NH Supreme Court Decides “Jury Nullification” Law Not A Jury Nullification Law

Rich Paul 420 2014

Rich Paul

I always thought the language in RSA 519:23-a (commonly referred to as the jury nullification statute) was weak. In fact, the state’s attorney argued in front of the NH supreme court that before it passed into law, the legislature stripped all mention of jury nullification from the original bill. From the state’s perspective, their attorney was correct, and the supreme court unanimously affirmed that the statute is not a jury nullification statute.  Here’s their seven-page decision.

The statute in question is a shadow of what it should have been. Perhaps the legislature can try again and get it right this time. Until then, whether or not a defendant will be allowed to tell a jury about nullification (which has happened multiple times thus far in NH) remains up-to-the-judge in the case, it seems.  Stay tuned to Free Keene for or NHJury.com for the latest news about jury rights in New Hampshire.

Reason has an excellent take on the news here, and FIJA’s opinion is here.

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