In Minnesota, a man accused of the illegal sale of raw milk was acquitted, not because he did not violate Minnesota state law, but because the jury decided the law itself was unjust, and therefore no law at all. The story by JG Vibes was reported in September of 2012, but is certainly worth reviewing as a blueprint for using the power of the jury to nullify unjust federal, state and local laws.
The concept of jury nullification is older than the Constitution, the Articles of Confederation and even the Declaration of Independence. In 1670 (h/t Dr. Julian Heicklen), William Penn and William Mead were out on trial as Quakers for “unlawful assembly,” as Quakers did not have the freedom to worship in England. The jury refused to convict the two men, even under orders from the judge to go without food or drink until a guilty verdict was delivered. After further refusal to convict, the jurors were jailed, but their sentence was overturned on appeal in the Common Court of Pleas. Continue Reading →