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Ooops, sorry if I offended anyone … is basically the response Judge Amy Salerno of Franklin County, Ohio gave after getting called out for scolding the jury for their verdict. She then went further by threatening them that she would keep having a trial until the right verdict came in.
She is a rare one that got pulled out into the limelight. But judges everywhere use the jury as their personal Magic 8 ball, shaking it till they get the response they want – a response which almost always is one that throws the defendant in prison. [Turn volume up.]
Why even have a jury at all anymore…
The jurors became upset that Salerno boldly and publicly chastised them for reaching the “wrong” verdict.
Fortunately, these jury members complained, and the administrative judge who is taking it seriously. Her apology which includes this gem of a qualification: “I am sorry if my words, in any way, have offended. I can appreciate how they could be taken in some other way…” shows that she knows she went too far this time. Unfortunately, judges are often partial and will trample rights as long as it’s tolerated.
Granted, a judge can scold whomever they wish. But, telling them it’s okay because she’ll get another chance to “get this defendant” shows an obstruction of natural justice which is what the jury provides with their decision.
For instance, there is the Wisconsin judge who decided no one has any inherent right to eat the food of their choice.
The kangaroo court case of dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger is a perfect example of a judge run amok. Justice in the midst of so many lies was only finally partially served after major, major battle, outcry, and undying support for the defendant. And even then it left a battle-weary disillusioned jury in its wake. If the judge and state prosecutors wanted converts, they sure went about it wrong.
Not only did the judge shuffle the jury out of the room repeatedly, but he instructed them NOT to vote with their conscience. The fact that a judge would openly say that shows how perverted justice is and how ignorant jurors can be – but I can’t blame them because if we are told a lie long enough we have this tendency to believe it.
Then there is Alvin Schlangen who, like Hershberger, was acquitted for providing raw milk in a private food club. Now, he is being tried again for the same charges in a neighboring county – that’s what lots of us like to call “double jeopardy.”
One would almost suspect that the judges are in some sort of club. I’ll leave that one for speculation.
If this didn’t happen often, there wouldn’t be need for organizations like Fully Informed Jury Association – which believe it or not spread influence into Minnesota which is how Schlangen was acquitted the first time! Or at least the people there know their rights from some source; but jury activism is big there.
Don’t let a judge tell you you’re wrong – as a juror, you’re never wrong. Know your jury rights! Spread the message far and wide!
Read up on the Vernon Hershberger series to learn about food and juror rights – see a real kangaroo court in action!
Read Other Articles by Heather Callaghan