Dangerous Talk Blog

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Judge for Yourself!

Judge William G. Young has issued a 43-page court Memorandum condemning me as a “rogue.” Ordinarily, I wouldn’t care about such name-calling. But there are a number of factual falsehoods in his little memo about me, and I want to set the set the record straight here:

Falsehood #1:“The Court …[asked jurors] … 1) whether he or she believed he or she could faithfully apply the law as instructed to the facts of the case; and 2) whether he or she could begin their deliberations afresh if a juror had to be removed and replaced by an alternate…. All the jurors, save Juror No. 2, answered both questions in the affirmative.”

False. I answered both questions in the affirmative. Only after answering both of his questions in the affirmative did I volunteer that I was the one about whom all the fuss was being made. Earlier in the Memorandum, the judge reports that I “immediately informed the Court that he was the juror who had asked the first juror question and who was the subject of the second and third questions.” That’s not quite true, because I answered both questions in the affirmative before volunteering the latter information. The court transcript, which to this date I haven’t seen, should bear my side out.

Falsehood #2:“Juror No. 2 [Tom Eddlem]'s express representation that he would not follow the law as instructed constituted good cause for removal.”

False. I never said I wouldn’t follow the law. To the contrary, I repeatedly stated that I was bound by my oath to judge the “according to the facts and the law as the judge presents.” Some people might argue that I was defying the judge in this case, but a careful examination of the oath would reveal that the oath requires me to follow the law. The oath presumes that there is some real, tangible and independent thing called the law that exists independent of what the judge may or may not say. I’ve detailed this for an upcoming column on LewRockwell.com here. In fact, in this case the judge did a fair job explaining the law. Only when he began making political arguments – as opposed to legal ones – did I resist.

Falsehoods #3 and #4:“The Court spent several minutes attempting to explain how Congress had the authority to ban drug possession but continued to receive evasive responses.

False, and again false.

First, the judge made no attempt to explain that Congress had the legal authority to legislate on drug possession, other than a mere statement that it was included under the commerce clause. In effect, it was a “because I said so” statement. If my understanding of the commerce clause of the Constitution was mistaken, then the judge never expended any effort whatsoever to convince me that I was mistaken. The only genuine effort he made was to try to make me swear an oath to ignore the clear wording of the Constitution. Specifically, the oath I was required to swear (and was removed from the jury for refusing to swear), was: “Would you be able to set aside your own reading of the Constitution, the judge’s past instructions and judge the facts based solely upon the judge’s explanation of the law?”

If he was of a mind to, and there was legal evidence I was wrong, he could easily have convinced me that my reading of the “commerce” clause of the U.S. Constitution was wrong. He could have simply picked up a dictionary – any dictionary – and shown me that my understanding of the word “among” in the commerce clause was mistaken and that “among” really is a synonym for “within.” Or, he could made an historical argument by quoting James Madison or one of the authors of the Constitution to the effect that they intended to regulate commerce within, rather than merely commerce crossing a state line. I would have given him the benefit of any doubt, but the judge did not take the trouble to do any of these things. Therefore, I suspect he didn’t make the legal argument because there was no legal argument to be made.

Secondly, I never offered even a single evasive response. This is a blatantly untrue and provocative charge, and anyone who reads the court transcript will instantly detect Young’s statement as nothing more than rubbish.

I voluntarily answered every question fully. I even offered more explanation than he wanted, and it’s worth noting that just a few paragraphs earlier Judge Young said I had “pontificated” during the voir dire.

Even if I had indeed been “evasive” (and again, I was NOT), it would have been intellectually sloppy for Young not at least have documented such an extraordinary charge against a juror in his memorandum. Clearly, the fact that he didn't document such a charge is evidence that there's nothing to document and the statement is nothing more than a baseless smear.

Falsehood #5: “Juror No. 2's nullification effort strikes at the heart of the delicate division of labor between judge and jury that has been critical to their survival.”

False. I engaged in no nullification actions. I stuck to the law. Again, if my understanding of the commerce clause of the Constitution was mistaken, then the judge never expended any effort whatsoever to convince me that I was mistaken.

The only argument he made was to try to make me swear an oath to ignore the clear wording of the Constitution. And explicitly making jurors swear oaths to ignore the Constitution is something that clearly "strikes at the heart" of our legal system.


  • At 7:59 AM, Blogger CanvaralTim said…

    You did the right thing. And even better by publishing this judges illegal actions. If more citizens would stand up for the constitution, maybe, just maybe, we wouldn't have as much bad "justice" going on.

    The real question is, why hasn't the bar done anything about this judge? He is clearly unfit to be a judge.

  • At 5:40 PM, Blogger Douglas A. Willinger said…

    I'll send that, and add that judges as that belong in prison, along with the legislators that pass such laws.

    I am adding you to my blog roll.


    Douglas A. Willinger
    Freedom of Medicine and Diet

  • At 5:40 PM, Blogger Douglas A. Willinger said…


  • At 1:55 PM, Blogger Ganja Blue said…

    WTF moron prosecutor let you slip onto the jury. I thought they were supposed to be experts in screening out people with IQs over 85.

    Now seriously, what is the point of a "jury of your peers" if we have to adjudicate as the judge orders? Why don't we just get judged by a panel of judges like in totalitarian countries? The legal system has become nothing more than "justice theater."

  • At 4:36 PM, Blogger Douglas A. Willinger said…

    Some of my wishful thinking ...


  • At 2:06 PM, Blogger ncdave4life said…

    Mr. Edlem, I'm continually annoyed at how the Interstate Commerce Clause (please don't call it just the "commerce clause") is contorted to expand the role of the federal government into areas where it does not belong. However, cocaine is not produced in the United States, it is imported from other countries, so your belief that the Interstate Commerce Clause doesn't authorize federal legislation in such matters seems clearly mistaken.

    Since the judge was clearly right in his interpretation of the law, and you obviously were not right, I think his request that you agree to abide by his interpretation was reasonable, and dismissing you from the jury when you refused was also appropriate.

  • At 4:10 PM, Blogger ncdave4life said…

    BTW, just to be clear, I am not arguing against the right of jurors to interpret the law (including Constitutional law) as well as judge the facts in a case. I believe that they have the right and duty to do so; indeed, that they are compelled to do so by their jurors' oaths. Quoting from my 1990 copy of Black's Law Dictionary, "Jury in criminal cases possesses de facto power of 'nullification,' to acquit defendant regardless of strength of evidence against him. Cargill v. State, 255 Ga. 616, 340 SE.2d 891 (1986)."

    There's a nice, well-reasoned write-up on the topic here:

    However, it is a juror's duty to interpret the law at least reasonably and honestly, even if not always correctly, and your apparent belief that cocaine trafficking does not involve interstate commerce is not reasonable.

  • At 10:09 AM, Blogger kmtinma said…

    This sorry excuse for a judge just dismissed my lawsuit against nine wildly corrupt judges without so much as a hearing on the case.

    Copies of my Complaint and my Opposition to the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss will soon be posted on my website to substantiate this judge's criminal negligence.

  • At 11:07 PM, Blogger ncdave4life said…

    P.S. -- Here's an alternate link to that reference on jury nullification:



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