Skip to comments.Another Path to 'Not Guilty'[Nullification]
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 ...
It hasnt passed yet.
Just another indication of how insane this country has become.
Such power in the hands of the common man could be dangerous, but it also could be liberating.
Something to watch
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.
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.
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!
During Prohibition, juries nullified alcohol control laws about 60 percent of the time.
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.
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.
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.
Awesome links, thanks!
What? This is a restoration of sanity.
O.J. Simpson. Guilty but nullified.
I’m for nullification if the juror really understands the law he is nullifying.
Yes, there are sleazy criminal defense attorneys; but you obviously have now idea about the number of sleazy prosecutors.
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.
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.