(From the title of Mickey Spillane’s classic I, the Jury.) The grand jury and trial jury are powerful tools to arrest runaway US fascism. Jury power is people power.
[From Leaving the Sandbox.] Speaking about ‘the Law’…
Let’s see, roughly a year ago, as our LP of Michigan state convention was approaching, an author of a book was making the rounds of LP sites—I’ve been Webmaster of the LPM since November 2009—and he sent me a note about his book about grand juries, The Hidden 4th Branch: A corrupt government’s worst nightmare. He asked for the LPM to pass a simple resolution to support grand juries investigating and indicting corrupt government behavior.
Which I was glad to do.
But being a naturally curious reader, I bought the Kindle version of his book and gave it a go. Then I spoke with the author, pen name Kelly Mordecai, on several occasions. I kept saying to myself: “Wow, I had no idea.” Or words to that effect. I was learning about the fundamental power of the grand jury, an institution that embodies the authority of the people directly… to what? Well, to hold the king and the king’s men accountable, just as its petite form (the trial jury) exists chiefly as protection against abusive state power upon the citizens. The Grand Jury stems directly from the Magna Carta.
“Wow, I had no idea.”
Eventually giving way to: “Wow, this is real power.”
Followed by: “It feels good to assert my power.”
Because that’s all that we really need to do. It’s as if we’ve been dawdling around trying to eke out a living mining gold, then one day we discover our stake sits directly on top of the mother lode. We’re rich, all we need to do is bring it to market. We’re free, all we need to do wake up a judge or two to start sharing the good news with all our pals.
Summary from the Columbus Statement
These are the paragraphs under Servant Accountability:
The discussion on the second half of Grand Strategy focuses on what goes wrong when the people do not or have not exercised their self-governing power. As Jefferson stated: “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.”
The (best of the) founders tried to set up the Constitution to restrain emergence of special interests who would steal from the public and reimpose central-government tyranny. But thru control of the money power and extending the corporate privilege, the Old World Order reclaimed its clout in the 19th century and the clout became a rout in the 20th.
We now face a New Old World Order of state crimes, e.g.: [Here, I listed a ¾ of the crimes of the so-called ‘The Dirty Dozen’ Cabal-led assaults identified in Chapter 5: Raising the Torch.]
Then under discussion of the master key:
The master key—and master tool—to our dilemma lies in the tried and tested principle of self-government handed down from the Magna Carta: the grand jury. This principle states that whenever a person so directs—via simple petition/complaint showing clear evidence of official wrongdoing [which wrongdoing a citizen is duty bound to point out]—a judge must empanel a grand jury to investigate and bring indictments.
The grand jury—well-understood, taken for granted, and used frequently by the American colonists—was acknowledged in the 5th Amendment. It has been used successfully to combat government wrongdoing over the years. But has been officially suppressed in the past several decades for obvious reasons. It’s now time to dust it off and put it back on center stage. And start the wheels of justice a’ turnin’.
The watershed book leading our understanding of how to resurrect and reassert our seminal power is Kelly Mordecai’s The Hidden 4th Branch. The LP is the perfect institution for reviving the grand jury form of empowerment, and gaining respect as the ‘tough-on-crime’ party. A properly empaneled statutory grand jury tells judges and prosecutors what to do… not the other way around. There is no branch of government higher than the grand jury: it is ‘the people.’ Presidents, the Justice Department, Congress, foreign agents, corporate poobahs, the Rothschilds and the Rockefellers grovel at its feet.
“Where the government fears the people, there is freedom.”
Why the LP Needs to Support Grand Jury (Re)Assertion
Building on the argument from the end of the previous chapter, a major universal implement in the GNL’s toolbox is knowledge and application of ‘the Law.’ What do the civil libertarians say, “If you don’t know your rights (~know the law and how to assert it), you don’t have any.” From a strategic standpoint as a political party, knowing and articulating the laws that enable and protect free men gives us a huge edge in credibility among the general population.
Especially if the LP membership becomes excited about the LTS GNL grand strategy—which, to empower the people, entails mainly the expungement of distinct broad categories of assault (Dirty Dozen) by the controlling elites and their flunkies—we are going to face a ‘bog down’ problem as an organization. Namely, it will be impossible and ill-advised for the LP or its affiliates to try to assert general truths or principles related to prosecution of any of the specific assault areas.
The LP and its affiliates CAN and SHOULD explicitly endorse the pursuit of truth in the courts by acknowledging the existence of (usually massive) evidence of official-and-associated wrongdoing… for any and all of the Dirty Dozen that the LP and its affiliates find such evidence compelling prima facie. Thus Libertarians simply sidestep the accusations that they’re into some specific interpretation of the facts. “The truth of these alleged crimes, we shall state, is up to the grand jury to determine by investigation and indictment, then for the petite or trial jury to decide.”
The party nationally and locally does not have to spend interminable hours wrangling about whether, say, neocon insiders played a key role in the 9/11 attacks, or the USAF and NATO are systematically spraying the skies with toxic chemicals, or the power companies are using ‘smart’ meters to blanket surveil and poison everyone on Waltons’ Mountain. Such alleged crimes are up to the people to investigate, indict, and prosecute—via their tried and true institution of ‘a jury of one’s peers.’
What could be simpler, more responsive, and ultimately just?
“Let the people decide.”
“Let justice be done though the heavens fall.”
That last happens to be—aside from a famous quote delivered by Kevin Costner in JFK (playing New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison)—the motto of a new organization of which I’m a part named the Grand Independent Jury Association (GRIJA). [At the time of this book’s birthing, GRIJA has a Facebook presence, though as a Page, GIJA. The bylaws are coming and the name change to GRIJA is accomplished, and a FB Group and Website are in the offing.]
Resolution for the 2014 LP National Convention
For the reasons cited above (with many to come) and merely to provide another major impediment to state or corporate-state oppression, GRIJA has developed the following resolution to submit for consideration to the National LP at its convention in Columbus, Ohio, June 26-29, 2014:
The LP supports the reassertion of the people’s supreme authority thru statutory empanelment of independent grand juries to investigate and bring indictments of all parties to government crimes and corruption.
Speaking in favor:
We the Libertarian Party, in one fell swoop, declare to the world that we want justice. Now. Not when, magically, a majority of Libertarians is elected to Congress or the state house. More to the point, we want the people to have justice… to use this tool of theirs that has been hidden and suppressed for so long, to go after all manner of state aggression and aggressors as they see fit.
Endorsing the resurrection and reempowerment of the fully supreme grand jury (not to mention the fully informed trial jury) of the people makes us the absolute Toughest on Crime Party. It also takes courage to stand up to the gangsters and psychopaths who claim to own and rule us. Coming out strongly and passionately for grand jury justice shows we have moral and intellectual courage in abundance. A fine brass set, as they say—that doesn’t back down or get bought off by special-interest sleaze.
We’re manning up and we’re not going to take it anymore.
We champion the real people of the country, and the world, who every day take their lumps up the ol’ wazoo—petty traffic infractions, vice bashing, strip searches, excessive fines, lifestyle harassment, illegal searches, civil forfeitures, cops pepper-spraying grandma and tasering handicapped teenagers for laughs. We speak up and stand up for all victims of statist-Mob violence
We’re the LP, MFs, and we STEP OUT OF LINE!
As a matter of policy and principle.
Further, we support all the others who step out of line, if they don’t thereby aggress. Not only that, if YOU mess up, we’re coming after you, the LINE MAKERS: In the immortal words of Josey Wales, “We’re gonna set things a’ right.”
I can’t think of a better PR boost for the Party than moving forward on Jury Power.
Some Background and Foreground
The reality is we’re in virgin territory with the Hidden 4th Branch, especially as grand juries are seen by the author of the book as merely fulfillment of our English common law and Constitutional heritage.
As I understand it, the rationale for a group of randomly chosen, anonymous citizens to oversee public-official behavior is to assure that that realm remains true to the general interest. That is, the interest of the people as a whole. In a real sense, the grand jury—and to a lesser extent, the petite jury—is the people. As such it outranks every branch of government. In a society based on natural rights of the individual, juries rule the roost.
The enfranchisement of the grand jury federally lies in only one brief statement introducing the 5th Amendment:
“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, 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; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
Nevertheless, the American colonists were well versed in the workings of the grand jury and used it widely to stymie corrupt or questionable behavior on behalf of the King’s interests. [For instance, a grand jury indicted Captain Preston and eight British soldiers for the murder of five civilians in the so-called Boston Massacre of 1770.] The grand jury as a check on state power was more of a custom—taken for granted as the rights of Englishmen—than formally enshrined in statute.
Indeed, reading Mordecai’s book, one concludes that the grand jury, when routinely empaneled by a judge in response to citizen-filed petition or complaints of injustice, was pretty much the master of its own vessel. It could determine its own rules, appoint a foreman or not, hire investigators or not, subpoena witnesses and public officials, ask them anything, and so on.
A grand jury in session is God. The highest law of the land. As president or attorney general, military commander or CIA torturer, IRS official or state district attorney, you don’t get to take a bye when it calls you to stand and deliver. The modern incarnation of a state or federal prosecutor/judge ordering a grand jury around is backasswards. The function of government officials is merely to help, when and as so directed, the grand jury carry out its mission to investigate and bring indictments (or not).
This supreme authority exercised as the people is why most government officials start excreting Frisbees when anyone mentions grand juries… or (trial) jury nullification for that matter. Which is precisely why grand juries need to be reestablished in their all-American, Red-White-and-Blue splendor. (And well-compensated, too, for that matter. There’s a HUGE backlog. )
As a practical matter, the (re)implementation or assertion of grand jury power is going to need to be attended to by legislation, at least at the state and local levels. Virtually nobody in the existing criminal injustice system even knows the language. I suggest the following diagram as a general dataflow (engg. backgrd :)):
Naturally, because of the epochal abuse of power and attacks on Constitutional liberty, several liberty-minded persons of various perspectives have proposed grand jury-like remedies. (One of the groups I hear most about is the National Liberty Alliance.) From what I’ve read, however, these groups differ from our ‘statutory’ grand jury concepts by not including ‘da Judge’ in their process. Referring to the diagram above, steps 2 and 3 for the ‘Roll Your Own’ approaches do not include a sitting judge from the conventional established government system as a required step.
Rather than let that judge-approval step—and the prospect of being turned down—hold them up, these alternative common law or citizens’ grand jury advocates convene their own grand juries. While many times compelling reasons exist for empaneling a statutory grand jury, the alternative jury advocates seem to think it isn’t worth the trouble to play ball with the establishment at all. Thus, what happens is the establishment system rolls on blithely unaware and unresponsive to the discontent of these freelancers—however sincere or well-founded.
From the LP effective-strategy perspective, I would argue that nonconventional grand jury implementations fail both the Connection and the Empowerment objectives. I’m not saying they have no utility as helping to inform general rules of conduct for empaneled grand juries. But nothing will change in the context of the existing political system—which is after all what we as Libertarians are trying to redirect—by holding breakaway court sessions among kindred souls.
Final Pitch on the Grand Jury ‘Accountability’ Strategy
The Grand Jury properly implemented is an idea whose time has re-come. The LP can leverage its support for grand juries into significantly more voter and citizen approval. There’s really nothing government-related, outside of clerical passthrus, about grand juries; i.e. anarchists are on moral ground supporting them. Grand juries give the average citizen more power than a Supreme Court judge or Darth Obama, itself… and it’s a GOOD power. One grand jury can achieve more justice for real people in a single day than all the Libertarians running as candidates for 43 years.
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