Jury nullification definition is - the acquitting of a defendant by a jury in disregard of the judge's instructions and contrary to the jury's findings of fact. It is undeniable that juries have the RIGHT, in any criminal trial, to render a verdict that IGNORES the “law” as it … Thus the law is “nullified”. For example, jury nullification may happen when a jury is convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of the guilt of a defendant in a criminal case. 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. Those great men, Patriots all, intended the jury to serve as a final safeguard – a test that laws must pass before gaining sufficient popular authority for enforcement. “Jury nullification of law,” as it is sometimes called, is a traditional right that was rigorously defended by America’s Founding Fathers. Last month, Michigan man Keith Wood was convicted of a misdemeanor after being caught distributing pamphlets about ‘jury nullification’ outside a courthouse. A Michigan jury acquitted Dr. Kevorkian, even though he admitted killing his patients, exercising their right of jury nullification. When jury nullification happens, the defendant in the case is found to be “not guilty” of the charges against them. Bernard’s client, Javonnie Mondrea McCoy, a well-respected local landscaper, was found not guilty by a Laurens County jury of manufacturing marijuana, as well as possession of other objects relating to the drug. If you need a custom essay or research paper on this topic please use our writing services. Thus, the power of jury nullification allows ordinary people on a jury to defy tyranny when laws or their application are unjust. Blythe’s 1998 case is a clear-cut example of jury nullification, or jury equity, as it is sometimes known in the UK. Most racial problems in society stem exactly from this attitude. that's jury nullification. Dictionary ! Jury Nullification Defies Tyranny. For every celebrity acquitted because of his popularity, there is an example of a person acquitted because the government overstepped its limits. By comparison, reverse jury nullification receives limited press. (A.K.A. Menu. Jury nullification occurs when a jury concludes that a defendant is technically guilty, but fails to convict the defendant on the grounds that the law in question is unjust. JURY NULLIFICATIONJury nullification occurs when the prosecutor convinces a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime charged, but the jury nevertheless decides to acquit. Edward Forchion. In 1997, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that a juror's intent to nullify the law was JUST CAUSE for dismissal from the jury. Some examples of ethnicity-based jury nullification are as follows. For example, if someone assists a terminally ill spouse in pain … Jury nullification is defined as a process where a jury acquits a defendant, even though the members of the jury believe the defendant is guilty of the charges. The Lien-Soong camp has filed a lawsuit for the nullification of the election and another for the nullification of the electee 's status. EssayEmpire.com offers reliable custom essay writing services that can help you to receive high grades and impress your professors with the quality of each essay or research paper you hand in. By Joe Wolverton, II, J.D. The truth is quite different. As the Fugitive Slave Act, the Volstead Act , the USA PATRIOT Act, and every other evil, absurd, or hysterical legislation has proven time and again — legislators are hardly infallible. Jury nullification does not repeal bad laws, rather it allows juries to show mercy for defendants if they believe the law is wrong or is simply being misapplied. Jury nullification happens when jurors don’t agree with a law, or think there should be an exception. The term “jury nullification” refers to a refusal by juries to convict a defendant of violating a law that they might consider unfair or incorrectly applied. The King thereafter had to seek permission from the people before he could take someone's freedom away. The concept is that the system is biased toward the ethnic majority and nullification can be used to balance the system for minorities. Similarly, to say that jury nullification is justified when a Just law is being applied unjustly, as in the grandmother example above is also inconsistent. It can occur in criminal or civil trials. The last stand against tyranny can take place in the jury box. the NJ Weedman) 4. Jury nullification is a legal concept which occurs when a jury decides that a law is not humane, constitutional, or the punishment involved goes against their moral code. Jury nullification has also been criticized for having resulted in the acquittal of whites who victimized blacks in the Deep South. It's used to describe the power of a iury to acquit if they believe that a particular law is oppressive, or if they believe that a lawv is fair, but to apply it in certain circumstances would be oppressive. Examples include controversial social issues such as motorcycle helmet laws, ABORTION and right-to-life issues, medicinal use of marijuana, and EUTHANASIA. ... More recent examples of nullification might include acquittals of "mercy killers," including Dr. Jack Kevorkian, and minor drug offenders. The relatives and friends of two teenagers that were accused in beating a Mexican immigrant to death are having a hard time containing the relief of the non-guilty verdict that was announced for the most serious charges that were filed against the two former high school football stars. Once upon a time when the world was younger, if a jury engaged in nullification, they committed a felony and could be prosecuted. It is a constitutional doctrine that allows for the acquittal of defendants who are technically guilty of a crime, but who the jury does not feel should be punished for their actions because the law itself is unjust. Jury nullification appeared at other times in our history when the government has tried to enforce morally repugnant or unpopular laws. In a speech at New York University, Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor came out in support of the practice of jury nullification. The concept of jury nullification is that juries should be able to not only decide whether a defendant violated the law, but whether the law itself is just and proper. The Barons of England compelled King John to sign the Magna Carta and trial by jury was established. Yet, like nullification, reverse nullification has … A jury’s primary role in a criminal case is to decide the facts, and the ultimate question of whether a defendant is guilty or not guilty. This example Jury Nullification Essay is published for educational and informational purposes only. Simpson criminal case.) 2 However, in an unusually clear example of jury nullification , the pair were acquitted, and the order was accordingly discharged. In deviating from both the law’s charge, and the judge’s instructions, the jury exercised its longstanding right to return an independent verdict. While you and I may believe that the grandmother is just in growing marijuana to save the life of her grandson who has AIDS, many Americans believe that growing marijuana is never justified, which makes determining justice arbitrary. David L. Bazelon argued, "One often-cited abuse of the nullification power is the acquittal by bigoted juries of whites who commit crimes (lynching, for example) against blacks. Finally, some of the arguments for jury nullification sound like arguments for executive clemency in slight disguise. The act of nullifying or the state of being nullified. Yet in many cases juries are unaware they have this power, and it remains untapped. Similarly, Abolitionist sympathizers would often find a defendant innocent in cases of harboring escaped slaves, even if the evidence showed they had harbored the escaped slaves. Examples of Jury Nullification Throughout History; 1215. But still, the jury votes to acquit him or her of the charges anyways despite the evidence. What people mean when they say “jury nullification” is generally, that the jury has a right to acquit a person who technically violated the letter of the law. For example, during Prohibition, many jurors exercised their right to jury nullification by finding those charged with bootlegging innocent, even if the facts showed they had committed the crime. Examples of Jury Nullification Jury nullification has a long history in American law. Now, the term 'nullification' I think is a bad term. Even those supporting race-based jury nullification in general in favor of African-American defendants, for example, agree that “it can be and has been used by white juries to free whites who have illegally harmed blacks simply because they where white” (Jemal, 1998). ... For example, consider the variety of gun crimes that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has the power to prosecute. What is curious is that the only examples of jury nullification that appear in the media are the ones where the right is used poorly. “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. (Recent examples may include the O.J. However, nullification has also been rightfully criticized due to its use by all-white juries to indemnify white defendants who committed racially-motivated crimes. Ed Forchion: Ed Forchion, aka the New Jersey Weedman, is an advocate for the legalization of marijuana and jury nullification. Executive clemency should be a critical part of any criminal justice system. While jury nullification is legal, judges frequently do not inform juries of this power, and may prohibit defense attorneys from doing so , according to the University of Missouri. 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