Jury nullification allows jurors to acquit defendants because they believe a law is unjust.
Why do you say that. Does the jurist not have the right to vote his conscience? And if his conscience says that the law the defendant is being persecuted against is horse hockey shouldn't the jurist be able to say so?
That in a nutshell is jury nullification. We think the law is unconstitutional so we refuse to convict anyone of violating it.
The jury is the ultimate authority in any trial
“jury nullification is a spreading loony idea typical of our times”
I think not! If I was on a jury (and I’d lie to get on one if necessary) and the persecutor was persecuting some poor schlub for some BS infraction under some BS law, I’d hold out indefinitely for acquittal. A trial of the two pamphleteers would be the perfect example.
Jury Nullification has been around in Anglo-American jurisprudence since the 17th Century. The foundational case was the Bushell case where a jury refused to convict William Penn ( of Pennsylvania fame). Many colonial juries refused to convict on the basis that laws imposed by King George were unjust.( viz The Zenger case argued by Andrew Hamilton)
Chief Justice John Jay in Georgia v's Brailsford affirmed the right of the Jury to judge the law and the facts. In a rare jury trial before the supreme court he said the following:- " It may not be amiss here gentlemen to remind you of the good old rule that on questions of fact , it is the province of the jury to decide , on questions of law, it is the province of the court to decide. But it must be observed that by the same law , which recognizes this reasonable distribution of jurisdiction, you have nevertheless a right to take upon yourselves to judge of both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy.... For, as on the one hand it is presumed that juries are the best judges of fact, it is on the other hand ,presumable that the court are the best judges of the law. But stillboth objects are lawfully within your power of decision." ,
Was John Jay a" loony"?
“Jurors should acquit, even against the judge’s instruction if exercising their judgment with discretion and honesty, they have a clear conviction the charge of the court is wrong.” Alexandar Hamilton.
“I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet devised by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.” Thomas Jefferson.
“It is not only [the juror’s] right, but his duty to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.” John Adams.
I’ll stand by Tom, Alex and John when serving on a jury.
So you are over two hundred years old?
Jury nullification is a concept understood, discussed, and considered to be a balance on judiciary malfeasance by the founding fathers.
“even though jury nullification is a spreading loony idea typical of our times.”
You need education. Seriously.
Only if you consider 1794 recent and John Jay a loon:
“John Jay, first Chief Justice, U.S. Supreme Court, wrote in Georgia v. Brailsford, 3 U.S. 1 (1794): “The jury has a right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy.”
Not as loony as you though.
The case I was taught regarding jury nullification in law school involved some protestors who trespassed into and trashed someone's office. Their defense was U.S. foreign policy and the Vietnam War. The jury agreed, and they walked.
I remember thinking to myself: "something ain't quite right, here"--as I looked at all the commielibs in the class furiously scribbling notes.
So yeah, nullification is constitutionally protected jury behavior. Just be careful what you wish for . . . .