D.C. Nine

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The D.C. Nine were nine men and women, including seven who were priests and nuns, who engaged in a daytime protest against the Dow Chemical Company and its production of napalm and were charged with malicious destruction of property and unlawful entry. They attempted to present a political defense, but the judge instructed the jury, "The Vietnam War is not an issue in this case. You are not trying ideas. You are not trying the United States. You are not trying society...Therefore, if you find beyond a reasonable doubt that one or more of the defendants had the required intent to commit one or more of the offenses with which they are charged, then it is no defense that he or she also had one or more other intentions, reasons, purposes or motives, such as to protest against the Vietnam War or the activities of the Dow Company; nor is it a defense that he or she acted from sincere, religious motives, or that he or she believed that his or her intent was justified by some higher law." The defendants were also not allowed to proceed pro se, since the judge was concerned that they would disrupt the proceedings. They were convicted, but were granted new trials due to the denial of their right to self-representation. Their appellate case, United States v. Dougherty, had important implications for the jurisprudence surrounding jury nullification.[1]


  1. ^ United States v. Dougherty, 473 f2d 1113 (DC Cir. June 30, 1972).