Today I conducted a jury nullification outreach operation in Concord.
Jury nullification is where a hung jury prevents a defendant from being convicted, even if the letter of the law would say otherwise. This is used to prevent unjust applications of the law, or unjust laws from being enforced. Jury rights activists inform jurors of this right by distributing pamphlets outside of courthouses.
A woman was smoking outside the courthouse and asked what I was doing. I explained I was educating jurors, and she said she had done jury transcript work for years. She remarked how New Hampshire juries are conviction-happy, which is why she suspects she will never be on a jury (she was much less in favor of convicting defendants as a rule). She also mentioned how it’s not really a jury of your peers, as some of her neighbors have been called for jury duty again and again, while others such as herself never are.
Towards the end, an employee of the sheriff’s office came by and asked to look at a pamphlet. He read the whole thing and made a comment about how yes, the jury may acquit for whatever reason, but emphasized the distinction between the jury as a whole and a single juror. He ended with saying “information is always good.” The encounter was very polite but a little cool.
In total, 24 new jurors were reached.
This operation was conducted as part of the January jury nullification campaign. You can track the campaign’s progress, and donate to support its completion, here.