Your Rights & The Law

Rights don’t come from government, nor can they legitimately be revoked by government.

In New Hampshire, one of your many rights is the right of conscience, here’s an excerpt from the New Hampshire Constitution’s Bill of Rights :

[Art.] 4. [Rights of Conscience Unalienable.] Among the natural rights, some are, in their very nature unalienable, because no equivalent can be given or received for them. Of this kind are the Rights of Conscience.

June 2, 1784

You, as a juror, cannot be made to act against a defendant if your conscience tells you that doing so is wrong, regardless of any statutory law or government instructions to the contrary.   As many learned in high school civics class, in the “order of the hand”, rights ALWAYS trump man-made legislation/laws/regulations and town or city ordinances.  Yet many times people are misled or simply ignorant regarding this information.

 

New Hampshire’s Jury Nullification Law

In New Hampshire there is no longer any ambiguity regarding the long standing power of a single juror to act on their conscience and judge the law itself when delivering a verdict.  In 2012 Hb-146 passed into law (the text is below).  This law affirms what many conscientious jurors already knew and underscores the long standing right of conscience as defined in the New Hampshire Constitution.

Don’t let anybody mislead you.  You as a juror have the right to judge both the facts of the case and the law itself.  If for any reason you are not comfortable convicting the defendant, nobody can punish or prevent you from saying, “not guilty”.

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twelve

AN ACT relative to the right of a jury to judge the application of the law in relationship to the facts in controversy.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

243:1 Findings and Intent of the General Court. Under the decisions of both the New Hampshire supreme court and the United States Supreme Court, the jury has the right to judge the facts and the application of the law in relationship to the facts in controversy. The jury system functions at its best when it is fully informed of the jury’s prerogatives. The general court wishes to perpetuate and reiterate the rights of the jury, as ordained under common law and recognized in the American jurisprudence, while preserving the rights of a criminal defendant, as enumerated in part 1, articles 15 and 20, New Hampshire Bill of Rights.

243:2 New Section; Right of Accused; Jury Instruction. Amend RSA 519 by inserting after section 23 the following new section:

519:23-a Right of Accused. In all criminal proceedings the court shall permit the defense to inform the jury of its right to judge the facts and the application of the law in relation to the facts in controversy.

243:3 Effective Date. This act shall take effect January 1, 2013.

Approved: June 18, 2012

Effective Date: January 1, 2013

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