FIJA PROCLAIMS SEPTEMBER 5 "JURY RIGHTS DAY"!
Hey, activist, can you spare an hour?
Noon hour, September 5, 1991, should be sixty minutes of fun
and high-impact education all across the United States, as FIJA
activists take to the steps of courthouses in their own local
communities, handing out a special "Jury Rights Day" version of
our TRUE or FALSE? brochure to whoever will accept one.
If, for one hour of one day (more if you have time), you can
break from routine and "go active", you will be part of an
utterly decentralized, but fully coordinated team of jury-rights
proponents skipping lunch to tell the entire nation about FIJA!
The plan is this:
At each courthouse, everyone from judge to janitor will be
offered a brochure, in honor of the day, 321 years ago, when
Edward Bushell and his fellow jurors refused to convict William
Penn, arrested in London for preaching an illegal religion
(Quakerism) to those who voluntarily--but also illegally--
gathered to listen.
Nine weeks later, after Bushell and three others had been
imprisoned for this audacity in a brutal facility, the English
Court of Common Pleas voted to release them, and without forcing
them to change their verdict.
This was a milestone in English-American legal tradition,
because it not only established the power of the jury to find
whatever verdict it wishes, without punishment, but also the
rights of free speech and peaceable assembly.
We at FIJA figure that 1991 is the perfect year to begin
celebrating that event as "Jury Rights Day", since it is the
200th anniversary of the American Bill of Rights, which not only
protects our freedoms of speech and assembly, but also their
guardian: our right to trial by a jury of fellow citizens. We of
course intend to make the most of the fact that the nation will
simultaneously be honoring the very document we seek to protect
with fully informed juries.
Leading off the day, at noon EDT, we'll hold a national news
conference and rally at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC,
where spokespersons from a wide range of organizations will speak
on the importance of the jury system for individual justice and
for maintaining citizen control of our government.
We're hoping this summer to persuade a U.S. Representative
or Senator to introduce legislation naming September 5 as
"National Jury Rights Day" then to kick off the "JRD" rally with
a speech on that subject. [We'll report on this when we list all
confirmed speakers in the Summer FIJActivist.]
The national media will be given packets of information
about FIJA, and a list of all other locations around the United
States where literature is being distributed--including yours,
provided we have confirmation from you in time to include your
name and the courthouse where you'll be.
The longer and more geographically representative the list,
of course, the more impressed the media will be...and the better
will be our chance to access and educate millions of Americans in
their rights as jurors, drawing their attention to the full
meaning of the 6th and 7th Amendments.
How to get your materials? Easy: send us your order, ASAP!
If you want to take full advantage of the media potential
for the celebration, order the "JRD" Action Kit that we're making
available for $25. The kit will contain a FIJA t-shirt, 11 x 17"
poster, button, bumper sticker, a "fill-in-the blanks" news
release, 250 brochures and an action plan.
We're also working out details of cost and production of a
3'x 5' banner, useful both for Jury Rights Day and for other FIJA
events. Please let us know if you're interested, and we'll get
the best price we can.
The enclosed order blank is the most convenient way to tell
us "YES--I CAN SPARE AN HOUR!", and to order your materials.
Kits, banners and posters are still in the preparation stage, and
will be produced in quantities equal to the orders we receive by
July 15. After that, we cannot guarantee to fill your orders for
these items, though we'll try. As a last-minute option, we can
send master copies of brochures, which you can reproduce locally.
Contributions in excess of item prices listed are of course
welcome, to help defray expenses of travel, communication,
renting and setting up equipment for (and cleaning up after) the
rally and national news conference. Contributions are especially
appropriate if you cannot participate, but want to help ensure
the success and maximize the impact of the first annual
celebration of Jury Rights Day.
Thank you for your hour(s), your dollar(s), or both!