Artist Behind 'Go The F**k To Sleep' Gives Away Free Illustrated Book On Jury Nullification

from the go-the-f**k-to-court dept

We’ve written a few times about now about the book Go The Fk To Sleep, and how it (accidentally) used piracy of the work to become a huge success. We’ve also written a few times about the issue of jury nullification, and the troubling trend of people being arrested outside of courthouses for passing out documents that explain jury nullification. And here’s a story that combines the two (“go the fk to the jury?”).

The artist who drew the images, Ricardo Cortes, (and, yes, who was accused of copying the works of others), has apparently just come out with a new work, which is an illustrated guide to jury nullification, which he’s offering as a free download off of his website. While he certainly doesn’t expect it to catch on like the other book (hint: needs more funny stuff that can be totally misinterpreted by crazy people), he’s hoping that it does get some attention.

“It’s definitely not such a project of mainstream appeal,” Cortes tells Fast Company. “Obviously from my perspective, it would be a beautiful thing if as many people were as interested in this [as Go The Fuck To Sleep]. But I can’t perceive Samuel Jackson reading this book aloud.”

Apparently he’s also going to courthouses to hand out copies himself. Given that we’ve seen folks getting arrested for the same thing, perhaps he’s going to end up getting extra attention for the booklet that way as well…

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Comments on “Artist Behind 'Go The F**k To Sleep' Gives Away Free Illustrated Book On Jury Nullification”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Jurors need to religiously nullify all IP laws, at least until the govt passes reasonable laws (ie: not 95+ year copy protection laws). All IP laws should be completely nullified until reasonable laws are passed because doing anything else will not give our corporate government incentive to pass more reasonable laws.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

but that’s not the minority telling the majority what to do, the majority isn’t being told how to vote. They’re not being told to give money over to someone else, they’re not being told to mow the lawn, they’re not being told to do anything.

I guess you can call it the minority telling the majority what not to do in a sense that the minority is telling the majority not to kill anyone, but I think the issue here is that this involves level of doubt. Supposedly, the more jurors that agree with something, the more likely it is to be true. but if there is any reasonable doubt, enough to convince one in twelve jurors that there is a reasonable doubt, then we should not risk murdering an innocent person.

and I think the majority agree with this rule.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

It is still the same result: The guilty person isn’t guilty, because one person doesn’t think they broke the law – or that they don’t agree with the law.

You can null a jury with a single hold out, causes a hung jury, which means a re-trial, which is often unlikely.

It means that the minority can tell the majority to go stick it.

American A-hole says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

A hung jury case can be retried. A not guilty verdict cannot.

Do you see the difference?

Typically hung juries are based on a disagreement about the reasonable doubt of the prosecution’s case. With jury nullification, it’s entirely about the justification of a particular law.

So, let’s take a drug case (heroin). User is caught with enough to reach over the distribution threshold and it becomes Serious Business.

Only, in this case, the defendant has stage four bone cancer and morphine isn’t cutting it for the pain. Thsi information comes out at trial.

Despite it meeting all the requirements for being a distributor, I’d damned straight go the nullification option because in this narrow instance the law makes no sense.

Jose_X (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

So, to recap this thread, jury nullification is not the “flaw”. This minority power is inherent in the jury system itself which says that all 12 must agree.

And a mistrial means that even if someone was going to vote against the majority on account of belief, a retrial would again have to come upon 1 more such person.. in each and every case of a retrial.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Jury nullification: The ultimate in the minority telling the majority what to do. You only need 1 out 12 to make it happen.

How do you feel about 537 people telling 311 million people what to do?

Does it make it better or worse that the 311 million only have the tiniest way to influence 5 of 537?

No, wait, that’s arguably 4 since 2 of the 5 go together.

Well, if we want to be technical, a large portion of the 311 million’s votes also don’t count since some states only end up one way, and most still have a winner take all electoral vote system. So its down to 3.

Oh, and almost forgot about district gerrymandering, so that further reduces many’s votes. Looks like many are down to 2 votes, and they can only exercise them 2 out of 3 election cycles.

And I didn’t even have to mention lobbyists yet. What’s so great about representative democracy now?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Josh, and amusing story, but each of those 311 millon voters got a chance to cast their vote. Is it the system’s fault that in most states, people tend to vote one side or the other heavily? Did you check out the popular vote (overall) where the winner by electoral college has also been the winner by popular vote almost every time?

Your whining is amusing, but misguided.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Have you looked into the voting issues of 51 different states?

Getting anything close to a proportional vote or a candidate that votes near your interests is very much impossible.

Don’t even get me started on the other issues such as tort reform, healthcare or the various other issues where people have to be heard.

Jon B. (profile) says:

I honestly don’t know how I feel about jury nullification in general…

If a person is found guilty of a completely retarded law, that could create enough public outrage to have the law overturned (hopefully in a way that frees the “guilty”)

If a person is guilty of a completely retarded law, but found innocent through jury nullification, the law still exists and doesn’t prevent the next person from being found guilty of the same retarded law.

Of course, if it were me on trial, I’d probably be all for it, and I’m not particularly against it in any ethical sense.

Jon B. (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

It’s a good power to have but a sort of weak one. It should be easier for the “people” to have laws overturned. For example, we should create a system where the jury can go beyond just saying “not guilty” but also force the judge to rule on constitutionality of the law or force a referendum to the legislature on repealing the law.

Now, there might be better ways to do that, but still the People need more power than to just stick their tongues out at the law in isolated cases.

Anonymous Coward says:

Jury Nullification has a sordid history

While Jury Nullification does appeal to those who think that when the democratically elected government fails us, it’s time to take matters into our own hands, it is not without its shameful history.

During Jim Crow, jury nullification was used repeatedly by all-white juries to effectively decriminalize murder of minorities. A white man simply could not get convicted for murder of a black man, even if he confessed, there were witnesses, and evidence. The jury just would just refuse to convict him, under the notion that there was nothing wrong with killing a black person.

Ever since desegregation, judges and prosecutors have had a very dim view of nullification…

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Jury Nullification has a sordid history

During Jim Crow, jury nullification was used repeatedly by all-white juries to effectively decriminalize murder of minorities. A white man simply could not get convicted for murder of a black man, even if he confessed, there were witnesses, and evidence. The jury just would just refuse to convict him, under the notion that there was nothing wrong with killing a black person.

On the other side of the coin, jury nullification was also used to invalidate the fugitive slave laws that required non-slavery states to return runaway slaves.

It is also believed the jury nullification played a role in repealing Prohibition.

As with all tools, it can be used for either good or bad.

out_of_the_blue says:

In America, jurors judge the law itself too.

So much has been swept into the memory hole by people just going along with what some gov’t thug tells them. Makes it diffcult for the few who are aware to even get to a jury trial.

By the way, on any traffic infraction (which are /not/ crimes), you should file a written motion for jury trial, and get a dated copy back from the clerk. Whether you wimp out or not, preserve the right: without a written motion, you’ll find that right is effectively denied when you get out of traffic court and to a real court. Filing a motion is not difficult. Just put the case number and adversaries on a piece of paper and “Defendant moves for jury trial”, and sign it. But beware of tricks. I’ve had a judge try to hand me that back — which is a crime, to refuse to accept a motion — saying it didn’t apply. IF there were any justice around, he’d have gone to jail.

PrometheeFeu (profile) says:

It should be noted that book is not really about jury nullification in general. It is specifically about using jury nullification to end the war on peaceful people only some of whom use substances the federal government disapproves of. (also known as the war on drugs by the people who like shooting people who have harmed no one.)

PS: I wholeheartedly approve of the purpose of this book, but I feel this should be mentioned.

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