Porsha-Shaf’on Venable

Educating the community to bring more balance in the criminal legal system through an age old tool used when the US broke away from Britain: jury nullification

Black and white image of Porsha-Shaf'on Venable
Black and white image of Porsha-Shaf'on Venable

While few people get excited about jury duty, Porsha-Shaf’on believes New Yorkers are missing an opportunity: jury duty is not only a unique and given civic right, it’s a quiet but important lever for change in our legal system. More than training on the importance of sitting on a jury, Porsha-Shaf’on is obsessed with making nullification the next big thing - a power that all jurors have and should be encouraged to use. (Nullification is when a jury votes their conscience. A prosecutor has proven the elements of an offense but nonetheless the jury votes to acquit the defendant.) 

Porsha-Shaf’on is proposing a new kind of organization that is laser-focused on education of nullification through training, marketing, and advisory. As a public defender, she can make arguments that tee up nullification to juries, but she’s constrained on how much she’s able to ‘educate’ in her current role. With a new organization, Porsha-Shaf’on would focus on meeting with grassroots organizations,  public defenders, and most importantly, community members to demystify nullification.