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Positive jury nullification development in New Hampshire

Jury Nullification Law Signed by New Hampshire Governor

Here’s the new language that has been passed:

519:23-a Right of Accused. In all criminal proceedings the court shall permit 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.

As Tim Lynch notes in the article, it doesn’t go far enough, but it’s a very positive development. Read the entire article for a good background on jury nullification and how it might be presented in an enlightened court.

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36 comments to Positive jury nullification development in New Hampshire

  • claygooding

    I was under the impression that jury nullification applied to all federal trials but apparently not in some states courts.

    Now I have to check and see if Tx has it or not.

    • darkcycle

      Jury nullification is a fundamental right of any jury empaneled anywhere in the country, I believe, Clay. The law empowers a Jury to come to a decision, how they do that isn’t addressed.
      This case was about juries being INFORMED of their right to nullify a law by returning an innocent verdict.

      • Windy

        Correct, dc, the right to nullify has been there all along, but prosecutors and judges have conspired to make certain those who understand jury nullification are not impaneled and that no mention is made of the right during any part of the trial process. It is also not a subject taught in “civics” in school, so the vast majority of are completely unaware they have not only the right but the duty as a juror to judge the law (and the range of sentencing options available) as well as the defendant’s actions in accordance with the law.

        For more on jury nullification please visit fija.org.

  • n.t. greene

    I am pretty sure it is illegal in some places to notify the jury of the possibility of nullification. You can imagine this would become an issue in many drug cases if the cat got out of the bag. It is a sort of unwritten rule for the uninformed that a jury is in no place to judge the laws, only to pass judgement according to them.

    In an enlightened society, you would think that we would want the jury to play activist in moments of controversy. After all, they stand in a position to make a genuine change, if on a small scale.

    • darkcycle

      n.t., Some jurisdictions will not allow you to stand on court house property for the purpose of approaching potential jurors. But only to do it at the courthouse. To disallow any communication of their rights to jurors would constitute prior restraint of free speech. That’s illegal.
      It is legal (but uncommon) to sequester the jury ONCE THEY HAVE BEEN SEATED. But they can’t restrict your free speech, in this case they are only controlling where it is exercised. Somebody please correct me if I’m wrong.

      • Windy

        dc, it is my understanding that the right to free speech cannot be restricted in any way, Constitutionally (“Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech or of the press . . .”, obviously the Founders specifically recognized one’s personal right to say whatever the hell one wants to say wherever the hell one wants to say it and saw that personal right as needing to be pointed out as separate from the right of the press to the same freedom).

        Looking at it from the Constitutional pov, so-called “free speech zones”, prohibiting a jury to know about the right and duty of nullification whether in the courtroom or on the street, government imposed censorship of any kind, these things are ALL patently unconstitutional. But then, nearly ALL of what government does and has done over the past century or so is unconstitutional. When the people neglect to enforce the Constitution on the government, the government soon owns and rules the people and becomes totalitarian, tyrannical.

        The jury was supposed to be the last check on the power of government.

        • nick

          IMO, free speech zones are an insult to every American ever born and I’m surprised there isn’t more rallying against that sort of thing. It just blows my mind that sort of thing even exists in the “land of the free”.

  • n.t. greene

    I am thinking a bit more about it, and that sounds much closer to correct. I recall there being cases against people concerning the distribution of leaflets near a court, so odds are you’ve got the facts straight.

    It is still a concept much loathed by prosecutors, and I know there are places for certain where the defense is not allowed to say things to make an attempt at nullification. That may be true everywhere.

    • i think it goes even further to differentiate someone just publicly advocating the general info of jury nullification. What can’t be done is advocate to jurors on a specific case… but then I smoke pot and prolly have no memory left.

    • claygooding

      nt,I have often wondered what they would do if the defendant while testifying on his own behalf,brought up jury nullification during his statement,,maybe the defense attorney has rules not allowing him to say anything but how could the court deny any defense by the defendant?

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    From the “blind leading the blind” category:

    Miami ‘Causeway Cannibal’ Case Update: Sativa Marijuana Type Likely
    June 30, 2012

    /snip/
    Dr. Patricia Junquera, an assistant professor at the Department of Psychiatry with the University of Miami Miller School of Science [located in some alternate reality] says that some people don’t realize there are two strains of marijuana.

    Most people are more familiar with the strain Indica, which gives the user the sleepy feeling and later brings on the munchies. But the Sativa strain of pot increases dopamine in the brain. It also gives the user energy and makes them less affected by pain.

    That’s a powerful drug hiding behind the fake illusion that it’s the same as the pot smoked in the 1960s and later, but it isn’t, Dr. Junquera said.

    In fact, a marijuana grower could feasibly grow both kinds and combine the two when sold for all the general public knows. And it is that inability to determine what is given to whom on the drug market that makes it possible for Rudy Eugene to have used Sativa marijuana instead of the Indica strain.
    /snip/

    So for those who think smoking cannabis would never make them become a “Causeway Cannibal,” they might want to think again.

    If brains were dynamite these people wouldn’t have enough to blow their noses.

    • I might have gotten my Sativa’s and Indica’s mixed up and I am feeling a bit like some munchies.

      Well, I don’t know about you but I have been keeping this page of Pete’s open:
      http://www.drugwarrant.com/articles/whos-who-in-drug-prohibition/

      Just in case the munchies turn into a case of zombie apocalypse.

      • Nunavut Tripper

        Someone tell Dr Junquera that virtually all modern strains of cannabis are combinations of sativa and indica.
        If her theory is true then we would have had a epidemic of strange events like face eating.
        Gotta run , I have a strong craving for some of that guacamole my wife is preparing .

    • Matthew Meyer

      the “sativa made him do it” link is dead…

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .

        It appears someone at Gather.com realized how just flipping stupid that screed was. FYI I actually copied & pasted most of it.

        But if you Google “Dr. Patricia Junquera” +marijuana you can see her bullshit being quoted in several hundred sources. Is this an example of Junq science?

        NORML wrote her a letter telling her how angry they are with her.

        • Common Science

          Your link is back up Duncan. In case it disappears again, here was my two scents:

          ‘Thank you Jane Brown for your thought-provoking article. You are very brave to face this onslaught of people opposing your researched conclusions.

          I am no drug expert, but you can best solidify your conclusions to these sceptics with some historical research. During the period between the 1940’s to the late 1970’s the prevalent marijuana strain available in North America was Cannabis Sativa. Simply follow up with an article on the increase of this face-eating behaviour in conjunction to the unparalleled increase in Sativa consumption between 1967 and 1972. During that time frame the number of marijuana smokers increased from one million to twenty million users.

          Your acclaimed drug expert Dr. Patricia Junquera was wrong about there only being two strains of marijuana though. The third strain is Cannabis Ruderalis that originates from Russia.’

    • Windy

      She also, apparently, didn’t know most Americans were not at all familiar with Indica strains until our Viet Nam vets started bring it back with them, it is the Indica strain in these uSofA that is the newbee, not the Sativa, which is native to this continent.

      • I don’t believe cannabis is native to the Americas, strictly an Africa/Eurasian phenomenon.

        • Common Science

          Jane Brown’s acclaimed drug expert Dr. Patricia Junquera is wrong about there only being two strains of marijuana too. The third cannabis strain is Ruderalis that originates from the short growing-seasoned region of Russia. It’s hybridization with Indicas is responsible for the twelve inch, one month to flower ‘Low Ryder’.

        • Windy

          I stand corrected, I guess it was only my generation in my part of the country which had not been introduced to indica. All we had in the 70s was sativa from Mexico, Central America, and South America. Then a Nam vet friend brought over some Thai stick (that was something else, wow, I nearly fell off my horse the first time I smoked that shit and I don’t easily or often fall off horses), then another brought back some indica, with seeds, and we were off and running, sativa has a hard time making it to maturity in our short growing season, indica has a shorter growing season more matched to our climate. Lordy we had some TALL plants in our gully and we had to put an electric fence around them to keep the deer away. that was good for a few years, then the gov started cracking down, just when it looked as tho we were moving toward legalization, so we became afraid to grow and went back to just buying.

        • Duncan20903

          .
          .

          Just because they had tinctures of Indica before 1937 available OTC doesn’t mean that the children of the 1960s and ’70s were familiar with them. Back in the day it was all land race Sativas. BTW Windy, unless I’m grossly mistaken that included the cannabis from Viet Nam. Viet Nam is on the same parallel as Thailand, as a matter of fact they’re next door neighbors. As a matter of fact the same parallel as Columbia and Panama so I find it highly unlikely that they were exporting Indicas.

        • Windy

          Duncan, you could be correct, as I recall the Thai stick was steeped in opium before being tied to the stick, it could have been a sativa. But the indica containing the seeds which our friend brought home definitely WAS indica, the plants had much wider leaves of a darker green and grew to maturity two months earlier than sativa started at the same time.

        • darkcycle

          Duncan, just because the Hippies and flower children were not familiar with it doesn’t mean that it didn’t exist in this country until they brought it back, either. Actually, the entire Sativa-vs-Indica lore is open to question in my opinion. I cannot see how the “land race Sativas of Mexico” came to be without a mix of genes. Look to South African Sativas, many of which are undoubtably inbred with indicas.

        • very little of the Thai stick I encountered had opium as an additive. It was as far as I know the best of the best and could often be seen as offerings in rural Buddhist temples I visited. Of course at $5 a kilo the locals’ weed was my fave.

          And Windy… had to laugh at your falling off the horse comment. When I arrived in Thailand I immejitely went to town and scored some herb, took it back and rolled a hooter. I took myself a walk around the hooch area and after I took 6 hits I had to go lay down, I thought I had been poisoned. Then I laughed when I realized I was just absolutely stoned.

          My fortune after the military to live near Santa Barbara and LA… Thai stick was abundant and did occasionally have seeds. Of course many of us of that era saved our seeds whether Thai or Colombian, fat Mex or whatever. The smart ones (not me) kept breeding. I still have (somewhere…) some pollen I saved from a beautiful strain of an early ’80s Oregon variation, MX I believe it was labeled.

          I still wonder (changing subjexts, but not) whether Mitt Romney’s Mexican Mormon roots are of the same group that brought cannabis back to Utah way back when. Kinda funny too to think the Mormons had a hand in bringing herb to the US.

  • Last I knew Judges try to intimidate Jurors into following the letter of the law very often. I like John Adams statements:

    “It is not only [the juror’s] right, but his duty … to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.”

    The Judges often don’t tell you as a juror about that part. Its not popular with Judges and Prosecutors. Its a good law and it should be law everywhere. A juror’s ability to oppose the court should be made known to all juries.

  • I’m suddenly unable to access SAS results online. Not sure if the problem’s on my end or the other end.

    Could someone please try the following URL and let me know if it works for you?

    http://wwwdasis.samhsa.gov/webt/quicklink/ca99.htm

  • Couldn’t read the full article..Will try the link provided later on. Still, I think this should have been done a while ago in all countries where jury is applicable.

  • darkcycle

    Hemp is the top story on Alternet today:
    http://tinyurl.com/8485ukj

  • kaptinemo

    I recall reading about a case some time ago where a raid was conducted on someone, and that someone happened to have a copy of Marijuana Law which contained a passage in a chapter mentioning jury nullification. That book was gathered as evidence. During the trial, the defense asked the judge to produce the book, and then had the arresting officer take the stand and read the passage.

    He wouldn’t. The defense asked the judge to order the passage read. When the jurors found out from the passage in the book that they had the right to nullify, they did so by refusing to convict. Talk about a ‘poison pill’, huh?

    The passage had to do with US v. Moylan Remember this. For in the conclusion of the case is the heart of the matter:

    We recognize, as appellants urge, 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. This is a power that must exist as long as we adhere to the general verdict in criminal cases, for the courts cannot search the minds of the jurors to find the basis upon which they judge. If the jury feels that the law under which the defendant is accused is unjust, or that exigent circumstances justified the actions of the accused, or for any reason which appeals to their logic or passion, the jury has the power to acquit, and the courts must abide by that decision.

    Concededly, this power of the jury is not always contrary to the interests of justice. For example, freedom of the press was immeasurably strengthened by the jury’s acquittal of John Peter Zenger of seditious libel, a violation of which, under the law as it then existed and the facts, he was clearly guilty. In that case Andrew Hamilton was allowed to urge the jury, in the face of the judge’s charge, “to see with their own eyes, to hear with their own ears, and to make use of their consciences and understanding in judging of the lives, liberties, or estates of their fellow subjects.

    I don’t have my copy of the book handy, so I can’t give you chapter and verse, sorry. Mine sits on a bookshelf with my other research materials, a petard waiting to hoist the fool prohib who wants to use it against me. It might be a good idea for every cannabist to get a copy, dog-ear the page and highlight the passage…in case Officer Jack Boot comes calling…