Jury Nullification Bill Advances in New Hampshire
Last week the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 184 to 145 to pass a bill (HB 1270) requiring courts to instruct jurors about juror nullification. At present, defense attorneys in New Hampshire have the right to tell jurors about nullification. This bill goes the next step and requires courts to instruct jurors about nullification. The bill is provided below.
1 Findings. The legislature finds that the New Hampshire Constitution, Part 1, Article 21 identifies trial by jury to be an inestimable privilege indicating its importance in the application of law and justice. Furthermore, Part 1, Article 12 identifies a role of the people in approving law; the only location for this consent is the jury.
519:23-a Jury Nullification. In all criminal proceedings the court shall inform the jury of its right to judge the facts and the application of the law in relation to the facts in controversy. The jury instruction shall be as follows: "The test you must use is this: If you have a reasonable doubt as to whether the state has proved any one or more of the elements of the crime charged, you must find the defendant not guilty. If you find that the law does not apply to the proven facts of the case, you must find the defendant not guilty. However, if you find, that the state has proved all of the elements of the offense charged beyond a reasonable doubt, but you find that based upon the facts of this case a guilty verdict will yield an unjust result, you may find the defendant not guilty."
To read more about the bill see the links below.
Wall Street Journal Blog: Just Say No: Jury Nullification Bill Advances in New Hampshire
New Hampshire Public Radio: N.H. Legal Explainer: What is Jury Nullification?