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Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 11 Jun 2013

-Jury Nullification, Not a Pardon for Edward Snowden


Thomas Mullen discusses the case of Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who publicly acknowledges exposing the NSA’s unconstitutional domestic spying program collecting private communications from U.S. citizens who aren’t even suspected of wrongdoing. In light of government efforts to prosecute Snowden, a petition has been started asking for a pardon. Mullen argues that this should not be necessary as a responsible jury ought not to convict him in the first place.

Jury nullification, not a pardon for Edward Snowden

If the so-called “Justice Department” is successful in having Snowden extradited to the United States, he will have a jury trial. The jury will be instructed by a federal judge that their one and only responsibility is to weigh the facts and to determine whether there is sufficient proof that Snowden committed the acts alleged in the indictment. They will be instructed to consider nothing else in reaching a verdict. That leaves one question.

Who cares what the judge says?

Everyone on that jury will know why Snowden is being persecuted. It’s not like he sold defense secrets to a foreign enemy during a time of war. He told the American people about how their own government was spying on them. The juror who renders a guilty verdict in this case is betraying his country, not Edward Snowden.

At one time, juries were informed of their right to consider the justice of the law itself in addition to the facts of the case. If they believed they were being asked to convict a defendant of an unjust law, they were free to acquit the defendant.

They still are. They just aren’t told so by state or federal judges any more. That doesn’t change the fact that if a jury acquits Edward Snowden, there is absolutely nothing that the government can do about it.

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