Do Citizens Have a First Amendment Right Advocate Jury Nullification?

A recent New York indictment brings to a head the thorny issue of jury nullification. Jury nullification has existed since the earliest days of juries. Because a US jury’s acquittal is final, a prosecution has no way to appeal an acquittal that is granted which is contrary to the facts or the law. Attorneys dance around this issue. We cannot overtly argue for jury nullification, but know in sympathetic cases, a jury may ignore the literal elements of the offense and acquit because they sympathize with the Defendant.

Retired Pennsylvania State University chemistry professor was indicted for jury tampering for passing out leaflets on the courthouse steps urging prospective jurors to do precisely that. As this
New York Times article points out, this case will test the limits of the First Amendment. get