While Rich Paul sits in jail awaiting his June 7 sentencing date his friends and supporters aren’t sitting. They’re generating media coverage and fundraising efforts for his planned appeal after being convicted following his jury nullification defense against multiple drug counts in Keene, New Hampshire in April.
His appeal will almost certainly focus on the issue that while New Hampshire legally recognizes jury nullification – the right to judge the law itself as well as the facts in a case –the judge in Paul’s case failed to inform jurors of that fact during his jury instructions, telling them twice that they must interpret the law “as I explain it.”
“Judge John C. Kissinger read jury instructions lacking the jury nullification component in clear violation of New Hampshire State Law,” JJ Epic charges on both his Free Rich Paul Appeal Fundraiser at gofundme.com and his accompanying Facebook page.
Rich Paul’s girlfriend, Wendy French, agrees. “As for an opinion on the judge purposely misleading the jury,” she told Libertarian News examiner in an exclusive email exchange, “it is my opinion that he absolutely did, and this will be a key aspect of the appeal.”
French explains that “There was a motion filed by the Defense to read specific jury instructions, slightly different from the standard Wentworth instructions.”
When the state rested on Day 2 of the trial Judge Kissinger, according to French, told Prosecution and Defense to return the following morning to debate jury instructions. Instead, “the judge read his chosen instructions, waiting until the last moment during deliberation to give copies of the chosen instructions to the Prosecution and the Defense. Kissinger clearly dragged out the decision on a motion which should have been decided before the entire trial happened, and he clearly showed poor discretion and judicial misconduct, in my opinion.”
By purposely repeating “the law as I have explained it” French contends that “the last thing to go through those jurors’ minds was whether they themselves were breaking any laws, not whether they had any conscience or compassion for a human being’s life.”
In New Hampshire, the standard Wentworth instruction tells the jury that it should find the defendant guilty if the State had met its burden of proof.
“Wentworth instructions are in complete contradiction with a jury nullification argument by the Defense,” French insists.
At this writing his fundraiser stands at $1,060, well short of its $6,600 goal.
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