FULLY INFORMED JURY BILL HEARINGS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE GENERAL COURT
The New Hampshire State Legislature, formally known as their "General Court,'" continues to see legislation introduced that hits at power structures, both federally and for its own state citizens. (search) (additional search)
The latest bill being hailed by the people of New Hampshire is HR 530: An Act relative to an informed jury. The bill reads as follows:
HB 530 – As Introduced 2005
The bill states that a criminal defendant has a right that the court instruct the jury of its inherent right to disregard the law and the facts in controversy and to nullify.
Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics. Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struck through.] Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
State of New Hampshire In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Five
AN ACT relative to an informed jury.
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
1 Findings and Intent. Under the decisions of both the New Hampshire supreme court and the United States supreme court, the jury has an undeniable right to judge both the law and the facts in controversy. The jury system functions at its best when it is fully informed of these 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.
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 instruct the jury of its inherent right to judge the law as well as the facts and to nullify.
3 Effective Date. This act shall take effect January 1, 2006.
If past experience is an indicator of future success, this bill will meet with stiff opposition as courts and prosecutors, both federal and state, don't want the American people to know they have the right to judge the law as well as the facts. Jury nullification is only whispered about in court rooms. Judges who actually are only referees in the court room, never inform juries of their rights. However, when the rare individual does step forward and request their rights, they are usually let go. One case which received no media attention to speak of was that of Hoppy Heidelberg, foreman of the original grand jury looking into charges against Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. Heidelberg requested the hand book of jurors rights, asked questions and requested experts to assist his grand jury in making a fully informed decision. His reward: the judge kicked him off the grand jury.
Informed Jury Association is a nationwide organization whose mission
is to help Americans understand their rights and power as a juror.
The next hearing date for HR 530 is March 17, 2005 and sponsors of
the bill are asking all citizens in the State of New Hampshire to
get out the word and put pressure on their state representatives at
the Capitol to vote yes on this legislation.
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The Fully Informed Jury Association is a nationwide organization whose mission is to help Americans understand their rights and power as a juror.