29 September 2009

The "Citizens Rule Book"

Probably the most interesting publication I picked up at the "Great Awakening" last weekend was a dense little pamphlet called "Citizens Rule Book: A Palladium of Liberty." It's an almost anonymous document, with one Webster Adams only taking credit on the inside cover for editorial work. The pamphlet is printed in Phoenix by Whitten Publications, and for all I know it's that company's sole product. They sell it in bulk for groups to distribute on occasions like the "Awakening." Adams presents his product as a handbook for jurors, and it proves to be a primer in the principles of jury nullification. The editor takes the once-popular position that jurors in trials have the power and right to rule not only on the facts but on the law. In other words, they can acquit a defendant because the facts prove him not guilty, or because his actions aren't criminal under jurors' understanding of the law in question, or because they deem the law itself to be unconstitutional.

"YOU ARE ABOVE THE LAW," Adams asserts, "As a JUROR in a trial setting, when it comes to your individual vote of innocent or guilty, you truly are answerable only to GOD ALMIGHTY." That personage figures more in Adams's constitutional exegesis than he does in the original document itself. Right on page one, we learn that "RIGHTS COME FROM GOD, NOT THE STATE," with a single quote from John Adams (most likely no relation to the editor) to prove the point. God's law is a kind of shadow constitution that superimposes itself on our founding law and overrides it whenever discrepancies emerge. The Ten Commandments in particular represent "GOD'S GOVERNMENT OVER MAN!" through which he "commands us for our own good to give up wrongs and not rights!" According to the editor, "HIS system always results in LIBERTY and FREEDOM!" which will be news to all those in centuries past who endured divinely mandated tyranny.

Let's not jump to conclusions or blame Christianity alone for some of the more eccentric political science in this pamphlet. Adams seems capable of generating paradoxes quite well on his own without divine inspiration. For instance:

The base of power was to remain in WE THE PEOPLE but unfortunately it was lost to those leaders acting in the name of government, such as politicians, bureaucrats, judges, lawyers, etc. As a result America began to function like a democracy instead of a REPUBLIC. A democracy is dangerous because it is a one-vote system as opposed to a Republic, which is a three-vote system: Three votes to check tyranny, not just one. American citizens have not been informed of their other two votes.

You read that right: the government becomes more like a democracy once WE THE PEOPLE give up our power. But what are those other two tyranny-preventing votes? Vote number two belongs to grand jurors; their decision on whether or not a case should go to trial is a potential check on government power. The third vote belongs to trial jurors. In court, Adams claims, "each JUROR has MORE POWER than the President, all of Congress, and all of the judges combined!" That's because there's no check that Adams can see on jurors' power to interpret the law. "[N]o JUROR can ever be punished for voting 'Not Guilty!'" he elaborates, "Any JUROR can, with impunity, choose to disregard the instructions of any judge or attorney in rendering his vote....Thus, those acting in the name of government must come before the common man to get permission to enforce a law."

The "Citizens Rule Book" is potentially useful for any American because it includes the texts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution with all the amendments. Readers might do without Adams's editorial introduction to these documents, especially his statement that "there is a great deal of suspicion" as to whether any of the amendments from the Thirteenth forward are legitimately ratified. Adams himself provides a warning on the back cover: "THIS DOCUMENT MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO BAD LAWS." Indeed it might, and that might even apply to the bad laws of the Bible" should this pamphlet fall into unintended hands.


Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like this guy is bucking for an idiot of the week award.

d.eris said...

That's certainly an interesting piece of literature to pick up at a protest, or was the "Awakening" event something different? In any case, despite the argumentation provided by this gent, I think jury nullification is a powerful tool in the hands of an informed citizenry against the many absurd laws promulgated by the US bipolarchy. Unfortunately, too many people simply swallow the propaganda of prosecutors and judges whole, and deny themselves this power.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you - unfortunately, far too many people in this country remained uninformed.

hobbyfan said...

I agree with Crhymethinc. Adams, assuming that's his real name and not a pen name, is an idiot, as well as a zealot. Not my kind of people.

Anonymous said...

The more I read from this moron, the less sense it makes. What is it with all these right-wing nut cases that they insist on thinking of the "gubmint" as something separate from the people? Because their tiny minority can't have things their way, the "gubmint" is some sort of evil monster bent on enslaving them? These people need to get a grip on reality or a frontal lobotomy.