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Function of Juries & Jurors Doing Justice | 22 Feb 2012

Occupy L.A.: A Case of Jury Nullification


As Occupy protesters have exercised their First Amendment rights across the country, hundreds of arrests have been made by police and numerous charges against them have been filed by government attorneys at taxpayer expense. Many of these cases are settled by protesters giving up their right to a jury trial and simply pleading guilty and paying a fine, doing some community service, or serving some other penalty. But consider the case of Steve Leaderman who exercised his right to trial by jury and won through what his defense attorney says can only be described as jury nullification:

Carmen Trutanich vs. Occupy L.A.: A Case of Jury Nullification

The case against Steve Leaderman should have been easy to prove. Leaderman, 38, was one of the Occupy L.A. protesters who refused to leave City Hall Plaza after the LAPD ordered everyone to disperse on Nov. 30.

Leaderman, a veteran of political demonstrations, locked arms in a circle of protesters. He was ultimately carried out by police and charged with failure to disperse, a misdemeanor.

But after a three-day trial last week, a jury of his peers found him not guilty.

How did that happen?

“He’s actually sitting there. He’s not making any attempt to leave,” said Jason Marcus, Leaderman’s public defender. “The only way you can look at the verdict is jury nullification.”

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We remind all our activists that we have an Occupy the Courthouse! Be a Juror! label template available for those who would like to customize our Fresh Air for Justice brochure or other literature for outreach to or by Occupy groups.