If ever there was a case for jury nullification…this is it

Read more about this case of injustice here. I posted on jury nullification on November 17, 2013: Jury Nullification: A Traditional Doctrine in the Law That Lawyers Are Not Supposed to Talk About.

This is germane, from the NRA-ILA website:

Legal theorists often described laws as fitting into one of two categories: malum in se or malum prohibitum. The distinction between the two was explained by the North Carolina Supreme Court in the 1905 case of State v. Horton: “An offense malum in se is properly defined as one which is naturally evil as adjudged by the sense of a civilized community, whereas an act malum prohibitum is wrong only because made so by statute.” Laws that treat all carrying of firearms as presumptively criminal, without proof of bad intent, are malum prohibitum. The fact that the conduct which led to Allen’s arrest would have been legal in over two-thirds of U.S. states makes New Jersey an outlier amongst the “civilized community” of the rest of the nation.

Allen’s case illustrates an essential truth of gun control. No matter how its proponents attempt to justify it under the guise of “violence prevention,” “public safety,” or even “public health,” its primary purpose is to promote a social and political agenda. The same ruthless despotism that results in school officials berating a harmless child for a “zero tolerance” infraction until the boy wets his pants is reflected here in the attitude of the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office. Shaneen Allen caused no harm. By all accounts, she acted in good faith, unaware she was violating an unusual and totally arbitrary prohibition. Yet all that is irrelevant to the State of New Jersey, which is willing to ruin not just her life, but the life of her two young children, to demonstrate just how unwelcome firearms are in the state.

Decency and justice have so far failed Shaneen Allen. Let’s hope the jury system – or executive clemency, if necessary – succeed where common sense and prosecutorial discretion have failed.

Those wishing to donate to Shaneen Allen’s legal defense fund may visit this link to contribute: http://gogetfunding.com/project/shaneen-allen-legal-defense-fund.

  • Kirsten Tynan of the Fully Informed Jury Association here. We do not advocate for or against any particular case in progress, but we do conduct juror education campaigns in with an eye to where the message would be particularly timely. We are currently organizing a juror education campaign in southern New Jersey. Anyone who would like to get involved is encouraged to call us in the office at 406-442-7800 or email us at aji@fija.org to be put in touch with that local campaign. Thank you!