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Jury Nullification | 16 Sep 2014

-Jury Nullification Sure Sounds Like a Right

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Jury BoxThere is no shortage of government officials and others opposed to the right of jury nullification who try to define it out of existence by revamping the rhetoric to call it a power or an ability instead of a right. In this letter to the editor in the Concord Monitor, Michael Hulser makes short work of this tactic to send this right down the memory hole.

Letter: Sure sounds like a right

Nicholas Cort wrote in your paper (Monitor letters, Sept. 10) that “juries in New Hampshire have neither the right nor the authority to find a defendant not guilty solely because they think the criminal law is unjust. It is true that they have the ability to do this.”

Merriam-Webster defines “ability” as a “physical, mental, or legal power to perform.”

Black’s Law Dictionary defines “power” as “the legal right or authorization to act or not act.”

Merriam-Webster defines “right” as “something to which one has a just claim.”

Black’s Law Dictionary defines “right” as “an interest or expectation guaranteed by law.”

Jury nullification (as defined by Black’s Law Dictionary): “A jury’s knowing and deliberate rejection of the evidence or refusal to apply the law either because the jury wants to send a message about some social issue that is larger than the case itself or because the result dictated by law is contrary to the jury’s sense of justice, morality, or fairness.”

If it walks like a right and quacks like a right, it’s a right.

MICHAEL HULSER

Acworth

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