Friday, November 15, 2013

REPORT: Jury Rights Billboard Campaign Infuriates Prosecutors

Published on Nov 7, 2013
WASHINGTON DC | A new billboard in Washington, DC is causing controversy with its call to jurors, informing them of their right to jury nullification. The illuminated advertisment appears at the Judiciary Square Metro Station in the nation's capitol.

The billboards say "Good Jurors Nullify Laws" and "You have the right to 'hang' the jury with your vote if you cannot agree with other jurors." It is in an area where jurors pass on their way to federal courtrooms.

This has upset prosecutors, who believe widespread practice of jury nullification could lower their conviction rate. In courts around the country, government lawyers are asking judges to instruct jurors to judge just the facts in a case to determine guilt and innocence.

Jury nullification allows a juror to judge not just the facts in a case, but the legal basis of the law as well. Jurors have found defendants innocent of crimes throughout western history based on the law being unjust.

The billboards went up in October, and a fury erupted almost immediately.

The controversial ads were designed by graphic artist James Babb. The Philadelphia native organized a fund-raising campaign that collected $3,000 to run the advertisements. Babb is now placing similar ads near courtrooms in cities around the nation.

James Babb is our guest on the show today. He is here to talk to us about his ad campaign, the history and rise of the jury nullification movement, and opposition to his ads.