"Therefore, the jury have the power of deciding an issue upon a general verdict. And, if they have, is it not an absurdity to suppose that the law would oblige them to find a verdict according to the direction of the court, against their own opinion, judgment, and conscience? ... [I]s a juror to give his verdict generally, according to [the judge’s] direction, or even to find the fact specially, and submit the law to the court? Every man, of any feeling or conscience, will answer, no. It is not only his right, but his duty, in that case, to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court."
John Adams
(1735-1826) Founding Father, 2nd US President
Diary entry February 12, 1771, reprinted in The Works of John Adams, 254-255 (C. Adams ed. 1850).
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Reader comments about this quote:
ABSOLUTELY ! ! ! To say such a thing in an occupying statist theocracy's court setting today, would not only find you in contempt of the black robed priest's god court but, in jail also.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
    No matter what the judge says when charging the jury, they have ultimate power to find a person guilty or not guilty.
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
    Judge's have a conscience also and do see clearly mischiefs framed in the law. So be carful of speaking against those in authority. Rather pray that Gods grace abound toward them to do that which is right in the sight of God and man.
    To be upright in business and ones on life will get the job done. Giving examples to others that it is better to be honest than dishonest, good rather than bad. Help a good man up rather than holding him down. Unless you know them how can one speak of them. Do that which is right and you will have praise of the same.
     -- watchman 13, USA     
    Watchman, tell that to judges who rule like gods in the court room. What on earth do you mean "pray that God's grace etc., etc., etc." I suggest that we pray that in 3 years this bunch of rogues in the government are voted out. We can only hope that Hillary won't finish the job for Obama.
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
    It is not hard to pray for ones enemies. That is requested of all Christians in this age of grace. Let God have his way and not your will. You never know who will turn in these times we now live in. Try it, you will see greater results in the answer to your prayers. Many a time in troubled times we see the enemy raise their head only to be cast down that those that are approved will be manifested. So that God gets his attention that he deseves. Unfeigned love is a gift past down from generation to generation. And wins much favor with the Lord. Same as Doctors and the oath of Monades. You still have your personal freedom to move about, and as far as your financial liberty. Put your money where you want. We do still trade our labor for wages and salaries. As being independent agents. If you wish to be so. Otherwise it is your freewill to work for a withholding agent, which is not being independent. But giving up your right of liberty to control your own money. One must take a stand to be upright. It is not always easy but blessings do come if we can do as the Lord ask us to do. Bless them and curse not, for in ding so thou shalt heap coals of fire upon their head.
    learn to do as the Lords asked us to do.
     -- watchman 13, USA     
    John Adams is once again spot on. Judges can be as corrupted as criminals, that is why we have juries, and ALWAYS the defendant is to be given the benefit of doubt. As in weighing religion, juries may judge according to conscience. If we were to leave the lawmaking and judging to people who claim to know what God wants and damn the heretics (but praying for them) -- as has been historically the case -- there would be no liberty.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Thomas Jefferson - "To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so. They have with others the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps. Their maxim is boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem [good justice is broad jurisdiction], and their power the more dangerous as they are in office for life and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves.” -- —Thomas Jefferson to William C. Jarvis, 1820. ME 15:277
     -- Mary - MI     
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