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Jury Nullification Bill (HB 146)

By CNHT | February 21, 2011

Update: If the Chair of Judiciary, Rep. Rowe, does not agree to recommit, we will be having a floor fight to pass Jury Nullification (HB 146) this Wednesday, February 23rd.

The Judiciary Committee voted ITL 15-0 but we hope for an OPT-A.

Here is some info:

- Juries have an absolute right to say that the law is not appropriate in a particular case and that it will not convict.
- In the pre-Civil War era, northern juries sometimes refused to convict for violations of the Fugitive Slave Act because jurors felt the laws to be unjust.
- During Prohibition, juries often nullified alcohol control laws due to disagreements with the justice of the law.
- A 1969 Fourth Circuit decision recognized the undisputed power of the jury to acquit, even if its verdict is contrary to the law as given by the judge, and contrary to the evidence.
- But courts have ruled that nobody is allowed to tell the jury that they have the right to nullify a bad law. HB 146 would fix that.

This law is of imminent importance to many injustices taking place in New Hampshire.

HB 146 is a bill with regard to a fully-informed jury which can evaluate both the law as well as the facts of the case. The jury can then rule against an inequitable law.

The public hearing was already held, but it would be a good idea to send the email telling the Judiciary Committee to support this fully-informed Jury bill.

Topics: Bill Watch 2011, FIJA | Comments Off

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