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Nullification strategy doesn't always work in New Hampshire

After a jury nullified a guilty verdict in the case of Doug Darell, a Rastafarian man who grew marijuana plants as part of his religion, last month, another defense lawyer in the Granite State has urged nullification for his client.

Under the nullification proviso of the state's law, even in cases where the prosecution proves guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the conviction can be thrown out and the plaintiff found innocent by a jury.

Larry Minassian's lawyer argued that the jury should do just that in court this week. Minassian stood accused of threatening policemen with a knife. His defense rests on the nature of the 53-year-old man's encounter with the officers, which occurred on January 6, 2011.

Minassian allegedly made a 911 call to lure emergency responders to his home so that he could instigate a suicide-by-cop. When the responders arrived at his home, Minassian was wielding a knife and reportedly ran at the officers, who shot and injured him. None of the officers were stabbed during the incident, but Minassian's leg had to be amputated due to his wounds.

After arguments were given in the case, the jury deliberated for just under an hour before delivering a guilty verdict for Minassian. He could face up to seven years in prison due to the conviction.

Nullification is included in the Constitution, and recently New Hampshire passed a law allowing that part of any criminal defense can involve arguing that the jury should use the philosophy when determining an individual's guilt.

If you have been accused of a crime in the Granite State, an experienced New Hampshire criminal attorney can argue your case and help ensure that you received a fair trial.

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