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Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 15 Apr 2014

-Alaska Jury Nullification Bill Won’t Move this Session

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LawBooksAlaska’s jury nullification bill had a hearing before the House Judiciary committee yesterday. According to the Fairbanks Daily Miner, it will not be voted on this session. The article mislabels the bill as HB 316. The jury nullification bill is HB 315.
Jury nullification bill won’t move this session

Advocates of jury nullification did their best to improve a bill expanding a jury’s ability to nullify laws, but the bill won’t be making it to a vote this session.
House Bill 316, a bill by North Pole Republican Rep. Tammie Wilson, would expand and protect a jury’s right to judge the merits of a law, not just the facts before them, in a criminal case.

The bill would allow defendants to argue their case based merits of the law, encouraging jurors to find them not guilty even in cases where evidence shows otherwise. It also would bar judges from dismissing jurors who support nullification.

Jury nullification advocates called in on Monday with support for the law, but requested several amendments that would beef up the law even more. Speakers like Pamela Goode said jury nullification is a safeguard against unfair laws.

“It is necessary for the restoration of justice,” she said. “We currently have bureaucratic code that oversteps statutes, statutes that overstep the constitution and we have men and women in black and white robes — we will refer to as “judges” — who have forgotten their proper lawful authority.”

She said several changes to the bill would ensure that jury nullification is clearly protected.

FIJA National does not endorse or oppose any piece of legislation, but we do track these bills to keep everyone informed.

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