Fully Informed Jury Association

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Jury Nullification | 11 Sep 2014

-Numerous Calls for Jury Nullification for Shaneen Allen


IMG_1132cropFIJA does not advocate for or against any case in progress. This post is provide for informational and educational purposes only.

As we reported recently, Evan Nappen, the defense attorney in the prosecution of gun owner Shaneen Allen has publicly mentioned jury nullification as an option that jurors have in his client’s case. More and more voices are now calling for jury nullification as a just resolution to this malicious prosecution of a woman who has already served 40 days in jail for an administrative offense which harmed nobody.

The More Monmouth Musings blog writes about recent developments in two cases in New Jersey- those of Ray Rice and Shaneen Allen. Former NFL player Ray Rice was recently released by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL after a video became public showing him knocking his wife unconscious and dragging her out of an elevator afterward. Atlantic County Prosecutor James McClain accepted him into a pre-trial diversion program, but this same prosecutor refuses pretrial diversion for Shaneen Allen, who neither harmed nor threatened anybody, but mistakenly violated New Jersey’s administrative rules when she errantly thought her Pennsylvania concealed carry permit was good there as it is in 30 other states.

Instead, McClain has chosen to make an example of this single mother of two, who has already spent 40 days in jail, offering her a plea bargain that would have put her behind bars for a minimum of three and a half years, and now pursuing a malicious prosecution against her that could lead to this peaceful and honest women being incarcerated for ten years. More Monmouth Musings calls for justice for Shaneen Allen, suggesting jury nullification as her best hope at trial.

Justice for Rice. Now let’s have some Justice for Shaneen Allen

Allen was pulled over for an unsafe lane change in Atlantic County last October. The single mother informed the police officer that she was in possession of a handgun that she was licensed to carry in Pennsylvania. She thought her Pennsylvania license to carry was good in New Jersey. It isn’t.

Allen was arrested for possession of the weapon and hollow point bullets. Why hollow point bullets? She told me that she bought them when she bought the gun because they were cheaper than the other bullets offered. Allen spent 40 days in jail before she made bail.

Like Rice, Allen has no previous criminal record. Yet McClain rejected her application for Pre-Trial Intervention. She faces ten years in State Prison if convicted. According to published reports, the plea deal offered would make her a felon and would also require jail time. Her best hope at trial is for jury nullification, as the facts are not in dispute.

Elsewhere, Downtrend.com also calls for jury nullification in this case:
Shaneen Allen Meets New Jersey Gun Laws, And Shaneen Is Losing

So – fighting back tears – Shaneen Allen plead “not guilty” and is going to trial in October.

Her last hope is for jury nullification.

If not, the life of this young phlebotomist will be destroyed. The lives of her two small children will be destroyed. And gun control groups will squeal with joy.

Ed “NJ Weedman” Forchion has also recently spoken through his column in The Trentonian in support of Ms. Allen:
Utilize jury nullification to make America free again

I say Ms. Allen should “deter” the prosecutor from prosecuting cases like this by taking the case to trial and encouraging her jury to nullify the law. She should represent herself and speak directly to the “citizen members of her jury” in her opening and closing statements. She should explain to the jury how the NJ laws are wrong or being misapplied to her. She should encourage them to nullify the law she’s charged with violating simply by returning a “not guilty” verdict. A “not guilty verdict” would “deter” other prosecutors from persecuting others in similar circumstances.

Radley Balko of The Washington Post has also mentioned the possibility of conscientious acquittal for Ms. Allen:
Prosecution of Shaneen Allen moves forward

Yes, Allen broke the law. But she didn’t use her gun to harass, intimidate or threaten anyone. She didn’t shoot anyone. Her crime was driving across a state border. And even for that crime, she turned herself in. Now, barring an act of jury nullification, her life is about to be ruined. Her young children are about to be without parents for a critical part of their lives.

Andrew Kirell of Mediaite says of Ms. Allen’s prosecution, “This sounds like the perfect case for jury nullification.”

The No Lawyers—Only Guns and Money blog says that “Her case is a strong argument for jury nullification.”

While FIJA does not do any legal advocacy, we do work to bring general education campaigns fully informing everyone of jurors’ traditional, legal authority, including their right to conscientiously acquit when a just verdict requires it. Right now we are working with the New Jersey Second Amendment Society on a Fully Informed Jury Project. Currently this effort is taking place in Atlantic County, New Jersey every Monday morning, with additional locations possible in the future. Please click through if you would like to volunteer to help NJ2AS in its efforts distributing FIJA literature.