All Maine Matters

September 2006



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All Maine Matters

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Vol. 1, No. 9      September 2006 FREE

How Some of Our Legislators Think
by Bud Landry

I was in Augusta March 16, 2005 to testify on LD 103 an act to establish the Fully Informed Jury Act. This bill was turned down by the the Judiciary Committee with a unaminous vote. I have since contacted some committee members and I received an answer from one. This one was Representative Rod Carr from the Lincoln area.

I will post a copy of my letter to Rod and also his answer:
Rod, I have written a series of five articles on the subject of LD 103, an act to establish a Fully Informed Jury and on how LD 103 was received by the Judiciary Committee. I do not expect these articles to change your mind as I do believe your loyalty is to the state, not your constituents. Below is a copy of the first article....
To give Rod credit, I did receive a timely answer to my letter which was not the case with other committee members. Below is Representative Carr’s answer:

“Bud, Thank you for the E-mail. But I do need to correct you, my loyalty lies with what is right and wrong. Having spent 30 years in law enforcement I believe I have some experience in how the system works and as the constitution reads. I am afraid that jury trials would end up being decided NOT BY THE EVIDENCE, but by which, SAD STORY, the jury believed....I always welcome your thoughts, but some times friends do not agree.... Thanks again, Rod Carr”

Over the months I have read and reread this letter many times and have decided it does need a public answer. I believe Representative Carr is wrong and should not be a representative of the people. He puts his judgment of what is right or wrong over the the judgment of supreme court justices that found for a Fully Informed Jury from the first court case in the United States in 1798 to court cases as late as 1972. He places his judgment over the judgment of our founding fathers, such men as Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Patrick Henry, Lysander Spooner and others.

Rod seems to be saying that his constituents, friends, neighbors and other Maine people are simpletons, unable to reach a proper decision without the aid of the state.

Does Representative Carr really believe that Maine people have reached this stage of senility? Does Representative Carr really believe a Maine jury would turn murderers and rapists loose if they told a sad story? This is what he said; is this what he meant? How would State Police Officer Carr want the jury to be formed? Would he want a smaller jury? Would he want a state trained jury? Would he want a panel of jurists appointed by the state? Would he want the judge to have the power to tell the jury how to decide? Or does he want a jury that will do as it is told by a man of his experience? It is almost that way now as a judge says which evidence can be heard and which cannot. He can give the jury instructions that are very favorable to the State’s case. If a defendant or his attorney tries to tell the jury of their true power he can and has fined or jailed them for contempt of court.

I have come to believe that Rod Carr is a very honest man, but his massive belief and ego concerning his judgment and experience makes him so superior to his constituents, it leaves him totally unable to represent his constituents. The entire Judiciary Committee seems to have this same flaw, and it is spread widely throughout the legislature in Augusta. I would respectfully suggest his constituents elect a person who will represent them instead of himself.

Is the fully informed Jury part of our U.S. Constitution?
Yes, it dates back to before the days of the signing of our Constitution. Many famous people have noted this as one of our inherent constitutional rights:

Lysander Spooner “An Essay on The Trial By Jury;” 1852
“For more than six hundred years-that is, since the Magna Carta, in 1215, there has been no clearer principle of English or American constitutional law, than that, in criminal cases, it is not only the right and duty of juries to judge what are the facts, what is the law, and what was the moral intent of the accused; but that it is also their right , and their primary and paramount duty, to judge of the justice of the law, and to hold all laws invalid, that are, in their opinion, unjust or oppressive, and all persons guiltless on violating, or resisting the execution of such laws.”

“WE THE PEOPLE,” must relearn a desperately needed lesson in civics. The truth, of whether or not we have a constitutional right to a Fully Informed Jury has been answered by many testimonies and historical events;

Jury Rights
“The jury has the right to judge of both the law as well as the fact in controversy.” John Jay, 1st Chief Justice - U.S Supreme Court 1789.

“The jury has the right to determine both the law and the facts.” Samuel Chase, U.S. Supreme Court Justice,1796- Signer of the Unanimous Declaration of Independence.

“The jury has the right to bring a verdict in the teeth of both law and fact.” Oliver Wendell Holmes, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 1902.

“The law itself is on trial quite as much as the cause which is to be decided.” Harlan F. Stone, 12th Chief Justice, U.S. Supreme Court, 1941.

“The pages of history shine on instances of the juries exercise of it’s prerogative to disregard the instructions of the judge.“ (U.S.vs Dougherty, 473F 2nd 1113, 1139, 1972.)

The Judiciary Committee in Augusta had all this information before it on March 16th when they unanimously decided to keep secret the fact their constituents had a right to the knowledge of Fully Informed Jury rights. While THEY apparently thought they had the honesty and ability to act as jurors with this knowledge they said their constituents did not. They apparently do not trust their neighbors or their constituents.

Bud Landry lives in Abbott, Maine and can be reached at



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