Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Jury Nullification

With the recent focus on the Supreme Court and its decisions on Arizona's immigration law, the healthcare affordability act, and lab analysts (Williams), a significant decision by Judge Kimba Wood in the SDNY went in large part unnoticed.  The US Attys office had charged 80 year old chemistry professor Julian Heicklen with jury tampering for standing outside of the courthouse and handing out pamphlets advising potential jurors of the their right to exercise the power of jury nullification.  The case had raised a number of issues including the interplay between the statute and the First Amendment.    Judge Wood dismissed the Indictment.  For the full story see:

Someday before I retire perhaps we will see further empowerment of the jury in criminal cases by allowing them to be informed of the potential penalties the defendant faces and their right to nullify.