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Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 27 Jun 2013

-Casting Democracy to the Wind on the Homeless in Palo Alto


Mark Petersen-Perez of The Palo Alto Free Press reports that Palo Alto, California is moving forward on a proposed ban which, according to former Santa Clara County Public Defender Aram James, would make living in a vehicle a criminal offense punishable by 6 months in jail. Speaking after the council’s decision to move forward with the measure, James encouraged homeless rights advocates not to be discouraged, noting that the full jury had not yet spoken and that jury nullification is a tool that can be used in defense of the unhoused community.

Casting democracy to the wind on the homeless in Palo Alto

For many in attendance it was what appeared to be a crushing defeat for homeless rights. Not so this is just the first round says Aram James a long time Palo Alto resident and attorney. He relates;

“Folks don’t hold your heads down! Tonight was just the 1st round, the opening arguments. The politicians just played their best hand in full public view like discovery in a criminal trial we (the public) now know their best arguments–very weak at best.

Nearly thirty members of the public spoke all but two oppose this ugly draconian ordinance. Now’s the time to redouble our efforts–the full jury has not yet spoken!! Now we organize remember our weapons, jury nullification, and the defense of necessity, discriminatory enforcement and defenses to this ordinance only limited by our imagination!!!

No jury of 12 citizens will ever convict for violation of this immoral proposed ordinance!! The community united will never be defeated by self-serving politicians. It’s time to fight back elect members of the un-housed community–including vehicle dweller–to our city council”.