Lawmakers consider jurors rights bill

A House bill on jurors rights had a brief hearing last week in the State House Judiciary Committee, then was held for later.

The bill promotes "jury nullification," letting a jury judge not just the case, but the law itself.

Identical versions were introduced in 2002 and 2009.

The Legislature's legal division has questioned whether House Bill 315 is constitutional and the Attorney General's office says it would lead to unfair and disorderly trials.

Representative Tammie Wilson is the prime sponsor of the measure.

Fairbanksan Frank Turney, who has been working to get the legislation passed for over 20 years, said "This is the third time in the past good 20 years its come before the legislature, Senator Coghill has introduced the bill three times. We want judges to instruct jurors that they have a right to judge the law, as well as the facts of controversy. Citizens have never been educated in history, what the power of the jury really is, to vote their conscience and judge the application of the law before them."