Jury nullification is a term used to describe the phenomenon of a seated petit jury deliberately refusing to convict a criminal defendant, following a trial, despite evidence and legal instructions adequate to support a conviction. In a criminal trial, a jury of your peers determines whether you are innocent or guilty of the crime with which you are charged the jury comes to this decision by listening to witness testimony, evaluating the evidence presented, and considering the arguments of the prosecution and the defense. Having jury nullification is almost always bad in terms of individual cases the value in it is not that we really think juries can pick will when to decide to disregard the law and when not to. Learn about jury nullification, including its historical background and how the concept works in a criminal trial, at findlawcom. Jury nullification in the united states has its origins in colonial america under british law in the united states, jury nullification occurs when a jury in a criminal case reaches a verdict contrary to the weight of evidence, sometimes because of a disagreement with the relevant law.
Jury nullification is a concept where members of a trial jury find a defendant not guilty if they do not support a government's law, do not believe it is constitutional or humane, or do not support a possible punishment for breaking the law. According to the wikipedia entry: jury nullification is a constitutional doctrine which allows juries to acquit criminal defendants who are technically guilty, but who do not deserve punishment. A jury's knowing and deliberate rejection of the evidence or refusal to apply the law either because the jury wants to send a message about some social issue that is larger than the case itself, or because the result dictated by law is contrary to the jury's sense of justice, morality, or fairness. Telling jurors about jury nullification is not illegal juror rights educators do this frequently outside courthouses, without incident in the rare cases where people are arrested for doing so, they have generally prevailed if they are following.
Famous jury nullification cases april 3, 2013, zubair, leave a comment jury nullification is the acquiting of a defendant by a jury through a verdict of 'not guilty' by disregarding the court's judgment and its own findings of the facts. In a fascinating recent episode of the podcast radiolab, the show takes up the topic of jury nullificationit begins with the story of a woman, laura kriho, who, while serving as a juror, was horrified to learn of the lengthy sentence associated with the crime before the jury (possession of methamphetamine. Jury nullification: the evolution of a doctrine [clay s conrad] on amazoncom free shipping on qualifying offers juries have been delivering independent verdicts in the interest of justice for over 800 years. This on-demand webinar presents a study of the concept of jury nullification or jury pardon in the united states legal system it includes.
Orchestrated by state and federal courts on any issue of law in american history it would take at most four words to fairly summarize the unanimous consensus of state and. What is jury nullification jury nullification occurs when a jury returns a verdict of not guilty despite its belief that the defendant is guilty of the violation charged. Jury nullification: a primer jury nullification is essentially when a jury decides to acquit a defendant not because the evidence indicates that they were innocent, but because they disagree with.
Among such modes of resolution are the rule of lenity in criminal law, the executive pardon power, the application of equity jurisprudence to hard cases or manifest absurdities, the controversial but practically unstoppable power of jury nullification, as well as more rarefied mechanisms such as federal and state religious freedom restoration acts and the power of judicial review itself. Jury nullification occurs when jurors choose not to convict a defendant they believe to be guilty of the offense charged, usually because they conclude that the law in question is unjust or the. Jury nullification means a knowing and deliberate ignoring of evidence or a refusal to apply the law as explained in the jury instructions a jury may feel the application of the law is unfair, unjust or is immoral in some way.
The federal government eventually pressed charges, but at that point, jury nullification reared its ugly head — nicole hemmer, vox, the government prosecution of a black identity extremist fell apart meanwhile, white supremacists are on the march, 18 may 2018 the simpson case sparked. A trial jury is supposed to serve only as a fact finder: that is, to evaluate the veracity of witnesses and the strength of evidence presented at trial, then apply the law to that evidence in order to reach a verdict the jury isn't supposed to decide what the law is—or what it should be. Jury nullification by julian heicklen juries originally were introduced into england to protect the individual from the tyranny of government the first case in which juries nullified a law was that of william penn and william mead in england in 1670 the jurors refused to convict the two quaker activists charged with unlawful assembly. Official discussion on .
Jury nullification has a long history in american law as far back as 1735, a journal printer was accused of seditious libel for criticizing the british, but a jury ignored the law and acquitted him. Laura kriho is a jury nullification advocate who was charged with contempt of court while serving as a jurorin a 1994 colorado case, kriho was on a jury deciding the fate of a defendant charged with drug possession. Learn what the judge won't tell you about your rights as a juror and your role in protecting individual rights. Jury nullification is premised on the idea that ordinary citizens, not government officials, should have the final say as to whether a person should be punished.
Jury nullification a sanctioned doctrine of trial proceedings wherein members of a jury disregard either the evidence presented or the instructions of the judge in order to reach a verdict based upon their own consciences. Let's get free: a hip-hop theory of justice, by paul butler a wonderful defense of jury nullification from a former federal prosecutor who realized how jury nullification saved some black defendants he has prosecuting.