Though it was not the 1st Circuit, which includes New Hampshire, the Federal 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that a New York man was wrongfully arrested for his Jury Nullification outreach. Reason.com has the story. Explaining or advocating the right of Jury Nullification is not “jury tampering” as it does not advocate one way or another how a jury is to respond to any specific criminal case.
This has never been an issue here, as no activist advocating Jury Nullification has ever been arrested in New Hampshire. That said, the ruling is still worth noting.
Mark Schmidter is a free man after spending 104 days in the Orange County Jail. He was convicted late last year of indirect criminal contempt by Chief Judge Belvin Perry for handing out flyers at the Orange County Courthouse in the months leading up to and during the Casey Anthony trial. He says his fight over free speech is not over.
Those flyers explained the right of jurors to nullify convictions if they thought the law was wrong, even if a defendant had committed the crime. Schmidter says he will jump right back into the fray now that he has served his time.
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The concept of jury nullification is catching on nationwide. According to LibertyCrier.com:
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner has injected himself into a federal criminal case against the operator of a medical marijuana dispensary, intensifying his standoff with federal prosecutors on cannabis enforcement issues.
Filner’s urging jurors who’ll be chosen for the trial to reject federal law in favor of state statutes under a centuries-old legal concept known as “jury nullification”– whereby jurors can refuse to convict people under laws they believe should not be applied.