Jury Duty


Salem, Oregon, Marion County Courthouse Room 5B, Judge John Wilson Presiding.

This was the first time on jury duty that I made it to the jury selection process. I would not make it much further, as I would be the first one dismissed for cause. I had already affirmed to tell the truth, and I was not going to stand idly by as it was trampled underfoot. Other jurors were interrogated as to their involvement in church, or their ownership of firearms. I was faced with another question?

Mr. Stevens: Is everybody here comfortable with following the legal standard for what self-defense is? Does everybody feel like they can put their own opinions about it aside and follow the law as the judge instructs?

Mr. Humphrey: How can we know if you don?t tell us what that legal standard is?

Mr. Stevens: Well, I?m not going to go too deep into it because his honor will instruct you on that. But such things as -- well, let me ask you -- what is your name, sir?

Mr. Humphrey: Keith Humphrey.

Mr. Stevens: Thank you, sir. Mr. Humphrey, do you feel that if someone provokes a fight or is the initial aggressor, then do you believe that they should be able to argue self-defense if they provoked someone?

Mr. Humphrey: Well, I don?t know? but, you know, it would depend on the circumstances of the case. But I can?t say, ?Yeah, I?m going to set aside all preconceived notions and say whatever the State says what self defense is.? I?m going to have my own notion of what self-defense is, regardless of what the State says.

Mr. Stevens: Absolutely. And I won?t be telling you what self-defense is, the Judge will be. So what I?m just asking is, if you can follow the legal standard of what the Judge gives you. I?m not?

Mr. Humphrey: Not if -- if according to my convictions and belief, if what the Judge says isn?t right, I?m not going to follow what the Judge says.

Mr. Stevens: All right.

Mr. Humphrey: If he says self-defense is, you know, whatever -- you know, it?s provoking to pick your nose or something, I?m not going to follow that. I?m just going to say what I think is right, regardless if that?s the law or not.

Mr. Stevens: Okay. He won?t say that. But if I?m understanding you right, are you just saying that if it came down to following the law and just following your own convictions, you would go with your convictions?

Mr. Humphrey: That?s correct. I believe in a higher law, and I judge the State on that basis, so I would probably make a decision both as to the law and the facts of the case.

Mr. Stevens: Do you think that might make it difficult for you to serve as a juror, since you?re going to be asked to evaluate the case based on certain laws?

Mr. Humphrey: I believe it would make me more competent to serve as a juror, according to what I believe a juror should be, and not what the Judge would tell me.

Mr. Stevens: Thank you. Your Honor, I would just ask the this juror be excused for cause?

Judge John Wilson: Do you want to ask any questions, Mr. Warner?

Mr. Warner: No questions, Your Honor.

Judge John Wilson: Okay, I just want to ask Mr. Humphrey, you?re saying you wouldn?t follow my instructions if I instructed you to follow the law, whether you agree with the law or not?

Mr. Humphrey: If I disagreed with the law, I would not follow the instructions to follow the law.

Judge John Wilson: Well, let?s say you were a party in a case, like someone was suing you or something, a traffic accident or something like that, would you expect the jurors to follow the law that I give to them, or would you want them each to be using their own individual interpretation of what they thought the law was in deciding your case?

Mr. Humphrey: Well, I believe that the purpose of having a jury is to understand a higher moral law that all people would be able to discern, rather than what the State may dictate the law is.

Judge John Wilson: So what do you think the role of the Legislature is? They pass laws -- our elected representatives. What?s their authority?

Mr. Humphrey: Sure, they have that authority to pass laws. I just -- I don?t trust that those are being well applied by judges in America today.

Judge John Wilson: We?re not talking about judges; we?re talking about a jury making a decision of the facts, based on the law. And that means following the law in interpreting those facts and applying them to a certain case. Would you be able to do that?

Mr. Humphrey: Well, who is greater, the legislator, or the person who elects the legislator? I believe that a person can make a decision as to what is right or wrong regardless of what the legislator or the judge says about it.

Judge John Wilson: Okay. I don?t believe you?re qualified to be a juror, then. So I?ll excuse you for cause, and you?re free to go. Thanks for coming down and being available. And good luck if you?re ever in court.

?And so I went on my way. Was I the only one who would dare to honor the Law of God above all? Was I the only person there who had read The Citizen?s Rulebook?

In any case, it was obvious that I was precisely the kind of person that it was their purpose to exclude from the courtroom.

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