Manchester Jury Nullification Outreach Gaining Steam

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Early on Monday, June 2nd, a hardy band of Manchester activists met outside the Hillsborough County courthouse to distribute pamphlets to jurors. These pamphlets contain information regarding jury nullification rights, and by informing jurors of their right to find defendants not guilty of victimless crimes we could save lives. Among the activists present were Free Keene bloggers Pete Eyre, Robert Mathias, and yours truly.

 

jury3Many of the jurors, however, had already received nullification pamphlets. Several of them came to court carrying the exact same pamphlets we were handing out. That means that our activism efforts haven’t been in vain, that people are taking their jury nullification rights seriously. We’re starting to have an impact.

One simple act of rights education. Consistent repetition. That’s all it takes to make a difference. What’re you waiting for?

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9 Comments

  1. Sorry, but if I’m a juror and the facts prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant violated the law … he/she is guilty – period.

  2. Dave you’re too harsh toward a system intended to protect you and me against unjust laws. Rosa parks is no brained of an example and professor hasnas said the rule of law is a myth. Its an unbalanced system where a group of convict happy people end up on top

    Do you have any weakness of your own such as involving extramarital relationship. Its illegal but that’s just an example

    Thank you activists. We should incorporate what dave said and advise jurors to be impartial ..I will make it one of these days

  3. True … but there is history, and then there is case law. U.S. v Thomas states otherwise for Federal cases.

  4. If the jury were only there to judge the facts, then there would be no reason to /have/ jury trials. A judge can do that, just fine.

    The entire purpose of juries is to serve as a check upon government power by allowing members of the public to judge not just the specific facts, but the overall application of the whole body of the law and circumstances to the particular case.

    If you don’t believe that there’s a place for that, then you are essentially arguing that trial by jury should be abolished and all cases heard only by judges. A jury is redundant in the scenario that you describe.

  5. A judge has the discretion to set aside a jury’s verdict and if he/she feels they have arrived at the verdict incorrectly.

    The entire purpose of a jury is to insure a defendant is judged by his/her peers and have more than one person deciding the fate of that defendant, not as “a check upon government power”. My job as a juror is to determine the guilt or innocence of the defendant based upon the evidence and the circumstances of the alleged crime, not to determine if the law is valid or not; there are other venues to decide that.

  6. What benefit does a jur of one’s peers serve, if they are required to obey the law blindly? A judge (or panel of judges, if you prefer) could do that.

    The specific reason to have individuals from /outside/ the government do the deciding, is as a check upon the government’s power. That’s the only reason to use an outsider.

  7. Are we not the government, you know – of the people, by the people, for the people?

    Your Libertarian-sideways-pretzel logic that it’s “we vs them” when it comes to the government has grown old and tired.

  8. It’s certainly /supposed/ to be a government that is subordinate to the people. But any time power is concentrated, there is a propensity for corruption. So some fairly-smart individuals reasoned that the people should have a series of checks upon governmental power.

    For example, when a bunch of Federal politicians passed the Fugitive Slave Acts for their own purposes of maintaining their personal power, a large portion of the population sat up and said, “hey, wait a minute, they are no longer acting in the best interest of America, but rather for personal power.” So, when such cases came to court, many juries exercised their rights to “veto” what the government had done by refusing to convict those who helped slaves to escape.

    That’s why we /have/ trial by jury. That’s the entire purpose for which it was created. That’s the only reason to introduce a bunch of random citizens into a judicial proceeding which could otherwise be managed far more efficiently by legal professionals. Members of the public are brought in precisely to serve as a check upon governmental power.

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