next section.

Judges, then, can fulfil the “impartial” component so long as they are not involved with the parties personally. With a better understanding of the law, they can apply it appropriately and test the Constitutionality of the laws to begin with. Per prior sections, we have already given the courts the ability to send laws back to the legislatures to be corrected for Constitutionality, so they are not making decisions on what the law should be, just what it should not be.

Meanwhile, since many cases require specific technical knowledge, judges may either specialize or learn on the job to understand issues. Much like Congress, judges cannot be expected to know everything about every subject and may also take advantage of specialized knowledge in the Executive Departments and Agencies, hence more reason for the Executive Branch to have Agencies specifically designed to support Judicial needs.

As for the other modifications, we must again expand the definitions of law to extend to the Territories. Further is the idea that if a law is broken in multiple States and/or Territories that a trial may take place in the best locale possible. Since most crimes that will be prosecuted at the federal level will generally meet this category, the system of courts will necessarily need places to go to (much of which already exists in the current system).

Considering the rest of the Amendments that deal with the Judicial Branch, it would be beneficial to move all of them into main part of the Constitution. This should be done with all Amendments, but these in particular are fairly clear on where they belong. The simplest solution is to just add an additional Section and stick them in there:

By Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, Article 3, Section 4 shall be added and consist of:

Clause 1: Amendment 4

Clause 2: Amendment 5

Clause 3: Amendment 6

Clause 4: Amendment 7

Clause 5: Amendment 8

Clause 6: Amendment 11

Clause 7: Amendment 14, Clause 1

With that in place, we can move on to what was Amendment 5 and the particular phrase: Grand Jury.

The Grand Jury is an idea that a jury will be selected before a trial process even starts to determine if a person should be indicted to begin with. At the time of the Bill of Rights, the thought was that someone should not be accused publicly until a Grand Jury had the opportunity to review the particulars of the case in order to avoid any type of embarrassment or prejudice. In practice, however, this is not the case at all as it is very well known when someone has been brought in, arrested, and/or put before a Grand Jury.

Further, Grand Juries have no rules whatsoever and have pretty much become nothing but a tool of the prosecution. All those rules in the other Amendments — especially the 6th Amendment where a defense can present a case and confront/present witnesses — do not apply to a Grand Jury because it is not a trial. Instead, prosecutions just submit (or withhold) whatever they want to get the Grand Juries to agree to an indictment. How do we know this? Because Grand Juries indict 99.999999% of the time! They are a pass-through that does nothing in almost all cases (although they do have abilities to do their own discovery and get their own evidence, but most do not).

The idea of a Grand Jury was meant as a protection and it was based on similar systems around the world at the time. The United States, however, did not learn the same lesson as its peers and has held on to the system. Only one other country in the world still uses a Grand Jury system: Liberia. Most other places either have a direct trial or a preliminary hearing. Since the United States already uses preliminary hearings, the Grand Jury system is again redundant and unimportant.

By Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, Article 3, Section 4, Clause 2, Part 1 shall read:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of <strike>a Grand Jury</strike> the appropriate and relevant Executive Department or Agency, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; …

We will return to the rest of this Clause shortly, however the relevant part is here: let us completely drop Grand Juries, the last vestige of the unaccountable citizen jury system. Instead, we’ll put it on the Executive Department or Agency to present a case to a panel of judges on why someone should be charged. That is the point of the Executive Branch anyway, so let us set the direction properly, end the waste, and join the rest of the world (leaving Liberia well behind).

Even the Supreme Court two hundred years ago agreed that the Constitution could and should change based upon the needs of the people. The quote pictured here in January 2020 is etched into the walls of the Supreme Court.

TO BE CONTINUED…

NEW & IMPROVED:

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

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Over 15 years as a consultant, solutions architect, and trusted partner for some of the largest organizations in the world. Learn more at https://www.jpprag.com

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