Archive for July 2017

The Bundy Affair #21 – Batson Challenge – in the Name of Injustice

The Bundy Affair #21
Batson Challenge – in the Name of Injustice

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
July 31, 2017


In “Liberty or Laws?  – Justice or Despotism?“, I discussed how the case law method provides the government, through judicial proceedings, to move, a decision at a time, away from the intent of the Constitution.  In recent events in the second Tier 3 trial, only two-thirds of the trial was declared a “mistrial”, while the other third was not declared a mistrial.  I say this because the first trial, by the government’s design, included six defendants, all of whom were accused of wielding firearms on April 12, 2014, when the Bureau of Land Management returned the surviving captured cattle to their rightful owner.  Two defendants were found guilty of some of the charges.  The remaining four were not found guilty of any of the charges, though they were also not found not guilty.  So, there was no mistrial on the two, but there was a mistrial in the same singular trial of the other four.

Now comes the second trial, and the subject of this article.  Jury selection occupied the first two days of the trial and much of the third day.  Now, in jury selection, each side, Prosecution and Defense, may challenge a juror for cause.  Each side also has what are called “peremptory challenges”.  This is the definition of peremptory challenges found in Black’s Law Dictionary, Fifth Edition:

Peremptory challenge.  A request from a party that a judge not allow a certain prospective juror to be a member of the jury.  No reason or “cause” need be stated for this type of challenge.  The number of peremptory challenges afforded each party is normally set by statute or court rule.

However, on the third day of trial, the government, apparently butt-hurt over the Defendant’s Peremptory Challenges, brought up what is known as a “Batson Challenge”, historically exercised by the defense, not by the prosecution.  They allege that the peremptory challenges were intentionally applied (state of mind) to exclude certain potential jurors.  Well, it appears that the Defendants cannot have a state of mind presented in Court as to why they went from their homes to Bunkerville, but they can be held accountable for their state of mind when it comes to jury selection.

Background of the Batson Challenge

The Batson Challenge is based upon a 1986 United States Supreme Court decision in Batson v Kentucky 476 US 79.  It deals with the Defendant’s right to challenge a jury makeup if the government’s peremptory challenges create a gender or racial bias in the jury.  First, a little background based upon earlier decisions.  In reviewing these cases, you will see that the original protection afforded to the people by the Constitution is slowly being chipped away.  In this current trial, the right protected for the people is now being used to afford the government the opportunity to claim a right that was intended to be a prohibition against the government.

As early as 1879, the United States Supreme Court ruled on the right of the defendant, with regard to the use by the prosecution of Peremptory Challenges, to stack the jury.  The case was Strauder v. West Virginia, 100 US 303.  Based upon the 14th Amendment, the decision stated, “that a State denies a black defendant equal protection when it puts him on trial before a jury from which members of his race have been purposefully excluded.”  [Quoted portion cited from Batson v. Kentucky.]

Strauder goes on to say that “A defendant has no right to a petit jury composed in whole or in part of persons of his own race.  However, the Equal Protection Clause guarantees the defendant that the State will not exclude members of his race from the jury venire on account of race, or on the false assumption that members of his race as a group are not qualified to serve as jurors.  By denying a person participation in jury service on account of his race, the State also unconstitutionally discriminates against the excluded juror.”  [Quoted portion cited from Batson v. Kentucky.]

Interestingly, that underlined portion from Batson, “By denying a person participation in jury service on account of his race, the State also unconstitutionally discriminates against the excluded juror “, presumes that the juror has a right to sit on the jury, nearly equal to the right of the defendant.  This appears to be a very early example of Civil Rights (See Liberty or Laws? – Natural Rights versus Civil Rights), whereby the government grants a civil right at the expense of one who previously enjoyed a natural right.

However, note that since the Bill of Rights, particularly the Fifth Amendment, guarantees the people the right to a trial by jury, it does not grant that right to the jury.  If anything, the jury has no right to refuse jury service, unless they are otherwise exempted.  The Bill of Rights was to protect us from the government.  It was never intended to provide the government the means to remove our protection from the actions of that government.

What the Batson decision does not provide, however, is the background of Strauder.  Strauder was indicted for murder.  He was an ex-slave, and the indictment was tried in a West Virginia Circuit Court and found guilty.  His case then went to the West Virginia Supreme Court, where they upheld the lower court’s verdict.  It then went to the United States Supreme Court on a Writ of Error.  So, taking from the Strauder decision, we find what led to the composition of the jury in the Circuit Court trial, to wit:

In the Circuit Court of the State, before the trial of the indictment was commenced, the defendant presented his petition, verified by his oath, praying for a removal of the cause into the Circuit Court of the United States, assigning, as ground for the removal, that ‘by virtue of the laws of the State of West Virginia no colored man was eligible to be a member of the grand jury or to serve on a petit jury in the State; that white men are so eligible, and that by reason of his being a colored man and having been a slave, he had reason to believe, and did believe, he could not have the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings in the State of West Virginia for the security of his person as is enjoyed by white citizens, and that he had less chance of enforcing in the courts of the State his rights on the prosecution, as a citizen of the United States, and that the probabilities of a denial of them to him as such citizen on every trial which might take place on the indictment in the courts of the State were much more enhanced than if he was a white man.’

This led to West Virginia, not a seceding state that would have been required to rewrite its constitution, to revise its laws on jury makeup.  This, of course, was a consequence of the due process provision of the 14th Amendment.

As I have said in the past, the presumption of innocence was based upon the fact that the Indictment (the alleged story of events) was on trial, not the defendant.  However, we have lost sight of that concept and now perceive the guilt of the defendant (the focus) as the purpose of the trial, not the validity of the Indictment.  Subtle, but still effective.

The Batson decision also provides the following:

[T]he Kentucky Supreme Court observed that recently, in another case, it had relied on Swain v. Alabama, 380 U.S. 202, and had held that a defendant alleging lack of a fair cross section must demonstrate systematic exclusion of a group of jurors from the venire.

So, in this citation, the defendant has the burden of proving that the prosecution has not used “systematic exclusion” in their use of their peremptory challenges.  However, as we will see, in the current case, that burden will be transferred to the prosecution, and the defendant is accused of “systematic exclusion”.

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Liberty or Laws – Justice or Despotism

Liberty or Laws?

Justice or Despotism?

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
July 10, 2017

When the colonies severed their allegiance to England, in 1776, through the adoption of the Constitution in 1789, they had to have some form of law upon which to deal with matters, both criminal and civil.  To do so, they adopted the Common Law of England, as it existed on July 4, 1776.  This, then, became the foundation of laws upon which both the federal government and state governments began the process of developing their judicial systems.

What is important to understand is that the laws that they adopted were concerned with Justice.  For example, though Webster’s 1828 dictionary has no definition of “judicial”, an adjective, it does have one for that body that is responsible for that function of government, the Judiciary:

JUDI’CIARY, n.  That branch of government which is concerned in the trial and determination of controversies between parties, and of criminal prosecutions; the system of courts of justice in a government.  An independent judiciary is the firmest bulwark of freedom.

Through our history, there have been legal scholars who stand well above the current lot, in that their concern for justice was paramount in their considerations, and the subject of much of their scholarly writings.

Perhaps the best known of these legal scholars was Sir William Blackstone (1723-1780), and his seminal “Blackstone’s Commentaries.  From Book 1 of those Commentaries, we find some familiar phraseology:

“[A] subordinate right of every Englishman is that of applying to the courts of justice for redress of injuriesSince the law is in England the supreme arbiter of every man’s life, liberty, and property, courts of justice must at all times be open to the subject, and the law be duly administered therein.”

“And we have seen that these rights consist, primarily, in the free enjoyment of personal security, of personal liberty, and of private property.”

Of course, personal security is best defined as “life”, as without it, we have nothing.  And, Blackstone used the common term, “property”, as did most of the declarations of independence that predate Jefferson’s more poetic version.

What else did Sir Blackstone tells us about justice that was of extreme importance then, and should be equally so, now.  When he discusses Felony Guilt, he states his understanding and then refers to another scholar, Sir Matthew Hale (1609-1676), from Book 4:

“Presumptive Evidence of Felony.  All presumptive evidence of felony should be admitted cautiously; for the law holds it better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent party suffer.  Sir Matthew Hale lays down two rules: (1) Never to convict a man for stealing the goods of a person unknown, merely because he will not account how he came by them; unless an actual felony be proved of such goods.  (2) Never to convict any person of murder or manslaughter, till at least the body be found dead.”

This subject can easily be set aside by the government simply stating that “times have changed”, since Blackstone wrote the Commentaries in the 1760s.  However, that discounts the fact that justice cannot change, only the misapplication of justice can change.  That latter is quite simply defined as injustice.

The Constitution provided two means by which the constitutionality of a law could be challenged.  The first, found in Article I, § 9, clause 2:

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Independence Day 2017

Independence Day 2017

Fourth day of July, in the Year of our Lord 2017
and of Our Independence, 241

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
July 4, 2017 – Independence Day

Many, now, seek to re-declare our Independence, though they have yet to explain from who or what we are declaring Independence.  Instead, perhaps, we need to address a declaration of dependence on the Constitution.

To do so, we must first acknowledge the failure by the current government, instituted under that Constitution, to fulfill the provisions and obligations that brought that government into existence — by and under the Constitution.

The grievances we have bear similarities to those expressed in the “Glorious” Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776.

Based upon the concepts of John Locke (1632-1704), the same concept of dissolution of government recognized by the Founders is applicable today.  Locke explained that we had no right to dissolve the government, though the government by deviating from its intended purpose, in that failure, dissolves itself.  It is only for us to recognize that failure to recognize that dissolution.  (See Sons of Liberty #14)

To assure obedience to the Constitution, twelve articles were submitted to the States for ratification as amendments to the Constitution.  When Congress submitted those articles to the States, they prefaced that submission with a preamble, to set forth the purpose thereto:


Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on
Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

The Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

* * *

We must ask ourselves whether that confidence continues, as was intended, or if that government has failed in its purpose by misconstruction or abuse of its powers.

The North Carolina Supreme Court properly expressed the solution to this failure of the government to abide by the constraints even before the federal Constitution was submitted to the States.

In Bayard v. Singleton [1 N.C. 42; 1787], the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled on a case where the legislature had enacted a law contrary to the North Carolina Constitution.  In overturning that law, that Court stated:

“But that it was clear that no act they [the legislature] could pass could by any means repeal or alter the constitution, because if they could do this, they would at the same instant of time destroy their own existence as a legislature and dissolve the government thereby established.”

In light of the above concepts, those same held by the Founders, let us reconsider the approach that is consistent with our creation as a nation, and submit the facts “to a candid world”.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Declaration of Dissolution of Government

When a government, properly instituted under the authority of the People, by virtue of the Constitution for the United States of America, has abrogated its responsibility under said Constitution, and has removed itself from responsibilities imposed upon it by said Constitution, and, when those People choose to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to recognize such Dissolution of Government.

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