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Did you know that Juries have the right to nullify laws?

When a case goes to trial, a jury has THREE options - they can determine the defendant guilty or not OR they can nullify the law altogether if they believe that it violates the rights of the people.

http://fija.org/

 
Gal51

Asked by Gal51 at 3:16 PM on Nov. 9, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

Level 23 (15,495 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (16)
  • Excellent !

    It makes total sense that the jury - the PEOPLE - would have the power to decide a case without subjugation to laws.

    Remember: in America, all power comes FROM the people. When they elect someone, the people are lending that someone a bit of power so that that someone can serve the PEOPLE'S needs for governmental tasks.

    In America, citizens are NOT subjects; we are NOT "ruled" by those in power in the gov't and bureaucracies. We are SERVED BY them.

    So, private citizens - as in a jury - SHOULD indeed have power OVER the laws in a case which they are judging.
    waldorfmom

    Answer by waldorfmom at 3:02 AM on Nov. 10, 2010

  • No, that's not what nullification means in regards to jury trials. It's when they acquit a defendant, ignoring the law and/or the facts of the case. Only the legislature can change laws like that.
    ballewal

    Answer by ballewal at 3:21 PM on Nov. 9, 2010

  • Vetoing a law in this context is not the same as when the President or Governor vetoes a law. In this case, vetoing the law simply means failing to follow it. If you read the paragraph after what you quoted, you'll understand what it means:

    As recently as 1972, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said that the jury has an " unreviewable and irreversible power... to acquit in disregard of the instructions on the law given by the trial judge....

    ballewal

    Answer by ballewal at 3:31 PM on Nov. 9, 2010

  • That's not what is says. It says that a jury can acquit someone as a reaction to a law they feel is unfair. That is really not the same as "nullifying" a law, since a "nullified" law would not apply to anyone else, either.
    stacymomof2

    Answer by stacymomof2 at 9:35 PM on Nov. 9, 2010

  • The instructions to the jury in the first jury trial before the Supreme Court of the United States illustrate the true power of the jury


    But we have other mechanisms in that case. Mumia Abu Jamal is getting a new trial based on the instruction given to the jury that convicted him...

    sweet-a-kins

    Answer by sweet-a-kins at 3:29 PM on Nov. 9, 2010

  • But a jury acquits a person, not a law.
    UpSheRises

    Answer by UpSheRises at 4:01 PM on Nov. 9, 2010

  • WRONG ballewal

    But does the jury's power to veto bad laws exist under
    our Constitution?
    It certainly does! At the time the Constitution was
    written, the definition of the term "jury" referred to a
    group of citizens empowered to judge both the law and
    the evidence in the case before it. Then, in the February
    term of 1794, the Supreme Court conducted a jury trial
    in the case of the State of Georgia vs. Brailsford1. The
    instructions to the jury in the first jury trial before the
    Supreme Court of the United States illustrate the true
    power of the jury. Chief Justice John Jay said: "It is
    presumed, that juries are the best judges of facts; it is,
    on the other hand, presumed that courts are the best
    judges of law. But still both objects are within your
    power of decision." (emphasis added) "...you have a
    right to take it upon yourselves to judge of both,
    and to determine the law as wel
    Gal51

    Comment by Gal51 (original poster) at 3:26 PM on Nov. 9, 2010

  • http://www.fija.org/docs/JG_Jurors_Handbook.pdf
    Gal51

    Comment by Gal51 (original poster) at 3:26 PM on Nov. 9, 2010

  • Where'd you get that information?
    ballewal

    Answer by ballewal at 3:27 PM on Nov. 9, 2010

  • Do you see the link ... I've posted my source twice now.
    Gal51

    Comment by Gal51 (original poster) at 3:28 PM on Nov. 9, 2010

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