PROVIDENCE, N.H. (March 9, 2016) – The New Hampshire House has passed a bill that would require courts to inform juries of their right to vote “not guilty” when “a guilty verdict will yield an unjust result.”Details
PROVIDENCE, N.H. (March 4, 2016) – A New Hampshire House committee has approved a bill that would make jury nullification an official aspect of the state legal system.Details
CHARLESTON, W.V., (Jan. 22, 2016) – A bill in the West Virginia State House would require judges to inform juries of their right to nullify.Details
CONCORD, N.H. (Dec. 10, 2015) – Two bills prefiled in the New Hampshire State House for 2016 would require state courts to fully inform jurors of their right to nullify.Details
BOSTON, Oct. 4, 2015 – A bill under consideration in the Massachusetts House would reaffirm the right of jury nullification by explicitly allowing defendants to tell jurors about their ability to nullify unjust or immoral laws.Details
A bill in the New Hampshire State House would make it illegal for a judge to stop a defendant from telling the jurors about their ability to nullify unjust or immoral laws.Details
An advertisement in the Washington D.C. Metro that encourages passers-by to ‘Google Jury Nullification’ recently raised the ire of the city’s prosecutors and judges.
The Fully Informed Jury Association put up the advertisement, telling potential jurors that “they have the right to ‘hang’ the jury with their vote if they cannot agree with other jurors!” and that “you may, and should, vote your conscience.” The billboard has been placed strategically in a place near the D.C. Superior Court, where potential jurors are most likely to see it.Details
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.Details