Letters for July 4, 2002

Jury-rigged system
Oh the noise when the wheels of justice encounter the will of the people!

On June 24, at the Sacramento Federal Courthouse, the first federal case involving a medical-marijuana cooperative was due to begin [ “Judge: Hands off the jury, man,” Newslines, June 27]. Forty-two prospective jurors were dismissed due to jury contamination because of a piece of literature, handed to all passersby, regarding our rights as jurors to vote our conscience.

In a trial by jury, the judge’s job is to referee the event and provide neutral legal advice to the jury, beginning with a full explanation of a juror’s rights and responsibilities. But judges only rarely “fully inform” jurors of their rights, especially their right to judge the law itself and vote on the verdict according to conscience. In fact, they regularly assist the prosecution by dismissing any prospective juror who will admit knowing about this right.

Trial by jury is part of our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Juries can nullify or veto a law or bring in a general verdict. However, an 1895 Supreme Court decision held that jurors need not be told their rights.

Our government is “of, by and for the people.” America’s founders realized that trials by juries of ordinary citizens, fully informed of their powers as jurors, would confine the government to its proper role as the servant, not the master, of the people.

For more information, you can contact the Fully Informed Jury Association, at www.FIJA.org. Inform yourself, learn everyday, and be the best citizen you can be.

Carlyse North

Financial planner
I’d like to personally thank you guys for the recent article on methamphetamines [ “The meth makers,” June 27]. I’ve lived in Butte County my whole life and have always aspired to become an experienced meth “cook.” Unfortunately, there’s never been a public advertisement of the recipe in one of our local newspapers until now. After reading the article, I was given enough information to locate the chemicals I need, find a way to purchase them without arising suspicion, and successfully cook the meth without blowing myself up.

It’s a great feeling knowing I can continue to generate a healthy cash flow during these rough times with our economy. The other bonus is that I will be contributing to the continual downfall of our great county. That benefits me by limiting the competition factor when applying for jobs. I also feel like I’ve become part of the team. Before this week’s issue of the CN&R came out, I thought the general consensus of our local community was that dope and those who make it are bad. Now I feel like there’s more people out there like me who just want to get involved.

Thanks again for your weekly contribution to our community. I look forward to watching even more of my friends and family dissolve their lives away as great educational literature such as this becomes more easily accessible in our area.

Matt Glaze
received via e-mail

The real danger
For weeks now I have been wondering why no one seems to have noticed the complete violation of Jose Padilla’s rights. It frightens me that the article by Alan Raetz [ “Have we suspended the Constitution?” Guest comment, June 27] was the first evidence I’ve seen of the media taking notice of the reality of the situation.

There is an American citizen being detained on American soil indefinitely with absolutely none of the rights we as Americans have come to expect—most important, the right to legal counsel. And yet this story has been reported in the media with a sense of relief that a horrible criminal is off the streets. I am thankful to finally hear that there are at least a few people out there who care about the future of our individual rights as Americans.

Thank you for running this article, and thank you to Alan Raetz for your insight.

Mary Jane Bertagna
received via e-mail

Stop all liberals
I think I speak for all good Americans when I say that I am appalled by the decision of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to declare the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional. This decision was a liberal farce, as the pledge is no more unconstitutional than a common oath of office.

I have been encouraged by the support given the pledge by President Bush and all Republicans in the Senate and House of Representatives. Democrats were unable to offer solidarity on this issue, but why should we expect any better from the party known for appointing liberal judges in the first place?

Here in the U.S. liberals have a right to hate America and even to say so publicly, but they do not have a right to hold public office. Holding office is a privilege given by the voting public, and it is time to take it away from any and all liberals at every level. Whether the office is for president, governor or a local city council, we must be vigilant in protecting our culture from radical liberal oppression. We must make sure that our elected officials practice the same measures when appointing judges or committee heads.

There is more at stake than the Pledge of Allegiance. America deserves a voting public that educates itself. Did you vote for America in the last election, or do you keep on supporting liberal hatred?

Steve Thompson

Editor’s note: Mr. Thompson may be interested to know that the author of the controversial judgment on the Pledge of Allegiance was Circuit Judge Alfred Goodwin, a Republican appointed by former President Richard Nixon.

Elite wilderness
Stephen Sayre of the Yahi Group [ “Bogus claims,” Letters, June 13], it is your obfuscation of fact that is bogus.

Wilderness status means increasing restriction, Steve. Your brand of preservation is to build king’s forests where only elites are allowed entrance, while the rest of us “unwashed” remain outside, paying for the experts to cavort on our public land.

I was reminded of this recently on a hike into Mill Creek, to a spot my sons and I visit a few times a year. We were sitting by the creek in the late afternoon, cooking some fresh trout, the entrails buried and the fire some 10 yards from the water. Along came a group of seven or eight hikers. Not bothering with pleasantries, several in the group informed us that we were “destroying wilderness.” One particularly righteous young woman began spouting off about how we and our “kind” should not be allowed to build fires, drink beer, catch fish and have a dog running free, mentioning how our shoes and even the dog and its “feces” might be carrying non-native plant seeds that could be dispersed in Mill Creek and cause the destruction of all native plants.

Stunned, I asked who they were.

“We’re from the Yahi group and this is a very special place to us,” they answered.

“Well, it’s just as special to my family,” I said. “We’re not doing anything wrong. Lighten up and enjoy yourself out here.”

After a brief discussion concerning our right to be there, the group suddenly stopped and left us without a word, each absurdly following in one another’s footsteps up the trail. (I’d heard of the practice, but to see it firsthand, what a hoot! What nincompoops!)

My sons laughed hysterically. But for me, watching this was a foretelling of doom. Soon the Stephen Sayres will have convinced us that locking up the wilderness to all but the “right” people is a grand idea. Let us not be fooled by the bogus new-speak of the Stephen Sayres. The task is to find ways to accommodate all who seek access to the outdoors, not just the elitists.

C. Petty