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Jury Nullification | 18 Sep 2014

-Candidate Suggests Jury Nullification of SAFE Act


IMG_1132cropThis is shared for educational and informational purposes only; FIJA National does not endorse or oppose any political candidate or party.

This Buffalo News report on candidate positions for New York’s 62nd State Senate District GOP primary shows that yet again jury nullification is making its way into mainstream news and political discourse. This time it is invoked with respect to New York’s SAFE Act, a law passed in 2013 that has been billed as the “toughest” gun control law in the United States and which created a vast array of new provisions criminalizing many administrative and other completely victimless violations.

Ortt and Arnold square off in 62nd District GOP Senate primary

While North Tonawanda Mayor Robert G. Ortt places himself in the Republican mainstream, his opponent in the 62nd State Senate District GOP primary, Gia M. Arnold, comes at things from a more libertarian point of view.

Ortt and Arnold both say they’d like to repeal the SAFE Act, the state’s controversial 2013 gun control law, but only Arnold recommended jury nullification – basically refusing to accept the law – as a means to make the law a dead letter.

Forbes magazine estimated that as many as a million new “criminals” were created with signing of the SAFE Act. These were not criminals in the truest sense of the word—people who have harmed other people or their property. Rather, these would be peaceful whose behavior the day before the Act took effect was perfectly legal or a lower level offense, and whose behavior the day after the it took effect was suddenly illegally or redefined as a more serious offense for which harsher punishment was prescribed. For example, Dwayne Ferguson, an adamant proponent of the Act, ran afoul of the provisions he advocated for and with which he would likely have been better acquainted than most people. He has since become entangled in the legal system for alleged offenses which harmed nobody.