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COUNTY TREASURER STIRS RIGHTS DEBATE


By Larry Pratt

October 25, 2003 
NewsWithViews.com

Should the Jefferson County (CO) Treasurer be handing out information that tells jurors they can vote their conscience? There are those who do not think so.

Former Colorado State Representative Mark Paschall, now the Treasurer of Jefferson County (suburban Denver), had made The Citizens Rule Book available at his own expense during a county celebration of its namesake, Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson did not have a high opinion of the judiciary, to wit: "You seem to think that the Supreme Court is the ultimate arbiter of constitutional interpretation, a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one that would place us under the tyranny of an oligarchy. . . . the Constitution has erected no such single tribunal."

The Citizens Rule Book has such seditious documents as The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. It contains other similar information such as this quote from John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court: "The jury has a right to determine both the law and the facts."

But to hear Paschall's critics, his booklet is an attack on our system of government. Bruce DeBoskey of the Anti-Defamation League is alarmed that Paschall is making the book available: "He is using his official position to add legitimacy to an extremist philosophy that undermines our government."

Apparently for critics such as DeBoskey, American government requires the people to do whatever they are told by a judge, no matter how outrageous and unconstitutional the judge's position might be.

The government schools have spent billions to indoctrinate Americans to do only what some government leader tells them to do. Then, here comes Country Treasurer Paschall with his book of American constitutional law and quotes from the country's founders saying we should think for ourselves. The shame of it!

"Shameful" is exactly the word applied to Paschall by an editorial in the Denver Post. The paper's editorial asked: "[It is doubtful that] this man - who has been handing out free booklets on jury nullification, a corrosive abrogation of the rule of law and the fundamental concepts of American freedom - really represents the 'party of Lincoln.'"

One way to alleviate the Post's concern for the party of Lincoln is to remind them that it was juries voting their consciences who nullified the application of the Fugitive Slave Act in many, many cases in the 1850s. This information should relieve the Post's concern - unless they believe that those juries were also exercising a "corrosive abrogation of the rule of the law and the fundamental concepts of American freedom."

Bernhard Goetz was the victim of two muggings in New York City prior to an event that catapulted him into fame without fortune. Before his third encounter with New York's worst, Goetz got his hands illegally on a handgun. When four punks subsequently threatened to open him up with their screwdrivers, Goetz shot all four of them. Acquitted from charges stemming from the shooting, Goetz was put in jail because the jury convicted him for possession of an unlicensed firearm.

Imagine what would have happened had just one of the three tearful Goetz jurors known about their jury rights. The three were literally in tears as they confessed to Goetz' attorney that they did not want to convict, but the judge said that they had to apply the law as he stated it. The judge had said that if Goetz had an illegal gun, the jury had to find him guilty and send him to jail.

Had the Goetz jury been fully informed of their rights, Goetz would never have set foot in a jail. Justice would have been done, even if the judge did not like it.

One of the Jefferson County supervisors has told Paschall that the supervisors are having the county attorney look into whether it is appropriate for Paschall to hand out The Citizens Rule Book. If the country attorney finds that it is not, Paschall will be told to stop handing out the book.

Paschall has no plans to stop educating voters and citizens about their rights. He believes that the county board of supervisors has no authority to compel him regarding the distribution of the Rule Book. Doubtless, the founders of the American Republic would have agreed.

(The Citizens Rule Book is available for one dollar plus shipping from Gun Owners Foundation at http://gunowners.com/bookst.htm.)

2003 Larry Pratt - All Rights Reserved


Larry Pratt has been Executive Director of Gun Owners of America for 27 years. GOA is a national membership organization of 300,000 Americans dedicated to promoting their second amendment freedom to keep and bear arms.

GOA lobbies for the pro-gun position in Washington and is involved in firearm issues in the states. GOA's work includes providing legal assistance to those involved in lawsuits with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the federal firearms law enforcement agency.

Pratt has appeared on numerous national radio and TV programs such as NBC's Today Show, CBS' Good Morning America, CNN's Crossfire and Larry King Live, Fox's Hannity & Colmes, MSNBC's Phil Donahue show and many others. He has debated Congressmen James Traficant, Jr. (D-OH), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Vice President Al Gore, among others. His columns have appeared in newspapers across the country.

He published a book, Armed People Victorious, in 1990 and was editor of a book, Safeguarding Liberty: The Constitution & Militias, 1995. His latest book, On the Firing Line: Essays in the Defense of Liberty was published in 2001.

Pratt has held elective office in the state legislature of Virginia, serving in the House of Delegates. Pratt directs a number of other public interest organizations and serves as the Vice-Chairman of the American Institute for Cancer Research.

The GOA web site is:  http://gunowners.org. Pratt's weekly talk show Live Fire is archived there at: http://www.gunowners.org/radio.htm   E-Mail: ldpratt@gunowners.org


 

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