Jury Nullification Becomes Law In New Hampshire
On June 18, New Hampshire Governor John Lynch signed HB 146, which reads:
“[A] Right of Accused. In all criminal proceedings the court shall permit the defense to inform the jury of its right to judge the facts and the application of the law in relation to the facts in controversy.”
For those of you who don’t know much about jury nullification, basically it’s when the jury finds a defendant innocent because of their dislike of the law. For example, a jury might refuse to convict a non-violent drug offender because they disagree with the fundamental premise of drug laws themselves.
Throughout the United States, judges have forbidden defense attorneys from informing juries that they have a right to nullify the law based on their dislike of the law. In California for example, jurors are required to inform on other jurors if one of them argues that the law is bad. The judge will then replace that juror with an alternate. A defense attorney who argues on grounds of nullification could face disbarment or other sanctions by the court, even though nullification is a right all U.S. jurors poses under common law. …
If jury nullification were to become widespread, more and more people would again seek jury trials hoping for an acquittal. Since the number of people being charged with victimless crimes has increased exponentially, the U.S. court system itself would crumble under the weight of pending jury trials. Prosecutors would have no choice but to stop prosecuting victimless laws or face an implosion of the legal system. …
Jury nullification was used to combat fugitive slave laws, as well as to fight against laws that violated free speech and free trade.
One of the most active people that I personally know who has fought for informed juries and jury nullification has been Prof. Julian Heicklen. He has written many books, has been arrested giving out pamphlets on the subject at courthouses,and has spoken extensively on the subject.
Right now Julian Heicklen is in exile. He fled the US and arrived in Israel on May 22, 2012 as a political exile and was granted Israel citizenship at customs.
There is a warrant for his arrest in Santa Ana, CA because he distributed pamphlets on the sidewalk in front of the U. S. District Courthouse in Santa Ana. Also he was arrested for the same offense, but the cases were dismissed, in Springfield, MA, Newark, NJ, and 11 times in Manhattan, NY. However the Department of Homeland Security refuses to return his confiscated property.
In any case, it is very good to see this jury nullification law take effect in the “Live Free or Die” State. I hope Prof. Heicklen will be happy to see positive progress being made somewhere in the United States.
With regard to State Nullification, Thomas E. Woods gives his strongest speech yet on the topic of Nullification at Nullify Now in Los Angeles. Thomas Woods is a Senior Fellow at the Mises Institute and a bestselling author of “Meltdown,” “Nullification,” and “Rollback.” This is a long video but worth listening to.