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Another Path to 'Not Guilty'[Nullification]
WSJ ^ | 22 Jan 2014 | Ashby Jones

Posted on 01/23/2014 10:09:25 AM PST by Theoria

Not all juries are created equal. These days, nowhere is that clearer than in New Hampshire.

A bill introduced earlier this month in the Granite State's House of Representatives would require judges to tell juries in every criminal case that they are free to exercise a long-standing but controversial power called "nullification." That means jurors can vote to acquit defendants not only if they have reasonable doubt of guilt, but also if they simply don't agree with the underlying law.

Juries in criminal cases in the U.S. have long had the power to acquit using the nullification principle. But New Hampshire is the only state in recent years to take steps to ensure juries in the state are aware of the concept.

The New Hampshire bill is a follow-up to one the state legislature passed in 2012 that explicitly says lawyers are allowed to tell jurors about nullification. That law has led to more defense lawyers urging juries to disregard the law if they find it unfair or overly harsh, say several New Hampshire lawyers.

The action that New Hampshire has taken on nullification has raised hopes of a revival of the idea among some constitutional scholars, defense lawyers and legislators in other states who view it as a way to boost civic engagement and cut down on what they see as overly aggressive prosecutions.

"What New Hampshire is doing represents the most significant development with jury nullification in a long, long time," said Tim Lynch, the director of the libertarian Cato Institute's criminal-justice project. "We're hopeful that this marks the start of a resurgence."

Not everyone shares his enthusiasm. Nullification is an "extremely dangerous notion," said Scott Burns, executive director of the National District Attorneys Association.

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Government; US: New Hampshire
KEYWORDS: jury; jurynullification; newhampshire
Jurors Need to Know That They Can Say No

Jury Nullification : The Top Secret Constitutional Right[PDF]

The Rise and Fall of Jury Nullification[PDF]

FIJA

1 posted on 01/23/2014 10:09:25 AM PST by Theoria
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To: Theoria

It hasnt passed yet.


2 posted on 01/23/2014 10:12:39 AM PST by sickoflibs (Obama : 'If you like your Doctor you can keep him, PERIOD! Don't believe the GOPs warnings')
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To: Theoria

Just another indication of how insane this country has become.


3 posted on 01/23/2014 10:14:13 AM PST by TurkeyLurkey
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To: sickoflibs

Such power in the hands of the common man could be dangerous, but it also could be liberating.
Something to watch


4 posted on 01/23/2014 10:14:48 AM PST by griswold3 (Post-Christian America is living on borrowed moral heritage)
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To: Theoria

It completely changes the meaning of words guilty or innocent.

If it does pass:
It Should give the jurors three possible verdicts that they can choose from :Guilty, guilty but nullified, and innocent.


5 posted on 01/23/2014 10:15:58 AM PST by sickoflibs (Obama : 'If you like your Doctor you can keep him, PERIOD! Don't believe the GOPs warnings')
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To: Theoria
I was on a jury pool where one of the lawyers (I think the prosecutor) asked if anyone had heard of jury nullification. I raised my hand and he asked what I knew. I gave far too detailed of explanation and he made a smart ass comment that it sounded like I was on the wrong side of the rail. Needless to say, I wasn't on the final jury.
6 posted on 01/23/2014 10:16:28 AM PST by KarlInOhio (Republican amnesty supporters don't care whether their own homes are called mansions or haciendas.)
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To: griswold3
RE :”Such power in the hands of the common man could be dangerous, but it also could be liberating.”

They already have that power as it has been used by black jurors for decades, but this law would tell them that its OK to use it.

If it does pass it Should give the jurors three possible verdicts that they can choose from :
Guilty, guilty but nullified, or innocent.

7 posted on 01/23/2014 10:19:32 AM PST by sickoflibs (Obama : 'If you like your Doctor you can keep him, PERIOD! Don't believe the GOPs warnings')
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To: TurkeyLurkey

Huh?

This is one of the foundational concepts of our country!

Ever hear of that Penn dude, the guy they named THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA after?

An unjust law cannot be used to convict someone.
Do you think a man should go to jail for killing someone who raped his wife or kids?

If you go into a jury box and you vote against what your conscience tells you is the truth, you have sold your soul and are nothing but a cog in the machine!


8 posted on 01/23/2014 10:23:37 AM PST by djf (OK. Well, now, lemme try to make this clear: If you LIKE your lasagna, you can KEEP your lasagna!)
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To: sickoflibs

During Prohibition, juries nullified alcohol control laws about 60 percent of the time.


9 posted on 01/23/2014 10:26:43 AM PST by Wolfie
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To: griswold3; sickoflibs

We need to be careful. Nullification of a law does not necessarily mean that a law if wrong or bad. It can simply imply, when an innocent verdict is reached, that the law shouldn’t apply given to the accused.

For instance, if a person were ticketed for running a red light in order to get out of the way of an ambulance, they would indeed be guilty of violating the traffic law. But the law should not apply if the motorist was also yielding to an emergency vehicle by law. There are more examples of this than you might think.

Another example: A soldier in the process of moving had a gun in his car to transport it. The gun was legal when he originally lived there, but while on active duty was made illegal. He was arrested on weapons violations when the officer checked his trunk. Per current law, what he did was illegal. But his circumstance should not be subject to the law and only jury nullification would exonerate him.

We’d like to believe that these 1,500 page bills would include some provision for every conceivable circumstance. But if this were the case, there would be no need for “stand you ground laws” as it has always been legal to defend your life. Since the details were getting muddy and prosecutors were prosecuting in grey areas, citizens demanded some protection for prosecutors by enacting laws that prevented prosecutors from pestering otherwise innocent victims.


10 posted on 01/23/2014 10:29:34 AM PST by Tenacious 1 (My whimsical litany of satyric prose and avarice pontification of wisdom demonstrates my concinnity.)
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To: Wolfie

Sleezy defense lawyers always try to shop for jurors to get a hung jury and one group is more dependable than all others at it.


11 posted on 01/23/2014 10:30:44 AM PST by sickoflibs (Obama : 'If you like your Doctor you can keep him, PERIOD! Don't believe the GOPs warnings')
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To: Tenacious 1; griswold3; Wolfie
RE :”We need to be careful. Nullification of a law does not necessarily mean that a law if wrong or bad. It can simply imply, when an innocent verdict is reached, that the law shouldn’t apply given to the accused.
For instance, if a person were ticketed for running a red light in order to get out of the way of an ambulance, they would indeed be guilty of violating the traffic law. But the law should not apply if the motorist was also yielding to an emergency vehicle by law. There are more examples of this than you might think.”

Thats a personal moral distinction.

Another one for some would be that blacks are arrested for attacking whites at 10 times the rate of the opposite, so obviously the law is racist and unfair.

12 posted on 01/23/2014 10:34:41 AM PST by sickoflibs (Obama : 'If you like your Doctor you can keep him, PERIOD! Don't believe the GOPs warnings')
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To: Theoria

Awesome links, thanks!


13 posted on 01/23/2014 10:40:26 AM PST by jurroppi1
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To: TurkeyLurkey

What? This is a restoration of sanity.


14 posted on 01/23/2014 10:41:20 AM PST by SeaHawkFan
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To: sickoflibs

O.J. Simpson. Guilty but nullified.

I’m for nullification if the juror really understands the law he is nullifying.


15 posted on 01/23/2014 10:43:10 AM PST by A'elian' nation ("Political Correctness does not legislate tolerance; it only organizes hatred." Jacques Barzun)
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To: sickoflibs

Yes, there are sleazy criminal defense attorneys; but you obviously have now idea about the number of sleazy prosecutors.


16 posted on 01/23/2014 10:44:45 AM PST by SeaHawkFan
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To: Tenacious 1
Nullification of a law does not necessarily mean that a law if wrong or bad. It can simply imply, when an innocent verdict is reached, that the law shouldn’t apply given to the accused.

O.J.Simpson

17 posted on 01/23/2014 10:48:25 AM PST by jim_trent
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To: Theoria

In the two trials on which I sat on the jury in the mid-1980’s, we didn’t need a judge to tell us. As soon as the jury sat down I told them. And it’s simple: Nobody is allowed, in their official capacity, to ask an individual juror what facts of the case led them to their verdict. All they can ask you is if in fact your personal verdict is the same as the one given on your behalf by the jury foreman. I believe they can also ask if you were coerced, but that is another issue.

This means it is completely legal for you to find for the defense because you happen to know that the prosecuting attorney is sleeping with your wife.


18 posted on 01/23/2014 10:49:48 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: Theoria

bkmk


19 posted on 01/23/2014 10:51:23 AM PST by Sergio (An object at rest cannot be stopped! - The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight)
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To: Theoria
Strangely, I don't believe in the overt use of nullification, because it undermines an expectation of equal treatment. For example, a juror who hates women shouldn't be able to justifying the decision to nullify a case of assault based on a personal belief that wife beating shouldn't be illegal.

As a matter of ultimate civic protection against the state, a jury trial has inherent merits of nullification, which is easily done without a stated justifiation. A juror will be challenged by the other jurors if they are out of line on their reasoning; but the greater number of jurors acting to nullify, the less argument there is.

20 posted on 01/23/2014 10:58:25 AM PST by SampleMan (Feral Humans are the refuse of socialism.)
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To: sickoflibs
Thats a personal moral distinction.

THAT is EXACTLY correct, and is why the framers included it. It is precisely why one is to be tried by a jury of his peers. It was designed so that the citizens could judge their own regarding the criminality of an individual's actions or behavior.

Without a doubt it is a double edged sword, as is historically evident in the south during the 40s and 50s. Our nation was founded on the notion that the consenting governed would maintain the moral foundation and basis of our rule of law.

If not for jury nullification, what need do we have a juries at all. Judges and prosecutors routinely tell juries that we are not judging on whether or not the accused actions were right or wrong, but rather whether or not they "broke this law". And that is wrong.

21 posted on 01/23/2014 10:58:40 AM PST by Tenacious 1 (My whimsical litany of satyric prose and avarice pontification of wisdom demonstrates my concinnity.)
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To: sickoflibs; griswold3; Wolfie
Another one for some would be that blacks are arrested for attacking whites at 10 times the rate of the opposite, so obviously the law is racist and unfair.

I missed your point with this comparison. We are talking about verdicts delivered for any individual trial and the justification for jury nullification based on the misuse, misapplied, or bad law as applied by the state.

I am guessing you are trying to introduce the OJ Simpson verdict (or a bad verdict all together based on social justice influence). A jury is presented with some diabolical social injustice as a reason for doubt and therefore a moral verdict is erroneously reached?

22 posted on 01/23/2014 11:04:03 AM PST by Tenacious 1 (My whimsical litany of satyric prose and avarice pontification of wisdom demonstrates my concinnity.)
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To: SampleMan
Strangely, I don't believe in the overt use of nullification, because it undermines an expectation of equal treatment. For example, a juror who hates women shouldn't be able to justifying the decision to nullify a case of assault based on a personal belief that wife beating shouldn't be illegal.

As a matter of ultimate civic protection against the state, a jury trial has inherent merits of nullification, which is easily done without a stated justifiation. A juror will be challenged by the other jurors if they are out of line on their reasoning; but the greater number of jurors acting to nullify, the less argument there is.

Great Post. The potential problem should fix itself with 12 jurors having to come to a unanimous verdict. Jury nullification should be a rare occurrence. But with some of our more aggressive and partisan prosecutors, we do see some miscarriage of justice happening, even if the cases don't finally even get to trial.

23 posted on 01/23/2014 11:07:58 AM PST by Tenacious 1 (My whimsical litany of satyric prose and avarice pontification of wisdom demonstrates my concinnity.)
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To: Theoria

Fair warning, the last time jury nullification was used in a widespread manner was during prohibition.

The judiciary responded with the use of the injunction, which created rules around a suspect so tight that it was hard not to break them. If the suspect did break them, he would not get a jury trial, but appear before the same judge on a charge of contempt of court, for which he could get a long time in jail.

Importantly, injunction rules violate all kinds of constitutional protections. They can prohibit the use of a phone, or a vehicle to travel, free association with a listed group of individuals, living in certain neighborhoods, traveling certain routes, ownership of a list of things associated with the crime they have not been convicted of, etc.


24 posted on 01/23/2014 11:14:54 AM PST by yefragetuwrabrumuy (WoT News: Rantburg.com)
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To: Tenacious 1; griswold3; Wolfie
RE :”Another one for some would be that blacks are arrested for attacking whites at 10 times the rate of the opposite, so obviously the law is racist and unfair.
......
I missed your point with this comparison. We are talking about verdicts delivered for any individual trial and the justification for jury nullification based on the misuse, misapplied, or bad law as applied by the state.”

We are talking about jurors being informed that its OK for them to vote not-guilty even when they know that the defendant is-guilty, just because they disagree with the law.

And if more of their race are convicted of that law than the others, well it must be an unjust law in their view, they nullify it.

Too bad if the victim was your family

25 posted on 01/23/2014 11:15:05 AM PST by sickoflibs (Obama : 'If you like your Doctor you can keep him, PERIOD! Don't believe the GOPs warnings')
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To: Theoria
require judges to tell juries

Many jurors are unaware of the enormous power they have received. This is likely a result of a faulty public school system turning out low information Americans.

The jury is the only entity in the courtroom that has the power to judge both the evidence and the law. The Judge, the Prosecutor, and the Defense can judge the evidence but only a juror has the power to judge the evidence and the law.

26 posted on 01/23/2014 11:19:57 AM PST by MosesKnows (Love many, trust few, and always paddle your own canoe.)
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To: Tenacious 1; griswold3; Wolfie; A'elian' nation; SampleMan; MosesKnows
Perfect example :

An 18-month federal probe into one of Baltimore's most racially sensitive homicide cases ended yesterday when prosecutors decided not to pursue a civil rights indictment against an African-American man acquitted of killing Korean-American student Joel J. Lee.
The decision disappointed Lee's father and Asian-American leaders, who were outraged in 1995 when a nearly all-black jury acquitted Davon Neverdon. Neverdon was found not guilty despite testimony from four witnesses who said they saw him shoot Lee in the face during a $20 mugging in Northeast Baltimore.

U.S. ends rights probe in Lee death Evidence in slaying considered too weak for federal indictment January 16, 1997 Balt Sun

27 posted on 01/23/2014 11:22:26 AM PST by sickoflibs (Obama : 'If you like your Doctor you can keep him, PERIOD! Don't believe the GOPs warnings')
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To: Theoria
Nullification is an "extremely dangerous notion,"

If it is such a dangerous notion, why is already law? Telling a jury what they should already know is not dangerous. However, it is sad that we need a law to help them complete what they should have learned in High School.

Don’t lose sight of what is “nullified”.

28 posted on 01/23/2014 11:28:00 AM PST by MosesKnows (Love many, trust few, and always paddle your own canoe.)
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To: Theoria

And here I clicked on this thread hoping to see hot women mug shots.


29 posted on 01/23/2014 11:31:25 AM PST by Yo-Yo (Is the /sarc tag really necessary?)
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To: TurkeyLurkey
Just another indication of how insane this country has become.

In what way?

Jury nullification is a time-honored practice in this country.

It's one of the things that led to prohibition's repeal, as it was getting to the point that prosecutors couldn't get convictions, because people simply disagreed with the law itself.

 

30 posted on 01/23/2014 12:16:07 PM PST by zeugma (Is it evil of me to teach my bird to say "here kitty, kitty"?)
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To: TurkeyLurkey

The article overlooks Tennessee. In Tennessee criminal court jurors are instructed by the Judge that they are the triers of the facts and the law. Jury nullification is the law in Tennessee and it’s almost never used by criminal defense lawyers. It probably has its biggest impact on the prosecutor’s decision making process. A prosecutor is not going to go to trial on a case where he has to argue that the person is guilty “because it’s the law”. Consequently, to my knowledge, there hasn’t been a simple marijuana possession case go to trial in decades.


31 posted on 01/23/2014 1:01:47 PM PST by TennMountains
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To: Theoria

One oddity about Stalinist Maryland is that it is the only state constitution which explicitly codifies jury nullification. No officer of the court mentions this and I suspect any defense attorney would be held in Contempt of Court if they were to mention it.

Some years ago I was in a jury pool and during “voir dire” (that’s French for “jury tampering by the judge and lawyers”) we were asked by the presiding judge if anyone had a problem with accepting his instructions on the law. up went my hand. Called to the bench, I explained to the judge that the Maryland Constitution expressly empowered ME with interpreting the law, not him. He laughed and agreed, and BOTH lawyers struck me from the jury pool.

Minutes later, out the door I went.


32 posted on 01/23/2014 1:08:06 PM PST by crusher (Political Correctness: Stalinism Without the Charm)
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To: crusher

Thanks, cool story.


33 posted on 01/23/2014 1:10:07 PM PST by Theoria (End Socialism : No more GOP and Dem candidates)
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To: sickoflibs

Perfect example!


34 posted on 01/23/2014 4:31:20 PM PST by griswold3 (Post-Christian America is living on borrowed moral heritage)
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To: griswold3

I live in Maryland and I noticed that story at the time 1997 it came out in Balt Sun,
I thought it was a great example of jury nullification at that time, and I recall hearing Jesse Jackson advised blacks to do just that,

It’s amazing that I remembered it and more amazing that I found it.

I didn’t even have internet January 1997.


35 posted on 01/23/2014 4:45:17 PM PST by sickoflibs (Obama : 'If you like your Doctor you can keep him, PERIOD! Don't believe the GOPs warnings')
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To: sickoflibs
And if more of their race are convicted of that law than the others, well it must be an unjust law in their view, they nullify it.

To my knowledge, we haven't seen this yet. The Simpson case certainly comes close. The "not guilty" verdict was credited with the doubt caused by evidence that suggested some racial insensitivity among the LAPD. Total BS and they certainly got it wrong.

I think if we get into a situation where juries acquit simply because a criminal is black, the country is in total chaos anyway. I don't know, maybe we are getting close to this day.

36 posted on 01/24/2014 8:01:04 AM PST by Tenacious 1 (My whimsical litany of satyric prose and avarice pontification of wisdom demonstrates my concinnity.)
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To: Tenacious 1
RE : “And if more of their race are convicted of that law than the others, well it must be an unjust law in their view, they nullify it.
......
To my knowledge, we haven't seen this yet”

It happened right here in Maryland, it shows why telling the jurors that its their job to decide what laws will be enforced is misguided.

Perfect example :

An 18-month federal probe into one of Baltimore's most racially sensitive homicide cases ended yesterday when prosecutors decided not to pursue a civil rights indictment against an African-American man acquitted of killing Korean-American student Joel J. Lee.
The decision disappointed Lee's father and Asian-American leaders, who were outraged in 1995 when a nearly all-black jury acquitted Davon Neverdon. Neverdon was found not guilty despite testimony from four witnesses who said they saw him shoot Lee in the face during a $20 mugging in Northeast Baltimore.

U.S. ends rights probe in Lee death Evidence in slaying considered too weak for federal indictment January 16, 1997 Balt Sun

37 posted on 01/24/2014 8:24:24 AM PST by sickoflibs (Obama : 'If you like your Doctor you can keep him, PERIOD! Don't believe the GOPs warnings')
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To: Tenacious 1

While this is a different issue, note that the Clinton justice department didn’t take this case up as a civil rights case.

There may or may not be a valid reason to this.

If all the witnesses testified that this murder was done for money instead of race or sex per statements from accused, then its not a federal hate crime,


38 posted on 01/24/2014 8:29:22 AM PST by sickoflibs (Obama : 'If you like your Doctor you can keep him, PERIOD! Don't believe the GOPs warnings')
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