Jury Nullification: The Best Kept Secret in American Law

Tuesday, January 1, 2013.

Happy New Year and best wishes to all of you for a healthy new year.

I write today about jury nullification, the right that no one dare mention in a court of law.

Jury nullification is a term used to describe the inherent power of a jury to reach a verdict contrary to the evidence and the law.

I call it an “inherent” power because the jury has the power to decide the outcome of a case and its decision is not subject to challenge, so long as there is no evidence of jury tampering or improper influence. Even the deliberations themselves, including who said what to whom and whether they were right or wrong, inhere in the verdict and are not subject to scrutiny or challenge. Therefore, nothing prevents a jury from disregarding the evidence and the law in order to reach a verdict that produces what the jury decides to be a fair, proper and just result.

In addition, you will not find the term in any set of jury instructions. Also, counsel and the judge will never mention it when the jury is present in the courtroom. Merely mentioning jury nullification in the presence of the jury is sufficient for the court to order a mistral and hold the offender in contempt of court.

One might call jury nullification the best kept secret in American law.

Why is that so?

The answer is that justice, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Let us use the defendant’s legal predicament as an example. He is charged with murder in the second degree for killing Trayvon Martin.

Defense counsel has been trying the case in the Court of Public Opinion demonizing Trayvon Martin and constantly repeating the defendant’s self-serving narrative while ignoring all of his inconsistent and conflicting statements as well as the physical evidence and the forensics that conclusively refute his narrative. He has been pitching his case to potential jurors who are racists and gun nuts like the people who hang out at the conservative tree house and other websites aggressively defaming and attacking anyone who dares to challenge the defendant’s false narrative and his attorney’s propaganda.

Imagine the result that a jury composed of the defendant’s like-minded supporters would reach if they were informed that they could invoke the power of jury nullification, ignore the evidence and the jury instructions, and find the defendant “Not Guilty.”

Is this not what defense counsel hopes to accomplish with his aggressive pretrial propaganda campaign disguised as motions for discovery to clarify or to reconsider previous court rulings?

If this were to happen, jury nullification would be used to vindicate racism.

On the other hand, there are cases where I would enthusiastically support jury nullification. I am thinking of Private Bradley Manning, who is accused of espionage and faces a potential life sentence for allegedly blowing the whistle on improper and unlawful actions by the United States military in Iraq and other countries. He is a true American hero, as far as I am concerned, if he did what he is accused of doing and I absolutely oppose the military prosecution. He is a political prisoner and not a criminal in my book.

These two examples demonstrate the weakness and the power of jury nullification to affect outcomes.

Do you believe jurors should be advised that they have the power to nullify alleged wrongdoing and that lawyers should be permitted to argue for and against jury nullification?

DISCLOSURE: I have used jury nullification to obtain acquittals in several cases. One has to be very careful to pull it off, but it can be done and I did so without drawing an objection by opposing counsel or a warning from the judge. I support keeping the law the way it is.

102 Responses to Jury Nullification: The Best Kept Secret in American Law

  1. Dennis says:

    I figured I would share a case involving Jury Nullification:

    Within the past year or so, a jury in Kansas during the voir dire process committed full on mutiny against the prosecutor. The defendant was charged with level 3 possession with intent (marijuana), level 4 possession drug paraphernalia and level 10 no drug tax stamp, but the jury felt that smoking marijuana is not a crime and doesn’t harm anyone. They literally said they would not convict the defendant even if his guilt was proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The jury even went ballistic when they learned that the State wanted him to pay tax on illegal drugs.

    I laughed my ass off when I read about this. It is nice that jurors are standing up to useless laws that only destroy lives.

    • I think that’s a good result from nullification. If the jury in this case acquits the defendant for racist reasons despite the overwhelming evidence of guilt that would be a terrible result.

      Like speaking the Devil into existence.

      Depending on the type of case and the issues, nullification can be a good or a bad thing.

      Remember the cannibal case?

      That was an example where the harsh result called for by the law (execution by hanging) was reduced to a time served sentence.

      Remember Ma’at and the Tale of the Eloquent Peasant?

      Jury nullification is our way today to speak the goddess Ma’at into existence.

      It’s a way to justice, harmony and balance in a world gone mad when the letter of the law blocks the path.

      But like everything else in this physical dimension of space-time,

      it has a shadow . . .

      • Lonnie Starr says:

        America’s Founding Fathers knew well of mankinds ability to contrive and conspire to obtain the desired results. That’s why they gave jurors such awesome powers, so that no one could predict what jurors might do. Making it difficult, if not impossible for our leadership to seize total control.

        There are many laws on the books that remain today, that are unused, simply because the prosecutors know that no jury would ever convict anyone of transgressing them. Laws like “Reckless Eyeballing” or to cite something from the last decade, a law against wearing shorts, further than 150 feet from a beach! Yep, here in Ye Olde New York City, under Rudolph Giuliani, a prosecutor charged a woman with wearing shorts, while being more than 150 feet from a beach. Up went such a howl of laughter, the prosecutor withdrew the charge, even as the city council raced feverishly, working through the night to get that law off the books. 😀

  2. SpecialladyT says:

    Professor, your answer to the OJ trial and the fact that the jury came back with a not guilty verdict because of the LAPD corruption worries me with this case. Corruption is evident in this case, how does BDLR overcome this fact and reach a guilty verdict?

    • Lonnie Starr says:

      Because the corruption is in favor of the defendant. In spite of the best efforts of the SPD to avoid collecting incriminating evidence against GZ, there remained too much and GZ added to it.

      GZ cannot claim that — the incompetent acts of corruption by the SPD, to set free had failed — should therefore mean he shouldn’t be tried. It won’t work, the judge won’t allow it in because it’s not relevant to his defense. It’s inculpatory if anything, but it won’t be brought in by the SP because they don’t need it to make their case.

      MOM is just blowing smoke to while away the time till trial. There’s nothing there he can use, unless he wants his client to fry.

      • SpecialladyT says:

        Thanks, Lonnie, but it is still is unsettling for me. How do we know what the judge allow in? MOM will fight tooth and nail for reasonable doubt since he has nothing else.

        • Lonnie Starr says:

          Doesn’t really matter, whatever the judge lets in, brings with it the right of the SP to challenge it. What doesn’t get in, does not need to be challenged. But… If MOM tries to raise some issue, to gain the benefit of it’s exculpatory nature, that opens the door for the SP to bring in impeachment material.

          MOM has to be careful, therefore, of what doors he opens himself. Because behind those doors lurks powerfully incriminating materials.

          I think MOM can safely get a way with an opening statement that goes something like:

          “Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I’m hoping that you’ve had a pleasant day, my name is Mr. O’Mara, and I’m going to be presenting the case on behalf of the defendant George Zimmerman who you see over there (indicates), I think you’re going to find what you’re about to learn very interesting, thank you!”

          If he needs to speak longer, he can talk about taking his daughter to the zoo, the presidential elections and perhaps the Mars Rover.

    • The corruption in this case favored the defendant and is the reason he was not immediately arrested and charged with murder. He benefited from the corruption. Justice requires he be convicted of murder in the second degree.

      The corruption in the OJ case benefited the prosecution and justice required OJ be acquitted.

      • SpecialladyT says:

        Thank you, Professor. Happy New Year to you and thank you for creating this blog where Trayvon Martin supporters feel safe..

  3. Dave says:

    If the jury cannot agree on a verdict, they inform the judge, who can either send them back to deliberate further or declare a mistrial. If the judge declares a mistrial the prosecution can bring the case to trial again and again until a jury reaches a unanimous verdict.

    If the prosecution fails to prove that the defendant is guilty of the crime with which he is charged, the jury should return a verdict of Not Guilty even if the defendant has been proven guilty of another but uncharged crime.

    When the jury has reached a verdict, the foreman sends word to the judge who orders the jury to return to the courtroom. He asks the jury foreman whether they have reached a verdict and the foreman replies “Yes. We find the defendant guilty (or not guilty)”. Then each juror is asked how he finds the defendant and the juror replies either “guilty” or “not guilty”. If there are multiple charges, the process is repeated for each charge.

    The jurors don’t have to (and usually don’t) explain anything to anybody.

    In Florida, a charge of Murder in the Second Degree has a number of “included” charges: lesser offenses, including manslaughter, which the jury can convict the defendant of if they can’t agree that the prosecution has proved all the elements of Murder 2.

    If O’Mara is lucky enough to get a jury of six Kluckers, all they would have to do is vote “Not Guilty” without any explanation and the killer would walk.

  4. seallison says:

    How does the jury nullification work. After they hear the evidence and it is now their time to discuss what was presented. Let us say voluntary vs involuntary manslaughter.

    If the jury can not agree, do they approach the judge to say they can not agree about guilt or not guilty on the charges. Isn’t that called a mistrial or a deadlock. Or, do they tell the judge that they do ALL agree that the charges do not seem to fit the crime. Can they recommend a charge that fits for them considering the evidence presented.

    I am thinking about the Casey Anthony case where there were all kinds of charges – even child abuse because of her not telling anyone that the child was missing for so long. The only responsibility they found her guilty of was her lying to police.

    How would jury nullification work in the Fogen case. This jury selection process is going to be the most important start to the case. I just do not know how they are going to do it. The Orlando Sentinal is so, so biased and irresponsible in their reporting, I just don’t know.

  5. Xena says:

    (Lagging way behind.)

  6. Judy75201 says:

    Thanks for the reasonable doubt discussion. Gives me something to mull over.

  7. Judy75201 says:

    My point being that a jury has the right to do the right thing.

    • The question is what is the “right” thing and how does a jury know it’s “right” when it thinks it has figured out what is “right?”

      What is the point of due process of law, the presumption of innocence, and requiring the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, if not to maximize the probability that the innocent will be found “not guilty” and the guilty will be found “guilty?”

      Why build in all of those and other procedural safeguards, only to let the jury ignore them and do whatever it wants to do just because it wants to do it?

  8. colin black says:

    And I agree L A polices handling of evidence an lack of coherent chain of custody practices was terrible

    And they may have also planted evidence like Im sure Fuhrman through that glove or dropped out back of the geust house .
    An the blood evidence on the gate discovered later Ive thought suspect
    But they were trying to bolster evidence due to there own short comeings not frame an innocent man
    They were so sure of his guilt the ends justified the means
    Wich of of course was wrong.But i m o OJ Was an always was guilty of murder.

  9. colin black says:

    Frederick Leatherman says:

    January 1, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    I don’t believe that a jury has ever been bullied into finding someone not guilty.

    Where did you get that idea?

    Reply..

    From a couple of jurys in Chicago in the era of Al Capone.
    An a couple of jurys in N York sitting on John Gotti trials
    Bribed or Threatened jurys can be got at

  10. Judy75201 says:

    To expound on my comment above, I also believe an attorney should not be allowed to tell a jury that “reasonable doubt” means the jury MUST convict.

    A jury should neither be instructed as to its power to vote its conscience, nor bullied into a not-guilty verdict based on “reasonable doubt”.

    • I don’t believe that a jury has ever been bullied into finding someone not guilty.

      Where did you get that idea?

      • Judy75201 says:

        By bullied, I mean pounding it into the brains of the jury that they MUST find a defendant not guilty of a crime if it was not proven “beyond a reasonable doubt “. Juries regard the attorneys as the experts. I don’t think that should be allowed in court any more than I think juries should be instructed about their power to nullify. And, I think the “reasonable doubt” tactic is abused. Just my thoughts.

        • The jury instructions inform the jury that it must return a verdict of “not guilty,” if they have a reasonable doubt. That is the law, whether you agree or disagree.

          If you disagree, you will never be permitted to serve on a jury because you would be refusing to follow the law.

      • Rachael says:

        @Judy:

        ” And, I think the “reasonable doubt” tactic is abused.”

        In what way? What are you saying? Are you even entirely clear about what reasonable doubt is and what it means? If you are and do, I don’t understand how you can say that. And what do you mean by abused? That is the standard of proof needed in a criminal case. It IS what has to be determined, it is the basis of the outcome of the trial, so I don’t understand what you mean by “tactic” or “abused.”

      • Judy75201 says:

        @Fred, however, haven’t we already proven that “must” is a lie? I have no argument with jury instructions, because they are based on the law. I do, however, have an argument with an attorney who lies and tells a jury that it MUST acquit if it has a reasonable doubt. Reasonable doubt is as subjective as right and wrong. I think it is abused by manipulative defense attorneys and needs to be addressed by our justice system.

        • You are wrong.

          A jury must acquit if it has a reasonable doubt. There is no other choice. That is the law.

          You are not qualified to serve and should not serve on a jury, if you disagree with that statement.

      • Judy75201 says:

        @Rachael, I don’t know if I am clear on “reasonable doubt”, which is why I am trying to start a dialogue about it. I know that I, for one, can find “reasonable doubt” in everything, which means that there is no such thing as “beyond”.

        • A reasonable doubt is defined as a doubt for which a reason exists — as opposed to suspicion or speculation.

          It must be supported by the evidence or lack of evidence.

          That is the way “reasonable doubt” is defined in most jury instructions.

      • Rachael says:

        Judy – “and needs to be addressed by our justice system.”

        It IS our justice system.

      • Rachael says:

        @Judy – Maybe this will help:

        http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Beyond+a+Reasonable+Doubt

        Sometimes reasonable doubt is difficult to understand so often a lot of time is spent explaining it to the jury. I didn’t realize that you didn’t understand it and were looking for dialogue because you sounded so defensive.

        But read the above definition and see if that makes it any clearer. It isn’t a “tactic,” it is the burden of proof that must be met by the prosecution’s evidence in a criminal prosecution. You hear about it because that is what it is about.

        Also, check out burden of proof on Wikipedia. I think it goes into explaining things like the difference between beyond a reasonable doubt (the standard needed for a criminal trial), preponderance of evidence (the standard needed for civil trials), reasonable suspicion and other things. I think Professor here has written about some of these others as well.

      • Rachael says:

        ” I have no argument with jury instructions, because they are based on the law. I do, however, have an argument with an attorney who lies and tells a jury that it MUST acquit if it has a reasonable doubt.”

        In other words Judy, that IS the law.

    • Judy75201 says:

      @Rachael, I apologize for sounding defensive. It’s something others have said, as well. My communication skills need an upgrade!

  11. Jun says:

    I do agree that it is Omara’s tactic to try jury nullification

    I know for a fact that it is definitely not a self defense claim for the defendant, even under force by aggressor

    Will it work?

    Theoretically he could, as you never know, stranger things have happened, but…

    if a proper objective, unbiased jury were to hear all the facts, I dont see it because…

    if Omara tries to present Fogenhats as a decent good guy, the state can go hard on him regarding his history…

    if Omara tries to slander anyone with lies, it will be objected, and then the door will be opened for character history on Fogenhats, and, Fogenhats is not what you would call a very decent human being

  12. Jun says:

    I believe there should be a fair and just verdict considering the actions and evidence

    but

    it does not work that way and I have read cases where the most heinous people get let off so…

    Imma wait and see what happens

    I however disagree with the defendant’s tactics because he is a scheming liar and the fact of the matter is, the defendant is the one with the history of violence and bullying others and harassment

    • Jun said,

      “I have read cases where the most heinous people get let off so…”

      I think that situation is like most urban legends: extremely rare, if ever.

      Far more likely is the wrongful conviction of innocent people, which happens possibly as often as 20% of the cases.

      I fear racist jurors would increase the already unacceptable rate off wrongful convictions, if they could ignore the evidence pursuant to jury nullification and convict minority defendants who should be acquitted.

      That danger is an every day reality in the South.

      • Jun says:

        Would that not be a jury that is biased, therefore, it was not a proper trial, hence, a new one can be done and appealed on the decision?

        I am sure that the defendant in this case, targeted and stalked Trayvon, in an aggravated manner, and then when he caught the victim, he confronted him, and went at the victim in an aggressive and threatening manner, and then finally attacking the victim by getting on the victim, whereby the victim was yelling for the defendant to get off him. The defendant then killed the kid while the kid screamed for help. It sounds very depraved to me.

        I am asking this because I see that there is an exception to the double jeopardy rule in regards to a trial that is a fraud, therefore the defendant was never in jeopardy and a new trial is allowed… also on a wrongful conviction, it can always be appealed…

  13. Dave says:

    Can anyone cite examples of jurors being either prosecuted or held in contempt of court over jury nullification?

    • No, I do not believe that has ever happened.

      The likely reason why it hasn’t happened is that the courts do not permit verdicts to be questioned or attacked, unless it’s to show improper outside influence or extortion was used to obtain a verdict.

      Jury nullification inheres in the verdict and is unlikely to be recognized as a proper basis to set aside a verdict.

  14. Kelly Payne says:

    I don’t believe in jury nullification.They are required by law to weigh the evidence and make their decision based on the evidence. Any jury who makes a decision without even considering the evidence should be arrested and charged with contempt of court.

    • Rachael says:

      I guess to some extent I have to agree. I mean otherwise, what is the point?

      Up-thread a bit, someone was saying something about the jury being the weakest link in the justice system. I totally disagree. Most people take the responsibility of being a juror very seriously, probably more seriously than any other part of the “system.” It is their opportunity to be a part of the system, perhaps (as also mentioned), a system they are not even aware of how corrupt and broken it is, but I do not believe that part is the jury.

      What a lot of people also do not understand though is how the system works. It doesn’t matter what you know, it matters what you can prove.

      If the proof isn’t there, no matter what you “feel” or know, it isn’t proof. That is what keeps it as fair as can be for the next guy. Who might even be yourself.

      • Two sides to a story says:

        In my thoughts, the jury is the weakest link if indeed nearly 20% of cases are convicting innocent people – of course, not all these cases come to trial. Some are forced into false confessions, others take a plea because they’re being railroaded.

  15. colin black says:

    O J Simpson Jury was nullified due to race.A majority African American jury let a guilty person go because he was an African American whom murdered his white whife an a white male .Nothing to do with the prosecution failing to prove there case

    They had so much d n a evidence against him along with knowlage of guilt .His fleeing to Chigago were he cuts his hand on a glass.They never even bothered to enter the slow motion bronco chase.An the almost confession phone conversation as he fled arrest to his home.

    Finding wig money false moustache in the car??? No not neccesery to use this.

    An along comes an African American Jury pissed of that Rodney King got beat an the white L E Officers got found not guilty.
    Pissed of that a Korean Lady shot an killed an African American teenage girl in her shop for opening an drinking from a can of soda before paying .An she was found not guilty.

    So now the boot was on the other foot an they set free OJ Simpson.

    The Whitest Black Man in History.

    Whilst other black athletes were risking there careers by giveing black power one fist salutes.

    He was makeing adverts for american express.

    So If race wasnt a leveller in that case to let a guilty man walk then nothing is .Word blatant springs to mind .Not reverse raceism because raceism is raceism.

    • You said,

      “O J Simpson Jury was nullified due to race.A majority African American jury let a guilty person go because he was an African American whom murdered his white whife an a white male .Nothing to do with the prosecution failing to prove there case.”

      I absolutely disagree.

      The defense proved that the LAPD planted blood evidence and the jury refused to convict because of the extensive police corruption. Reasonable doubt existed because of the corruption.

      The jury returned the proper verdict.

      Disclaimer: I was a DNA consultant for the defense in the OJ case.

      • Judy75201 says:

        I believe the jury should have used its power to convict despite the screw-ups of the prosecution in the OJ case.

      • Rachael says:

        Then what is the point of having a fair trial? What is the point of having a trial at all? If you can’t apply what is fair to every trial, well – that is unconstitutional. I agree that it seems unfair that someone gets off on a “technicality,” and it honestly totally sux!!! But again, that is what makes it fair to the next guy too, even though it doesn’t seem like it at times.

      • Judy75201 says:

        @Fred, because fabrication is not the totality of the case. Unless you are arguing reasonable doubt.

      • bettykath says:

        Once it was exposed that the cops planted evidence, reasonable doubt existed. If they really had a case there was no reason to plant evidence. I’m not entirely convinced that OJ didn’t do the deed but I certainly have reasonable doubt that he did it.

    • Judy75201 says:

      I had two thoughts at the time about why the OJ verdict was what it was: (1) We had a jury that was manipulated by “reasonable doubt”; or (2) We had a jury that did not see OJ as a future threat (i.e, it was a crime of passion unlikely to be repeated) AND which thought a guilty verdict would likely result in many unnecessary deaths.

  16. leander22 says:

    so funny, i laughed myself to tears.

    4. NEVER. FUCKING. VOLUNTEER! OK, MARK?

    I mean we already have Malisha, but it can never harm to have more of the kind. 😉

  17. whonoze says:

    MARK O’MARA’s TOP 15 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
    (legal pads have more lines than regular notebook paper)

    15. Never volunteer.
    14. Research facial reconfiguration surgery.
    13. Remember never to bring the iPod loaded with RATM tunes to the office.
    12. See resolution #15
    11. Double prayer time begging God for forgiveness.
    10. Arrange for FTD to send Malisha one red rose every day ‘from a secret admirer.”
    9. Reread “Native Son,” Freire and Mumia.
    8 See resolution #12
    7. Double the kickbacks to Matt Gutman to keep the real DeeDee tape away from the public.
    6. Roses for Natalie Jackson and Frances Robles too, only maybe once a week, due to limited budget.
    5. Stop referring to our client as “Fogen” in my private conversations with Don.
    4. NEVER. FUCKING. VOLUNTEER! OK, MARK?
    3. Double my anonymous yearly contributions to the UNCF and the NBPP.
    2. NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER
    1. Move to Yarowonga Australia and open a delicatessen.

  18. Judy75201 says:

    While I believe that jurors should be aware of their power, I don’t believe it should be argued by attorneys or mentioned at all at trial (except in deliberations among the jurors only).

  19. ladystclaire says:

    Happy New Year to you and yours Professor Leatherman and, may your new year be filled with good health and a lot of love.

  20. Two sides to a story says:

    Colin – The OJ case wasn’t a case of jury nullification. The State failed to present a compelling case backed by sufficient evidence to convict.

    While the ideal of teaching about jury nullification in civics classes is wonderful – not necessarily everyone will attend such a class, even if required by states in public schools, either that, or by the time citizens are called for jury duty years after the classes, which often end up being taught as early as middle school or as late as high school, they may have forgotten about this option.

    I see why the subject is such a touchy one, but I don’t see why it should be an issue to notify potential jurors of this option in writing, at miniumu. I can see why it’s kept quiet during jury selection, but why not produce a brochure of facts about jurors’ duties that is at least available to potential jurors? It could easily discuss the vast difference between using jury nullifaction as a valid tool to find an innocent person not guilty and letting a guilty person walk due to whatever prejudices may be involved.

    This jury selection business seems to be one of the weaker links in the legal system. No wonder I’ve heard lawywers say many times that we have a legal system, not a justice system.

    • Malisha says:

      Juries can go way wrong but they are not the weak link in our system. The links are all so weak that it is hard to find the weakest, but we have, for instance:

      1. Near-absolute prosecutorial discretion which brings about the conduct of people like Wolfinger;

      2. Prosecutorial misconduct without effective accountability;

      3. Judicial — no wait, I can’t even find a word or phrase for this one — let’s say we have “the best judges money can buy” —

      4. The entire criminal justice system is filled with corruption and laziness, and the two work together to enhance the corruption;

      5. Disbelief among the people that it is really as bad as it is.

      Juries are not the weakest link at all.

      BTW, my own assessment of the OJ jury was two things working together: (1) REAL serious problems in the prosecution including the stupid mistakes that nobody should have made, even with a shoplifting case; and (2) PAYBACKS for the Rodney King case, directly to say to the LAPD: If you do not protect Blacks, you will not be allowed to protect whites either. You want a murderous city? You got one.

  21. whonoze says:

    SUNDANCE CRACKER’S TOP TEN NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

    10. Get Mr. Lapierre to double his ad buy on the CTH.
    9. Create “Shellie Zimmerman Bariatric Surgery Fund.”
    8. Beg Geroge to introduce me to Sean, and pitch me as Ann Coulter’s replacement.
    7. Get Mead’s Photoshop guy to make me another wall size poster of Natalie Jackson.
    6. Ask my MPD therapist to get shannoninmiami to come out and convince her that she’s only hurting herself by hurting me with all that shit she posts trolling the CTH.
    5. Market Gadsden Flag replica’s reading “Don’t Tread on Z!”
    4. Get CTH music page up on MySpace.
    3. Get Mead’s Photoshop guy to put my head on Mel Gibson’s body so I can send the pic to Natalie.
    2. Arrange pitch meeting with Mel Gibson for my “Passion of the Tugboat” screenplay.
    1. Blakmail that mick bastard O’Mara into giving me my cut of the embezzled Defense Fund money.

    • Malisha says:

      Whonoze, LOL >>>>>>>>>

      I think “Passion of the Tugboat” is the best of the BEST! He really does see himself as the supervictim of all times. I think he’ll stamp his foot and disappear into the earth unless Tracy Martin apologizes to him.

      • leander22 says:

        I think he’ll stamp his foot and disappear into the earth unless Tracy Martin apologizes to him.

        😉 ,) 🙂 🙂 😉

      • Xena says:

        “Passion of the Tugboat”??? GZ couldn’t take one punch on the nose without killing the person. Think he could take 30 lashes with a whip without calling down fire?

        • racerrodig says:

          I doubt he could take a good rib tickling without opening fire, let alone anything that involves pain.

          • racerrodig says:

            Quite possibly harsh language spouted back at him during an argument could result in gunshots. There is, after all, a damn good reason he was estranged from his family.

          • Xena says:

            Quite possibly harsh language spouted back at him during an argument could result in gunshots. There is, after all, a damn good reason he was estranged from his family.

            Whatever reason they became estranged, they have not forgotten, forgiven, and trust GZ to actually live under their roof. GZ would have saved himself about $3,000 to $5,000 a month in hotel fees for he and ShelLIE and the security guards, and his parents would have had security at their home. They would not be living like vagabonds now.

            Damn good reason — you bet!

          • racerrodig says:

            Yep, it’s a real shame they have to go from motel to motel because they even acknowledged he’s family.

    • Two sides to a story says:

      5 – LOLOLOL!

    • “6. Ask my MPD therapist to get shannoninmiami to come out and convince her that she’s only hurting herself by hurting me with all that shit she posts trolling the CTH.”

      there you go, another dumb ass assumption made by another *know-it-not*

      1. i made a comment once, maybe around September, when i first heard about the website/blog.
      2. since then i’ve only looked at the comments there 1 other time, about 2 weeks ago around Xmas and read zimmerSR’s stupid letter..
      3. i found all the bible thumping and creepy prayers cult-like and nothing even remotely interesting enough for me to comment on.

      bottom line: i don’t read it and don’t comment, because i don’t go over there.
      better luck next time.

  22. colin black says:

    In a word, yes! However, I think jurors should be made aware of this option

    Its not an option

    Its an agenda the defence can manipulate below the radar

    Jury nulification is what allowed O J Simpson to walk on double murder ..m o o.

    In Scotland we refer to an accused aquitall despite obvious guilt a perverse verdict.

    Same thing.

    For a while in British history the House Of Lords susspended trial by jury.As they kept returning not guilty verdicts for those whom they sympathised with..Peasant an Farmers revolts against taxes ect

    Where continuasely beeing found not guilty.Despite over whelming evidence to the contrary

    And such offences in those days meant the gallows,
    Useallyl repealed to deportation wich was a life sentance to slavery in one of the British Colanys

    British had no qaulms about useing the poor as slaves

    Even prisons an poor houses Debtors prisons had turntreads useing human legs like hamsters in a wheel. For grinding flour.

  23. Trained Observer says:

    LOL, Whonoze on your Top 10. May I suggest a Bonus Resolution: Nail down a televised reality show to run during coverage of my trial starring my classy family — yes, the whole lot of ’em from complaining dad and whining mom to showboater bro and the rest. .

  24. Malisha says:

    BettyKath, the elimination of individuals who oppose the death penalty on any jury that hears a case where the death penalty is possible is, in my mind, absolutely unconstitutional from A to Z and taking in all possible alphabets and the prime numbers. By systematically eliminating such persons from a jury, the court allows a jury taint, by making sure that people who do engage in deep thinking and who do believe perfectly sane and acceptable beliefs that might inform the rest of their thinking habits are removed from consideration, thus making sure that only very conformist thinkers, or thinkers who have a tendency to be punitive and authoritarian, remain. I think it makes every death sentence case invalid and unconstitutional even if the defendant did the crime. It is one of the reasons I have been involved for two decades in the movement to oppose the death sentence. If Fogen were charged with first degree murder, and convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death, I would work actively with the Florida anti-death-sentence folks (with whom I have worked before) to get clemency or commutation for him.

    About jury nullification? I would say that it is OK not to tell the jury that it can use nullification. I believe that if a jury wants to use nullification, it will do so. In the Fogen case, however, if the whole jury is racist enough to nullify, then I think Fogen will be charged federally with a hate crime. The reason I think this is the following: Jury nullification or its more efficient equivalent, refusal to prosecute, was the initial reason the feds had to put 42 USC 1981 et seq. into place to begin with. You had Southern judges, prosecutors, cops, juries, individuals, and even juries employing the law of winks and nods (and drinks and slaps on the back) to actually prevent emancipation as a practical matter. You had African Americans with no property and no rights, unable to retain lawyers to defend themselves, suddenly at the mercy of a system that had been in place for 200 years and that was prepared to ignore every crime committed against them and to drum up crimes they were said to have committed, just to cause involuntary servitude where there was none, by the use of “due process” under the “color of state law.” If a former slave chose not to serve his former master, he could be beaten up to induce him to do so; if he complained to the sheriff he could be jailed for having attacked his former master and stolen from him. He could be sentenced to 20 years hard labor. Guess whom he would work for?

    The federal law was to prevent the states from using their own laws to justify, forgive, promote, and actually effect an organized criminal conspiracy to “keep Blacks in their place” and to keep the institution of slavery alive and well. The federal law said that when the “state actors” did this, whether they did it on their own or in conspiracy with “private actors,” it was a crime and there was also civil liability.

    If jury nullification frees Fogen, the feds will realize that no young Black man will ever be safe again in Florida, or probably anywhere else in the South where the good ole boy racist network survives in its present-day talk-nice form. The feds will HAVE TO charge Fogen federally if that happens or the Trayvon Martin murder will become the model for armed bigots to take over whole counties and make them unsafe for African Americans or anyone else. Any integrated community will become a backdrop for some goon to kill an innocent person to “set an example” for Blacks not to live there. The feds cannot afford to let this happen with this case because it is in the public eye and people like me are following it, blogging about it, talking about it. If there is jury nullification in this case, I predict a federal prosecution. And if you want to talk about those feds, when THEY get started prosecuting you, look the Hell OUT. You are going DOWN, Sir PunkHunter. You are going DOWN, Mr. Asshole-Blaster. They have more money than the state for prosecutions and they get into it with a vigor you can only begin to imagine.

    In New York there was a Rabbi thrown into prison without a hearing because the feds wanted him to testify against other Jews and he insisted that his religion did not permit it. A California federal judge got him imprisoned in New York! — indefinitely! He had ten kids and they all chipped in to help him out and it was still a lengthy stay. He was 68 years old, and had cancer, and both his parents were Holocaust Survivors, and he wouldn’t talk. He said he was willing to DIE IN PRISON. Still, it took him months and months before they relented and the defense had to spend God-knows-how much on begging for his freedom. And here’s the kicker: HE HAD ALREADY pled guilty to wrongdoing in the case in which they wanted his testimony. They had said to him, “we’ll let you off if you turn on the others” and he refused. So he served his time. And then he got out. And THEN they threw him in prison again to force him to give up the others. See how the feds do? They could keep hate crime charges against Fogen going as long as they wanted and throw Shellie, Osterman, Taaffe, Wibker, realtors, Jon-the-MMA-witness, some EMT, cops, Wolfinger, ANY-damn-body in prison to coerce testimony against Fogen. You wouldn’t believe the things they would do if they got a hard-on for Fogen after a nullification took place. It would be like a really bad TV movie. I almost wish it would happen.

    I also saw a case that was hilarious, where a federal defendant in a massive interstate fraud scheme was in a bail hearing and he was THIS CLOSE to making bail int he federal court when all of a sudden the federal prosecutor got a call and took it, and then came back into the courtroom and announced that the State of Maryland was waiting on the front steps of the federal courthouse to arrest the defendant if he made bail on the federal charges. He said, therefore, that the defendant would have to go from federal custody to state custody and then there would be a jurisdictional battle and he would not make bail during the process and blah blah blah blah. It was really obvious that the federal prosecutor had called someone in the State’s Attorney’s Office and called in a chit to make sure he could keep the guy because he had hidden money in the Caymans and he wanted to give the protected numbers to his wife but couldn’t manage while under supervision in prison. I mean, it was like an elaborate plot in Hollywood. I’m telling you, if you think Corey gets blood dripping down her chin for someone she charges, you ain’t seen nothing yet. If the feds get their claws into Fogen’s behind, he better practice on how to yell “Help me Help me Help me”!

    • You all have thoughtful comments says:

      Malisha, when I read this article on jury nullification, I immediate thought of the South and the court treatment of African Americans in the past.
      I am glad you, with all your writing talent, stated this so superbly!

    • Rachael says:

      @Malisha –

      “…the elimination of individuals who oppose the death penalty on any jury that hears a case where the death penalty is possible is, in my mind, absolutely unconstitutional from A to Z and taking in all possible alphabets and the prime numbers. . .”

      I have to disagree. But first, let me state, I am against the death penalty and feel it in and of itself is unconstitutional.

      However, excusing people from a jury panel who are against the death penalty is not, IMO, the least bit unconstitutional. It is not like anyone is being banned from jury duty ever because of their opinion. I also see it as possibly ending up being the opposite from what you say as far as who would end up on the panel. You could have people who would not apply the law or evidence of that court because of their dislike of the death penalty. Trying to empanel people against the death penalty in a capital case would be like trying to empanel racists for GZ’s. You will end up with a jury that is not paying attention to a case but to a cause.

      Not that the cause (at least in the case of the death penalty) isn’t a good, just and fair cause, but it is not what is on trial, even if it should be.

      I’m thinking this is where O’Mara is going to go wrong too. Instead of defending his client, he us putting the cause of corruption on trial. But it may backfire on him, because all the corruption seems to be in his client’s favor – but that was not my point.

      • Xena says:

        However, excusing people from a jury panel who are against the death penalty is not, IMO, the least bit unconstitutional.

        I agree. That in fact, if I were forced to sit on a jury when the death penalty is on the table, I would deem it as a violation of my constitutional right to freedom of religion.

  25. looneydoone says:

    Jury nullification should be used more often in trials concerning petty thefts and drug possession. It’s a tactic that’s gained currency of late in more progressive counties and States. That’s a very good way to address unreasonable laws.

  26. whonoze says:

    GEORGE ZIMMEMAN’S TOP TEN NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOR 2013

    10. Create signature collection of Kevlar designer wear.
    9. Convine NBC to cast Shellie on “The Biggest Loser” as settlement for my lawsuit.
    8. Get tougher in negotiation with Glock to be their celebrity spokesperson.
    7. Convince Sean and Roger to introduce me to the Koch brothers.
    6. Organize Million Ankle Bracelet march.
    5. Get Billy, Norm, Marco and Rick to endorse my upcoming run for State’s Attorney, and get Alan W. to chair my campaign fund.
    4. Resist temptations to compromise my integrity amidst adversity.
    3. Find the right moment to let Jeralynn know it’s me who’s been sending her those really steamy pornos that get her hot and bothered.
    2. Finish that Memory Improvement tape by what’s-his-name.
    1. Convince God to come up with a better Plan for my trial.

    • Malisha says:

      Whonoze, I fell OUT! I was already helpless when I reached 4, but when I read 3, 2 and 1 I was GONE! My son is trying to organize a radar search as we speak. He’s running around there yelling, “Where’s my mother go! Somebody damnit blasted her right through the roof! Somebody’s gonna PAY!”
      😆 😆 😆

    • You all have thoughtful comments says:

      LOL!

    • leander22 says:

      Thanks Whonoze, great, really hard to pick a favorite but 4, 3, 2 are are quite hilarious, (3, yes I enjoy that one a lot, wonderfully framed too 😉 ) brilliant, although none from 10 down to 4 are really without their own specific worth for their specific amounts of Foganity.

      Of course no 1 is without competition, no further comment needed. 😉

      thanks, Whonoze. Every topic needs a comic relief from time to time.

    • Rachael says:

      OMG, whonoze, I’m going to have to start padding my chair with towels if you are going to keep writing this stuff. You are wayyyy too funny!!!

    • racerrodig says:

      What’s the over / under on how many he’ll achieve….I say 0.

  27. cielo62 says:

    >^..^< this was a thought provoking article. I am opposed to jury nullification precisely because it ignores our most basic legal requirement: the evidence. I was once asked to sit on a DUI jury where the only "evidence" was the cop's "professional opinion ". No blood draw, no breathalyzer results, nothing. I said I would NOT be able to convict based on that alone. I need evidence beyond one pwrson's word. The law has been changed since then and mandatory breathalyzer a and/or blood draws can be obtained. But at the time I think I influenced that entire pool. People were like "yeah. We need evidence". Judge thought I was funny (in a benign way) and excused me from further duty. BTW wouldn't whistleblower laws protect even someone in the military from prosecution? Or is that another right people relinquish when they become US property?

  28. bettykath says:

    Another topic you might want to consider is the ban on death penalty opponents on any jury where the death penalty is possible. If you’ve already covered it, a pointer please.

  29. bettykath says:

    I think the law should stay as it is but jury nullification should be taught as part of a good civics class that all students should be taking in high school.

    I’ve seen tv programs and I think I have heard of actual cases where a judge has overturned a jury’s verdict. One Law and Order show had such a case. I don’t remember if it was a jury nullification case or just a judge with an agenda.

    On June 18, 2012, New Hampshire passed a law explicitly allowing defense attorneys to inform juries about Jury Nullification

  30. i sure don’t think they *need* to be informed of jury nullification. i think at least one person that makes it on a jurt will already know about it.

  31. Trained Observer says:

    In a word, yes! However, I think jurors should be made aware of this option.

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