LAW: Jury outcomes and selection [was: Nonproblems with Juries]

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Sun Feb 06 2000 - 14:27:31 MST

On Sun, 6 Feb 2000, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:

> The Constitutional answer, that there has to
> be a law passed by a deliberative body *and* a willing jury, is probably
> as close as you can get without an observer-independent method of
> distinguishing between good laws and bad laws.

I agree pretty much with what Eliezer says. However, lets return to a
subject I believe Sasha intiated. That of the abundance of "Blue Laws"
and other "will-of-the-fantasy-believing-majority" controlling the
behavior of minorities.

Now, this came up perhaps 6-8 years ago when the FDA was trying to
regulate the amino acid supplements market and supplement "claims"
(before the Hatch bill was passed I believe). Durk Pearson and
Sandy Shaw (authors of "Life Extension") got actively involved in
the legal action in this case (being children of the Berkeley "60's"
radical era). In some of the literature, I read about this, it was argued
that there was a legal basis for a jury providing a 3rd trial outcome
(other than finding the defendent guilty or non-guilty). They could in fact
find the law "invalid". Durk and Sandy argued that this would be the
best way to get law under which the FDA was attempting to control
supplement distribution and product "claims" thrown out.

Does anyone know whether or not this is the case and whether this
defense has ever been tried for the people to "take back the government"?

Now, that question being asked, then one gets back to my original
question regarding "peers". I would consider "peers" to be either
agnostics or athiests. When defense selects juries, can they
only select people that fall into those categories since they
are presumably the only people capable of coming to rational
conclusions based on the evidence presented.


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