NH House Becomes First in US to Pass Bill to Inform Jurors of Right to Deem Government Unjust

jury_nullifcation_new_hampshireBy Justin Gardner

When government demands allegiance to the idea that its actions are always just, it’s refreshing to see some lawmakers remind us that we can, in fact, deem government to be wrong.

The New Hampshire House passed a bill that would make it the first state in the nation to require courts to inform juries of their right to vote not guilty when the verdict would produce an unjust result. This right, which all juries possess but may not be aware of, is called jury nullification.

Even if government has proved that someone is guilty under its law, a jury can let the person go free if it disagrees with the law and the punishment. This is one of the few ways in which citizens have power within the system to counter the irrational tendencies of centralized bureaucracy.

New Hampshire currently allows 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.” However, the House bill would have judges explain this right to juries which, according to the Tenth Amendment Center, makes it “more likely that a juror will consider this option.”

Judges would be required to make the following statement:

Even if you find the state has proved all of the elements of the offense charged beyond a reasonable doubt, you may still find that based upon the facts of this case, a guilty verdict will yield an unjust result, and you may find the defendant not guilty.

One of the most significant cases of jury nullification happened in New Hampshire in 2012, when the jury acquitted Doug Darrell of felony drug charges. Darrell was cultivating cannabis plants in his backyard for medicinal and religious purposes and, although guilty under the law, the jury refused to convict Darrell.

Defense attorney Mark Sisti utilized the existing New Hampshire law to request that the judge read aloud the right to jury nullification.

Juror Cathleen Converse, self-described as a “straitlaced little old lady,” explained her reasoning in an interview with Free Talk Live.

“Mr. Darrell is a peaceful man,” she said. “He grows for his own personal religious and medicinal use. I knew that my community would be poorer rather than better off had he been convicted.”

Jury nullification is especially popular in cases regarding cannabis use. In November we reported that Colorado juries keep letting people go for driving under the influence of cannabis, because it is not a necessary indication of impairment. The state’s legal blood-THC limit is arbitrary and not based on scientific evidence.

In Montana, prosecutors have a hard time finding anyone who is willing to convict someone of cannabis charges.

Sometimes even judges let it be known how absurd cannabis laws are. In Canada, Justice Pierre Chevalier fined accused cannabis cultivator $1, adding that cannabis laws are “outdated and ridiculous.”

If the New Hampshire bill makes it through the Senate and past the governor, it will be an historic moment in the American justice system. The current legal system is hostile to the idea of jury nullification, with judges threatening “secret juries” and police defying injunctions by removing activists.

However, in past times, jury nullification was viewed as a primary and necessary function of juries. As the Cato Institute points out:

You can’t find references to “jury nullification” around the time of the American Revolution. That’s because it was considered to be part and parcel of what a jury trial was all about. If jurors thought the government was treating someone unjustly, they could acquit and restore that person’s liberty. Jury trials were celebrated–and explicit provisions were put into the Constitution so that the government could not take them away.

Perhaps New Hampshire can remind the nation that we are not bound by the dictates of government, and we still have the power to protect our fellow citizens from state-sanctioned injustice.

Justin Gardner writes for TheFreeThoughtProject.com, where this article first appeared.

  • RJ O’Guillory

    …good for them…not that it will matter during the upcoming civil war and the elite’s attempt to impose Martial law on the citizens in order to hide their participation in the political and economic collapse of this country…but when we fight back, at least the people will know why….
    RJ O’Guillory

    • Zaphod Braden

      Will it apply to the Revolutionary Trials? Or will those be more of a ‘Toss and PULL” thing ….

  • Zaphod Braden

    Since “Ignorance of the LAW is no excuse” and JURY NULLIFICATION is LAW …… then EVERY jury should be informed of “Jury nullification” as part of the Judge’s Instructions to the Jury. If the Jury is NOT informed ofJury Nullification then any decision they reach should be NULL & VOID.

  • Marie Beckett

    Rock on!!!!!!!!!

  • SonsofAnarchy5768

    Print this article off and hand it out, the more people who know the better off we as a country are~

  • berrybestfarm

    Constitutional right to an impartial jury. Constitutional right to a trial by jury NOT a jury trial wherein they are bound by the judge to apply the law as given.

  • CAWS

    This is a step in the right direction. Many activists handing out FIJA pamphlets have been arrested for “jury tampering” & trespassing; which are bogus & will never go to trial because then they would have to EXPLAIN jury nullification to the jury, but it still puts the activist at risk & threat of violence, detainment & theft of revenue. Never ever take a plea or consent to a bench trial!

  • nimbii

    This is one way we the people can stand up to legislators who when under the influence of special interests, pass laws to serve their narrow benefit.

  • “…Most Constitutionalists favor the jury system, provided jury nullification (a juror’s right to judge a law as unjust, oppressive, or inapplicable to any particular case) is in force. However, even if jury nullification were restored, juries would still render decisions based upon each jury’s collective standard of morality or immorality. “A jury drawn from the [Biblically] uninstructed population is no better equipped to administer the just requirements of God’s law than a corrupt judge.”35 A jury awarded $2.3 million to Stella Liebeck when she burned herself with McDonald’s coffee, and a jury found O.J. Simpson innocent on all charges. Although it might be argued that it only takes one juror to dissent and prevent a “railroad job,” most people lack the independence and resolution to resist the will of a majority. More often than not, today’s jurors reflect the type of people we are warned against in Exodus 23:

    Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment.’ (Exodus 23:2)

    “Juries produce, at best, erratic justice. Without Yahweh’s law as the standard, jury decisions are based
    upon the capricious morality of its members….

    “The constitutional right of a trial by a jury of “impartial” peers is regarded by Americans – especially Christian Constitutionalists – as one of the last bulwarks against tyranny. If this is true, Yahweh (who is
    unquestionably a God of justice and liberty) would have included juries somewhere in His perfect law
    and righteous judgments. Surely, one of the reasons He did not provide for them is that juries (like elections) place government policy and juridical determinations in the hands of an unpredictable and
    unequally yoked public, the majority of whom are not Christian (Matthew 7:13)….”

    For more, see online Chapter 6 “Article 3: Judicial Usurpation” of “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective.” Click on my picture, then our website. Go to our Online Books page, click on the top entry, and scroll down to Chapter 6.

  • There’s more to this than meets the eye:

    “…Most Constitutionalists favor the jury system, provided jury nullification (a juror’s right to judge a law as unjust, oppressive, or inapplicable to any particular case) is in force. However, even if jury nullification were restored, juries would still render decisions based upon each jury’s collective standard of morality or immorality. “A jury drawn from the [Biblically] uninstructed population is no better equipped to administer the just requirements of God’s law than a corrupt judge.”35 A jury awarded $2.3 million to Stella Liebeck when she burned herself with McDonald’s coffee, and a jury found O.J. Simpson innocent on all charges. Although it might be argued that it only takes one juror to dissent and prevent a “railroad job,” most people lack the independence and resolution to resist the will of a majority. More often than not, today’s jurors reflect the type of people we are warned against in Exodus 23:

    ‘Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment.’ (Exodus 23:2)

    “Juries produce, at best, erratic justice. Without Yahweh’s law as the standard, jury decisions are based
    upon the capricious morality of its members….

    “The constitutional right of a trial by a jury of “impartial” peers is regarded by Americans – especially Christian Constitutionalists – as one of the last bulwarks against tyranny. If this is true, Yahweh (who is
    unquestionably a God of justice and liberty) would have included juries somewhere in His perfect law
    and righteous judgments. Surely, one of the reasons He did not provide for them is that juries (like elections) place government policy and juridical determinations in the hands of an unpredictable and
    unequally yoked public, the majority of whom are not Christian (Matthew 7:13)….”

    For more, see online Chapter 6 “Article 3: Judicial Usurpation” of “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective.” Click on my picture, then our website. Go to our Online Books page, click on the top entry, and scroll down to Chapter 6.

  • Globalstomp

    I do not get called to jury duty anymore, the last time I did I asked all the fellow prospective jurors if they knew about the right to nullify any decision or law that they saw unfit and unjust. overwhelmingly they said no. So I informed them of nullification and I’m glad I did the defendant was being charged with cultivation of marijuana on his own property. It’s the best way to avoid jury duty for those who hate it and do not want to return, but then those who love it can keep informing other jurors, of nullification that the judge sure won’t tell them.

  • Louis Charles

    Then live among Christians… This gives ample incentive to do so.

  • Kafir1911

    We have seen with the RINO Elites reaction to the voters selecting TRUMP as the Republican presidential candidate what they think of citizens.

Thank you for sharing.
Follow us to receive the latest updates.

Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter

Send this to a friend