Jury Nullification

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Jury Nullification

Jury Nullification

Shannon Collins

CJA/423 - Criminal Diversity in Criminal Justice

Instructor: Kenneth Bitting, M.A.

October 31, 2007

In this weeks project we are to recapitulate the arguments that are both in support of and opposed to race-based jury nullification. Including recent examples of race-based jury nullifications and to conclude by making a choice if we are in favor of or against race-based jury nullification and to support our standpoint on this matter.

Jury Nullification was established in English common law, it occurs when a member of the jury has a certainty that the facts that were presented at trial establishes the guilt of the accused, but inevitably votes to acquit. Juries have the right to refuse to apply the law when in regards to the accused, and ignore the judge's instructions when deciding the fate of any criminal case despite the facts that leave no reasonable doubt that the law was violated.

What the jury does is in effect nullifies the law in which it believes was used in a wrong way or rather the jury thinks that the law that was applied was used immorally, then chooses not to act.

Both Mr. Butler and Mr. Leipold make very convincing arguments in this particular arena. Mr. Leipold states that to encourage nullification will encourage lawlessness. To nullify a law because of your heartstrings that are being pulled in a certain direction due to a person feeling empathy towards someone's situation and then acquitting them is not the answer he says. He also believes that to nullify a law is very dangerous thing to allow a group of 12 individuals that are not accountable for the outcome and that alone is cause enough to be concerned. He goes on to say that how the jury comes to a...