Tuesday, December 30, 2014

"Jury Nullification": The Unspoken "Pardon" Process. ~ Jury "Veto" Power / Michael A. Haber, Esq. ~ Call **ARRESTED or **MIAMIDUI

"Jury Nullification":  Every citizen who serves as a juror should be aware of this most powerful tool: 

The illustration is spot on, but you will never hear it from either the prosecutor or the Judge, and unless the defense lawyer wants to spend the night behind bars then you won't hear it from that side of the courtroom either, but it exists, and thankfully so.

The fact is that some laws are, well, "bad"; maybe because they were poorly written, or because in a given case it is haphazardly applied or for any of a variety of reasons it is simply unjust under the facts and circumstances.  Unfortunately, as far as the Court is concerned such scenarios are of no concern to the "justice system":  The scales are blind, and that is not always a good thing, but that is where "jury nullification" comes in.

In 2012, an 80 y/o retired chemistry Professor named Julian P. Heicklen was Indicted by the United States Attorney's Office and faced charges of violating the federal "Jury Tampering" statute because he repeatedly stood outside of a Manhattan courthouse with a "Jury Info" sign while handing out brochures to passers-by which identified and supported the concept of jury nullification.  The case was dismissed by Federal Judge Kimba Wood because the citizen was exercising his 1st Amendment right of free speech and was not knowingly trying to influence "a juror's decision" through written communication "made in relation to a specific case pending before that juror".

Judges instruct Juries on the cold law.  In Florida every criminal jury is told the following (please see FL Standard Criminal Jury Instructions - 3.10 Rules for Deliberation):

            These are some general rules that apply to your discussion. You must follow these rules in order to return a lawful verdict:

1.                  You must follow the law as it is set out in these instructions. If you fail to follow the law, your verdict will be a miscarriage of justice. There is no reason for failing to follow the law in this case. All of us are depending upon you to make a wise and legal decision in this matter.

2.                  This case must be decided only upon the evidence that you have heard from the testimony of the witnesses [and have seen in the form of the exhibits in evidence] and these instructions.

3.                  This case must not be decided for or against anyone because you feel sorry for anyone, or are angry at anyone.

4.                  Remember, the lawyers are not on trial. Your feelings about them should not influence your decision in this case.

When the jury is to be involved in a penalty phase, omit the second sentence of paragraph 5.
5.                  Your duty is to determine if the defendant has been proven guilty or not, in accord with the law. It is the judge’s job to determine a proper sentence if the defendant is found guilty.

6.                  Whatever verdict you render must be unanimous, that is, each juror must agree to the same verdict.

            Give 7 if applicable.
7.                  The jury is not to discuss any question[s] that [a juror] [jurors] wrote that was [were] not asked by the court, and must not hold that against either party.

8.                  Your verdict should not be influenced by feelings of prejudice, bias, or sympathy. Your verdict must be based on the evidence, and on the law contained in these instructions.

However, what they are NOT told is that the Jury can....

In another part of the standard instructions Jurors are effectively told to use their common sense and NOT to check their good judgment at the courtroom doors (see 3.9 - Weighing the Evidence:  "It is up to you to decide what evidence is reliable. You should use your common sense in deciding which is the best evidence and which evidence should not be relied upon in considering your verdict. You may find some of the evidence not reliable, or less reliable than other evidence.")  If this seems incongruous that's because sometimes it is incongruous.  

The law may be the law, but the law is not always "right", and occasionally, even an otherwise "guilty" person should morally and ethically, if not "lawfully", be found "not guilty".  Laws will not change themselves, and Congresspeople are, well, let's just say "not generally interested in anything other than their own next re-election", so justice is left to the sound and collective discretion of the Jury.  So, when you find yourself summoned for jury duty don't look at it like this...

Instead be proud and...

And don't be afraid to exercise your inherent, albeit silent, power to nullify if you deem it just, fair and appropriate given the facts and circumstances of your case.

Since 1991 Michael A. Haber, P.A. has an unblemished record of providing boutique criminal defense litigation services to many folks who have been accused of criminality. 

Michael A. Haber, Esq. has creatively, effectively and zealously represented clients on a wide variety of criminal matters ranging from DUI to drug trafficking and from misdemeanors to first degree murder. 

Michael A. Haber, Esq. is prepared to speak with you about your case!  At Michael A. Haber, P.A. "its all about reasonable doubt"!


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