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whiteraven86

New Member
At the present time only one of the states, New Hampshire, in the United States allows the defense to inform a jury that they can make a decision based on whether a law or punishment is appropriate and not just on the fact that the elements of a law were violated. This could be an important aspect of allowing a valid defense in medical marijuana criminal cases.

Here is the text of that law:

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eleven
AN ACT relative to the right of a jury to judge the application of the law in relationship to the facts in controversy.
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
1 Findings and Intent of the General Court. Under the decisions of both the New Hampshire supreme court and the United States Supreme Court, the jury has the right to judge the facts and the application of the law in relationship to the facts in controversy. The jury system functions at its best when it is fully informed of the jury’s prerogatives. The general court wishes to perpetuate and reiterate the rights of the jury, as ordained under common law and recognized in the American jurisprudence, while preserving the rights of a criminal defendant, as enumerated in part 1, articles 15 and 20, New Hampshire Bill of Rights, and the Seventh Amendment of the Constitution for the United States of America.

2 New Section; Right of Accused; Jury Instruction. Amend RSA 519 by inserting after section 23 the following new section:
519:23-a Right of Accused. In all court proceedings the court shall instruct the jury of its right to judge the facts and the application of the law in relationship to the facts in controversy. The court shall permit the defendant or counsel for the defendant to explain this right to the jury.
3 Effective Date. This act shall take effect January 1, 2012.

There are a couple of paths to expand jury nullification to other states.

The most effective would be to identify state legislators to sponsor a similar law and through public pressure get it passed.

The second path would be to create a comprehensive advertising campaign to inform the public that they can use jury nullification on their own, as jurors, if they do not believe a law is just. You might label this as poisoning the pool. The pool being the general public from which the jury pool is drawn.

Present law in most states allow a judge to remove a juror if the judge believes a juror is using the concept of "jury nullification" not to convict. If a law similar to New Hampshire's were passed this would remove that power from judges. Absent the right of the defense to inform a jury of their right to invoke jury nullification; a juror should come up with another stated reason for not voting to convict.
 

whiteraven86

New Member
Hamilton’s fellow Federalist author and Supreme Court Chief Justice John Jay informed a jury in a 1794 case that:
It may not be amiss, here, Gentlemen, to remind you of the good old rule, that on questions of fact, it is the province of the jury, on questions of law, it is the province of the court to decide. But it must be observed that by the same law, which recognizes this reasonable distribution of jurisdiction, you have nevertheless a right to take upon yourselves to judge of both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy.
 

Weed420

New Member
Wish all states would allow the judge to inform them on jury nullification. I've been able to use it once sitting on a jury here in Washington. I also picked up some jury nullification pamphlets and placed them around the courthouse so that potential jurors could hear the truth about jury nullification.
 
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