Learn about jury veto, jury nullification, jury pardon and the "Fully informed Jury Amendment."

    Jury nullification is now before the U.S. Supreme Court. The argument that jurors should be able to reject vice laws and acquit is in a new Petition for Writ of Certiorari. The Petition also argues various reasons why vice laws are unconstitutional. The nullification arguments and the entire brief can be viewed at
    As an attorney and a libertarian I am urging the nation’s highest court to recognize jury nullification, also known as jury pardon and jury veto.
    During my legal career, I have often been asked if jurors can overturn bad laws. The askers fear compulsory jury duty to convict defendants accused of vices (gambling, prostitution, drugs) or other non-violent charges (tax non-payment, gun possession).
    The fear has risen because many non-violent consensual acts now carry mandatory sentences of 10 years and even life in prison. Jurors are not told that their verdict will result in a non-violent defendant with no prior record going to prison for a decade or more. The jurors won’t know what they have done and if they find out, then they might be queasy.
    Most courts hold that jurors do not have the right to acquit in defiance of the law, though courts recognize that jurors have the power to do so, and that nothing can be done about jury nullification when it happens.
        In history, jury veto has been used for acquittals against old prohibition laws. Now it is used against modern prohibition, vice laws and other peaceful behavior.
    For more information on jury nullification, jury veto, and jury pardon see:

    Below is the jury nullification argument that is before the United States Supreme Court in a Petition for Writ of Certiorari. The government did not plead in the indictment, and no jury found, any prior criminal record of the Defendant. Even so, the government gave notice that it wanted the defendant to receive a mandatory sentence of life in prison for the drug charge based on the defendant's prior record, which consisted of no violent crimes, though some non-violent vices.  In the trial court, the Defendant moved for a bifurcated trial to argue jury pardon/nullification for both the issue of the charge itself, as well as the for the issue of the minimum mandatory life sentence.  The trial judge rejected the Defendant's motions. This Petition for writ of Certiorari followed the affirmation of the conviction and sentence on appeal. For the entire Petition for writ of Certiorari see  The petition includes other arguments that vice laws are unconstitutional.

    JURY NULLIFICATION OF MANDATORY MINIMUMS: Related to the Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 120 S.Ct. 2348 (2000) issue (previously discussed) is that, even though the government did not plead, and no jury found, any prior record, the Defendant moved for a bifurcated trial regarding his prior record and to argue jury pardon/nullification (Doc 47, 77 and 91).
    In the types of cases alleged here (whenever there is audio and video tape evidence and the testimony of an undercover law enforcement officer in a hand-to-hand transaction) the government often characterizes the evidence as overwhelming, even suggesting that there is no serious defense against the facts, only absurd defenses.  In such cases, and if this is one of those cases, then there is only one trial defense left: That the law is unjust and should be rejected by the jury (the jury pardon or nullification defense).  The Defendant should have the right, should he so decide, to present a pardon/nullification defense, either alone or in conjunction with any other defense.
    Recent case law indicates that it is ineffective assistance of counsel for an attorney to admit a defendant's guilt to a jury. In cases where the government's evidence cannot be rationally disputed, and where the law prevents the nullification defense, then the law forces defendants to mount irrational/absurd defenses, or no defense at all.  Such predicaments are a violation of a defendant's right to due process and of a defendant's right to a meaningful jury trial.  
    At the very least, the jury should have been informed of the penalty in this cause, and it should have been possible to argue to the jury that the penalty is also an independent basis for acquittal.
    An analogy can be made to inadmissible hearsay rules as applied to the defense. Chambers v. Mississippi, 410 US 284 (1973) held that the right to present a defense entitled the defense to introduce technically inadmissible hearsay evidence.  The rules of evidence can not be mechanistically applied in such a fashion as to deny defendant a right to present a defense and a fair trial. As an example, the right to present a defense gives the defense a firm basis upon which to argue for admission of  information in a police report that might otherwise be inadmissible under a statute restricting the evidentiary use of police reports as business records. 
    An analogy can be made to polygraph examinations.  If a Daubert hearing is held in a case in which the defense is trying to get the polygraph admitted then the rules should be more open for the defense and more restrictive for the prosecution regarding polygraph results. An academic psychophysiologist has testified that false negatives were very rare - from 2 to 15%, depending on  testing conditions. But false positives were very common - nearly half the time an innocent person will test guilty. Polygraph technology is uniquely suited for defensive purposes. It is reliable if it says innocent, and it is a coin-toss if it says guilty. Yet, there is no case law reflecting this aspect of the polygraph.
    In cases involving crimes of violence and theft, the pardon/nullification defense is rejected by jurors because crimes of violence and theft violate the NAP (the Non-Aggression Principle), which is a basic moral concept to many jurors and to some judges (see e.g. Lawrence v. Texas, 2003 U.S. LEXIS 5013,*;123 S. Ct. 2472; 156 L. Ed. 2d 508;71 U.S.L.W. 4574 (2003)).  But this is a case that does not allege violence or theft, it is a drug case, and drug cases are in that league of cases where the nullification defense has potential because the NAP is attractive to some jurors and judges.
    In the former Soviet Union under Stalin it was said that “the accused was given a trial but no defense.”  If the government has the power to prevent a defendant from arguing that the law is wrong, then the government has the power to prevent the defendant from having any defense whatsoever, because the government can legislatively deprive the defendant of every other defense.  The so-called "strict liability," laws are one example.  Many drug cases are also examples.  
    Witchcraft was illegal in the U.S. and still is illegal in other parts of the world.  Our criminal justice system would not allow anyone to argue to a jury that a witchcraft law should be rejected because witches do not cast spells that make children fall into fits.  Jurors would be instructed to determine the facts based on the testimony and to follow the law, just as they did in the Salem Witch Trials.   And the defendant would be sentenced to life in prison or even to death.
    Some people incorrectly argue that for any defendant to argue that drugs should be legal under any circumstances, is a foolhardy defense. But those arguments are made by people who make sure the public never hears the comparison of modern prohibition to old prohibition, and the similar corruption, violence, and irresponsible behavior that is caused by the government, and perpetrated and perpetuated by the government.
    Some defendants are deprived not only of their only defense, they are deprived of the best defense.  It might be the best defense because it is the defense that the government has already abjectly lost in old prohibition, and that the government has already arguably abjectly lost in modern prohibition, though the government persists in digging its hole ever deeper.  Today, defendants are charged under modern prohibition, and the government prevents them from presenting the exculpatory proof that has already been established under old prohibition.
    Most case law rejects the right to present a jury pardon/nullification defense. However, U.S. v. Datcher, 830 F. Supp. 411 (M.D. Tenn. 1993), cites the political history of jury nullification, and Datcher held that the defendant was entitled to argue the issue of punishment to the jury, which the defendant argued was draconian, hoping the jury would deem the penalty too great and thus acquit pursuant to power of jury nullification.  The court based its ruling on the importance of allowing the jury "to decide whether a sentencing law should be nullified." Id. at 412.

Rex Curry
Attorney at Law
Tampa, Florida

go to frontpage of

FULLY INFORMED JURIES - can stop government violence and minimum mandatory sentences.
NEW U.S. SUPREME COURT PETITION - Jury nullification is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.
YOU CAN BE PRESIDENT FOR A DAY -learn how by learning about jury nullification.
ASSEMBLY LINE SEARCHES - have FIJA advocates pamphleted or refused courthouse searches?

DEMANDS FOR IDENTIFICATION - are they destroying the right to an informed jury?
FIJA CAN STOP RAPES OF MALES - stop the dark secret of the U.S. criminal injustice system.
NON-VIOLENT CHARGES -can FIJA stop the war on drugs (the war on everyone?).
PLANES, GUNS, SEARCHES (& 9-11) - can jurors expand the right of self-defense?
PILOTS, GUNS & YOU - can jury nullification protect 2nd amendment rights?

MOURNING 9-11-2001 -for libertarian reasons.  Use this yearly letter to support the 2nd Am.

LAWYER SEEKS INFO ON SEARCH REFUSALS - are jurors becoming better informed?

    Shocking news? It may be a misconception that rape is a “crime against women.” America’s criminal justice system has probably resulted in more rapes being committed against men  - men in prison.    
    One of the first significant American events of the new millennium took place on February 15, 2000. According to The Justice Policy Institute, the prison and jail population in this country reached 2,000,000 for the first time in our history. More than half of those imprisoned are nonviolent offenders. The largest category of prisoners, by a wide margin, are drug law violators.
    No other nation on earth, nor any nation in history has ever incarcerated so large a percentage of its citizens. Not only is the raw number growing, but the rate of increase is growing as well.
    The so-called “war on drugs” is reviving interest among jurors in the libertarian idea of jury nullification -every juror’s power to ignore criminal laws (such as drug laws and their draconian sentences) and to declare “not guilty” any defendant.  Many jurors are fed up with the war on drugs and with the number of people in prison.  
    The real crime is being committed by those who put into violent prisons all the non-violent adults who engage in non-violent behavior with other adults.  It is not a war on drugs. It is a war on the bill of rights and upon all citizens. 


     President’s Day (the third Monday each February) presents a secret way for everyone to be President for a day!
    The secret is that juries can veto acts of Congress -just as the President can.  It’s known as a jury veto, jury nullification or jury pardon.  It is related to the "Fully informed Jury Amendment." To learn more visit
    Being a juror is like being President for a day, because juror’s can veto the criminal laws of congress, and can grant any defendant a pardon, like the president can!  
    Every juror is more powerful than the president, because Congress can override the president’s veto, but Congress can’t override a jury veto.  The defendant goes free.      It’s like telling your congressman to go jump in a lake.
    Even if a jury thinks a defendant is factually guilty, they can declare the defendant not guilty, and they won’t be questioned about it, and the “not guilty” verdict won’t be overturned.  It’s a way that juries fight antidisestablishmentarianism. 
    It is a way to stop the growth of the record the 2 million people in prison
    There are only two normal ways that any person can restrict the government: elections and jury duty.  By voting at the ballot box, or by voting on a jury.
    The reason that jury nullification is secret is because it isn’t mentioned in the government schools, in the mainstream media, and definitely not on your local TV.   And the judges won’t tell the jurors, and the judges won’t let the defense attorneys tell the jurors either.  So people on the jury don’t realize that they each have the power to veto criminal laws and acquit.
    Jurors don't realize that they can be president for a day, every day.
for more ideas on liberty see

For more information about jury veto, jury nullification, jury pardon and the "Fully informed Jury Amendment" see 

Fully informed Jury Amendment, Pledge of Allegiance, Francis Bellamy, Edward Bellamy, Industrial Army, Military Socialism

Edward Bellamy Swastika, Industrial Army

I'd prefer that my son play mindless video games.


28 October 2008

Editor, Washington Post
1150 15th St., NW
Washington, DC 20071

Dear Editor:

We're supposed to be inspired by your report of high-school kids becoming politically active - working, in one case, for the Obama campaign, and in another for the McCain campaign ("Too Young to Vote, But Electing to Care," October 28).

I'm not inspired; I'm saddened.  Why applaud young people who are attracted to the opportunistic compromises, platitudes, distortions, and exaggerations of party politics?  These kids either lack the maturity to understand that party politics is chiefly about winning office (rather than about pursuing truth and justice), or they DO understand this fact.  In neither case is this juvenile political involvement admirable.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Chairman, Department of Economics
Enterprise Hall
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030