Fully Informed Jury Association

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Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 08 Nov 2013

-Jury Nullification Should Be Arguable Directly to Jury


Jury BoxCriminal defense and civil rights lawyer Norm Pattis argues that jury nullification is an important defense that ought to be allowed openly, especially in cases in which people are being prosecuted for telling the truth. He compares modern day whistleblower Ed Snowden with John Peter Zenger who was prosecuted in colonial New York for publishing unflattering truths about the royal governor.

Government spying looks like piracy

It is a sorry day when folks are prosecuted for telling the truth, especially when that truth proves that the government lies, and its agents then seek to justify those lies as good for us. How are we ordinary folks to distinguish emperors from pirates?

In recent weeks, there have been calls to create a public-interest defense to criminal charges lodged against those who tell us the truth in violation of the laws governing our new, and behemoth, national security state. If permitted, Edward Snowden could defend against charges he disclosed the government’s secrets by claiming he did so in the public interest, in order to let us know what its government was doing.

Such a defense would be helpful, of course, but it is not enough. Jurors ought to be free to nullify the law when they believe it has been misapplied, and lawyers ought to be free to argue nullification, taking their case directly to the people in the jury box.

Everyone should understand that jurors in EVERY courtroom in America ALREADY have the power to conscientiously acquit when a just verdict requires setting aside the law. Simply vote Not Guilty. Jurors cannot be punished for their verdicts.