Fully Informed Jury Association

Are you fully informed about jury nullification?

Jury Nullification | 28 Jan 2013

-Montana’s Fully Informed Jury Bill Scheduled for Hearing


Note: While FIJA national does not take any position regarding any piece of legislation, we do track legislation that is relevant to our educational mission.

We have word that Montana’s fully informed jury bill HB 290, the Larry Dodge Fully Informed Jury Act, sponsored by Rep. Jerry O’Neil, is scheduled to be heard this coming Wednesday, January 30th before the House Judiciary Committee at 8 am. It is patterned after the New Hampshire bill which is now law.

FIJA Advisory Board member Roger Roots, J.D., Ph.D. recently wrote a headline article for the FIJA newsletter entitled “Jury Justice in Early Montana” (.pdf) detailing existing Montana Supreme Court precedent regarding jurors’ rights, writing:

The case, State v. Koch, 33 Mont. 490, 85 P. 272 (Mont. 1906), led to recognition by the Montana Supreme Court in 1906 that juries in Montana have the unchallengeable right to disregard the law and declare any criminal defendant to be not guilty regardless of the evidence.

Here are the exact words of the Montana Supreme Court in 1906:
“It has nevertheless always been recognized in practice in this jurisdiction, that the jury has power to disregard the law as declared and acquit the defendant, however convincing the evidence may be, and that the court or judge has no power to punish them for such conduct.”