Jury Nullification

If you’re a juror – would you unthinkingly obey a person wearing a black dress who told you that you’re “required to apply this legislation” to a situation that regardless of whether it seems just to you personally?

Would you say Harriet Tubman and others involved with the underground railroad were in the wrong when they disobeyed the legislation that said humans born into bondage had to be returned to their ‘masters’?

A person may be guilty of disobeying man-made legislation but you as a juror have the right to “nullify” bad legislation – to say that since there was no victim there was no crime – thus preventing that person from being caged or ransomed by a gang of individuals who call themselves “the state.”

Jury nullification is your right as a juror to side with your conscience against unjust legislation.


The late Justice William C. Goodloe (1919-1997) of the Washington State Supreme Court, an advocate of jury nullification, suggested that the following instruction be given by judges to all juries in criminal cases:

You are instructed that this being a criminal case you are the exclusive judges of the evidence, the credibility of the witnesses and the weight to be given to their testimony, and you have a right also to determine the law in the case. The court does not intend to express any opinion concerning the weight of the evidence, but it is the duty of the court to advise you as to the law, and it is your duty to consider the instructions of the court; yet in your decision upon the merits of the case you have a right to determine for yourselves the law as well as the facts by which your verdict shall be governed.


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camden28-jury-nullification-copblockIn 1971 some individuals who opposed to the war in Viet Nam planned to enter the property used by the Camden, New Jersey draft board to destroy or remove Class 1-A status draft records. Snitch Bob Hardy tipped-off the so-claimed “authorities” and those in the group were brought to trial. Thanks to jury nullification they were not caged.

Camden28 Antiwar Activists from Camden28.org The Camden 28 entry on Wikipedia



alvin-schlangen-raw-milk-jury-nullification-minnesota-copblockA Minnesota jury exercised their right to jury nullification when they handed down a ‘not guilty’ verdict to a farmer for charges stemming from raw milk. RAW MILK! In many states in this country it is ILLEGAL to sell raw milk or raw milk products, like cheese and yogurt.  Alvin Schlangen was found not guilty of selling unpasteurized milk, operating without a food license and handling adulterated or misbranded food.  (How is raw milk considered “adulterated”?  Isn’t pasteurized milk the product that is actually adulterated?) The jury did the right thing in sending a message that prosecuting people for simply having milk is ridiculous.  This is a perfect example that everyone in this country needs to know when it comes to the citizenry fighting back against those who claim to have rule over us.

Minnesota farmer cleared in milk case from StarTribune.co Farmer acquitted in Minn. raw milk trial from BusinessWeek.com Farmer on Trial – Alvin Schlangen of Minnesota at FarmFoodFreedom.org



montana-jury-nullification-copblockTouray Cornell’s home was searched be men wearing badges. They said they found a minute amount of a plant called cannabis. A jury panel told Andrew Paul the attorney levying threats at Cornell that they would not convict somebody for having a 16th of an ounce. One individual questioned why resources were allocated to prosecute the case at all.

In fact, one juror wondered why the county was wasting time and money prosecuting the case at all, said a flummoxed Deputy Missoula County Attorney Andrew Paul.

“I thought, ‘Geez, I don’t know if we can seat a jury,’ ” said judge Dusty Deschamps, who called a recess. And he didn’t.

Jury Nullification In Action: Montana Jury Pool Refuses To Convict For Marijuana Possession from OutsideTheBeltway.com Montana Jury Stages ‘Mutiny’ In Marijuana Case from HuffingtonPost.com, which concludes:

In his nearly 30 years as a prosecutor and judge, Deschamps said he’s never seen anything like it. Authorities reportedly worry that Cornell’s situation will set a precedent for prosecuting future drug cases in Montana.

[That statement is informative. The thing most-feared isn’t whether people are harmed or if they’re doing a good job, but whether their claims of authority might slip. A person can claim a title like king, or premier, or president, or chief, or officer, but they don’t have any more rights than do you or your neighbor. Jury nullification is a powerful way to safeguard those in your community. You have the ability to say: When there is no victim, there is no crime! – Pete, one of the many involved at the decentralized CopBlock.org]



douglas-darrell-jury-nullification-new-hampshire-copblockJurors in New Hampshire said Doug Darrell, a Rastafarian who charged with and guilty of (according to legislation) manufacturing (read ‘growing’) marijuana.  Darrell was observed to have 15 marijuana plants growing on his property by a National Guard helicopter flying over his land while working with the NH State Police.  (On a side note, why is the National Guard being used for domestic operations that are not defensive?) This isn’t the first marijuana case to experience a jury nullification but it’s one of the biggest to make it all the way through trial to then get nullified.

New Hampshire Jury Acquits Pot-Growing Rastafarian from Reason.com Rebel(s) of the Week: Doug Darrell and the Jury that Nullified His NH Felony Pot Charges from SilverUnderground.com

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21st Century Libertarian — Jury’s Right to Nullify, or just say, “Not guilty” [8-min video]

A Layman’s Guide to Jury Nullification [13-min video]

An Essay on the Trial By Jury by Lysander Spooner [book]

An Essay on the Trial By Jury by Lysander Spooner [essay]

FreedomLaw.com [online database & forum]

Fully Informed Jury Association [organization & online resource]

Fully-Informed Jurors by Dave Kopel [post]

Jim Babb on Jury Nullification at Smoke Down Prohibition III [9-min video]

Jury Nullification [5-min video]

Jury Nullification [9-min video]

Jury Nullification 101 [3-min video]

Jury Nullification 2012 [3-min video]

Jury Nullification by The Glockbrothers [9-min video]

Jury Nullification collection at Scribd.com/CopBlock [seven documents]

Jury Nullification: Just Say No [To the Law] [67-min video]

Jury Nullification: The Evolution of a Doctrine by Clay Conrad [book]

Jury Outreach tri-fold for NH by FreeKeene.com [tri-fold, mimic for your area]

Liberty on Tour’s coverage of the 2010-08-04 Julian Heicklen jury info outreach [9-min video]

NH: Jury nullification bill = chance to question judges – court [5-min video]

Radical Rant – Jury Nullification, Your Secret Civil Right [14-min video]

Robert Anton Wilson Discusses Jury Nullification [3-min video]

Stealth Juror: The Ultimate Defense Against Bad Laws and Government Tyranny by Trent Hammerstein [book]

The Little Idea with Paul Butler [9-min video]

Thomas Woods: Nullification a Tool We All Have [35-min video]

What Is Jury Nullification? by Captain Six [post]

What lawyers & judges won’t tell you about juries by Sam Smith [post]


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Lysander-Spooner-peace-copblock“The question here arises, Whether the barons and the people intended that those peers (the jury) should be mere puppets in the hands of the king, exercising no opinion of their own as to the intrinsic merits of the accusations they should try, or the justice of the laws they should be called on to enforce? Whether those haughty and victorious barons, when they had their tyrant king at their feet, gave back to him his throne, with full power to enact any tyrannical laws he might please, reserving only to a jury…the contemptible and servile privilege of ascertaining, (under the dictation of the king, or his judges, as to the laws of evidence), the simple fact whether those laws had been transgressed? Was this the only restraint, which, when they had all power in their hands, they placed upon the tyranny of a king, whose oppressions they had risen in arms to resist? Was it to obtain such a charter as that, that the whole nation had united, as it were, like one man, against their king? Was it on such a charter that they intended to rely, for all future time, for the security of their liberties? No. They were engaged in no such senseless work as that. On the contrary, when they required him to renounce forever the power to punish any freeman, unless by the consent of his peers, they intended those peers should judge of, and try, the whole case on its merits, independently of all arbitrary legislation, or judicial authority, on the part of the king. In this way they took the liberties of each individual — and thus the liberties of the whole people — entirely out of the hands of the king, and out of the power of his laws, and placed them in the keeping of the people themselves. And this it was that made the trial by jury the palladium of their liberties.

“The trial by jury, be it observed, was the only real barrier interposed by them against absolute despotism. Could this trial, then, have been such an entire farce as it necessarily must have been, if the jury had had no power to judge of the justice of the laws the people were required to obey? Did it not rather imply that the jury were to judge independently and fearlessly as to everything involved in the charge, and especially as to its intrinsic justice, and thereon give their decision, (unbiased by any legislation of the king,) whether the accused might be punished? The reason of the thing, no less than the historical celebrity of the events, as securing the liberties of the people, and the veneration with which the trail by jury has continued to be regarded, notwithstanding its essence and vitality have been almost entirely extracted from it in practice, would settle the question, if other evidences had left the matter in doubt.”

Lysander Spooner, An Essay on the Trail by Jury, 1852

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The Jurors Handbook is embedded below. It’s part of the Jury Nullification collection housed at Scribd.com/CopBlock, which also includes: On The Grand Jury, Current State Constitutional AuthorityIf You Are Called for Jury Duty, If You Are Facing Charges, Surviving Voir Dire, Jury Secret Power Revised. All those documents were downloaded from FIJA.org. Sharing is caring.

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  • Do justice, sir, do justice. – Learned Hand (1872-1961)
  • It’s every man’s business to see justice done. – Sherlock Holmes [Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Crooked Man,” Memories of Sherlock Holmes, 1892]
  • Whenever the offense inspires less horror than the punishment, the rigor of penal law is obliged to give way to the common feelings of mankind. – Edward Gibbon
  • Men do not make laws. They do but discover them. Laws must be justified by something more than the will of the majority. They must rest on the eternal foundation of righteousness. That state is most fortunate in its form of government which has the aptest instruments for the discovery of law. – Calvin Coolidge, to the Massachusetts State Senate, January 7, 1914
  • I was summoned for jury duty some years ago, and during voir dire, the attorney asked me whether I could obey the judge’s instructions. I answered, “It all depends upon what those instructions are.” Irritatingly, the judge asked me to explain myself. I explained that if I were on a jury back in the 1850s, and a person was on trial for violating the Fugitive Slave Act by assisting a runaway slave, I would vote for acquittal regardless of the judge’s instructions. The reason is that slavery is unjust and any law supporting it is unjust. Needless to say, I was dismissed from jury duty. – Walter Williams, 11 July 2007
  • No, we can neither expect nor demand respect for the law just because it has been promulgated, regardless of its content. What matters is not respect for this or that (often accidental) decision of the majority in a parliament or of a judge. Rather, what matters is respect for the moral law, which may or may not coincide with the positive law and which involves the legally irrelevant distinction between good and evil. – Leszek Koakowski (1927-2009), “Crime and Punishment,” Is God Happy? Selected Essays [Basic Books, 2013, p.236]
  • It is not only [the juror’s] right, but his duty…to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court. – John Adams, 1771
  • …..it is usual for the jurors to decide the fact, and to refer the law arising on it to the decision of the judges. But this division of the subject lies with their discretion only. And if the question relate to any point of public liberty, or if it be one of those in which the judges may be suspected of bias, the jury undertake to decide both law and fact. – Thomas Jefferson, “Notes on Virginia,” 1782
  • Another apprehension [about the French Revolution] is, that a majority cannot be induced to adopt the trial by jury; and I consider that as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution…. – Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Tom Paine, 1789
  • It is presumed, that juries are the best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumed that courts are the best judges of law. But still both objects are within your power of decision…..you have a right to take it upon yourselves to judge of both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy. – Chief Justice John Jay, Georgia v. Brailsford, 1794
  • Jurors should acquit, even against the judge’s instruction…if exercising their judgement with discretion and honesty they have a clear conviction that the charge of the court is wrong. – Alexander Hamilton, 1804
  • The jury has the power to bring a verdict in the teeth of both the law and the facts. – Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Horning v. District of Columbia, 1920

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  • In the trial of all criminal cases, the Jury shall be the Judges of Law, as well as of fact, except that the Court may pass upon the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain a conviction – Article XXIII, Constitution of the State of MarylandIn all criminal cases whatsoever, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts. – Article I, §19, Constitution of the State of Indiana
  • If the jury feels the law is unjust, we recognize the undisputed power of the jury to acquit, even if its verdict is contrary to the law as given by a judge, and contrary to the evidence…If the jury feels that the law under which the defendant is accused is unjust, or that exigent circumstances justified the actions of the accused, or for any reason which appeals to their logic or passion, the jury has the power to acquit, and the courts must abide by that decision. – 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, United States v. Moylan, 1969
  • [The jury has an] unreviewable and irreversible power…to acquit in disregard of the instructions on the law given by the trial judge…The pages of history shine on instances of the jury’s exercise of its prerogative to disregard uncontradicted evidence and instructions of the judge; for example, acquittals under the fugitive slave law. -D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, Unites States v. Dougherty, 1972

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Keep in mind that a powerful ally of jury nullification is the tactic to clog the courts. If there’s no victim there’s no crime. If you find yourself targeted for a frivolous ransom (called a “ticket”) or are threatened (called “charges”) consider not just paying or pleading. If you let go some minor thing – say a 5FRN ransom, you’ve already implied that that person and his friends have a right to shake you down. You may tell yourself that you’d make an effort to speak up for your rights if the ransom were greater, but is that true? Might it be more difficult to stand-up if you ever find yourself in that situation? Might it be best for each of us to stand up against even the smallest of things as that will, at the end of the day, be the only way to lessen the frequency of “legitimized” highwaymen and the severity of claims said to be owed and threats levied.