Jury Nullification

Topics: Jury, Common law, Law Pages: 10 (3998 words) Published: October 17, 2002
Jury nullification means that a jury finds a defendant innocent because the law itself is unjust, or is unjust in a particular application, and so should not be applied. So really what this means is that no mater what the law says the jury will pretty much have the right to choose weather the person is going to be guilty or innocent and that is kind of ok in some cases but then again its not in others so we should not expect our juries to judge our laws only the case that person is being tried in and they should only judge that person on all of the facts given.

Amendment VI

This is the sixth amendment and this tells you about what juries can do in cases of law. "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense." What all of this means is that everyone that gets convicted of a crime gets all of the same benefits weather its a misdemeanor, felony, or capital crime. Everyone get the rights to a speedy trial and an impartial jury.

Some of the people in the world always ask themselves this question when in the court room " WHY DID OUR FOUNDING FATHERS EXPECT CITIZEN JURIES TO JUDGE OUR LAWS AS WELL AS THE GUILT OF THE INDIVIDUAL ?" Well the answer is really simple its Because: "If a juror accepts as the law that which the judge states then that juror has accepted the exercise of absolute authority of a government employee and has surrendered a power and right that once was the citizen's safeguard of liberty." (1788) (2 Elliots Debates, 94, Bancroft, History of the Constitution, 267) "Jury nullification of law", as it is sometimes called, is a traditional American right defended by the Founding Fathers. Those Patriots intended the jury serve as one of the tests a law must pass before it assumes enough popular authority to be enforced. Thus the Constitution provides five separate tribunals with veto power -- representatives, senate, executive, judges and jury -- that each enactment of law must pass before it gains the authority to punish those who choose to violate it. Thomas Jefferson said, "I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution." The power of the jury to judge the justice of the law and to hold laws invalid by a finding of "not guilty" for any law a juror felt was unjust or oppressive dates back to the Magna Carta, in 1215. At the time King John could pass any laws any time he pleased. Judges and executive officers, appointed and removed at his whim, were no more than servants of the king. The oppression became so great that the nation rose against the ruler and the barons of England compelled their king to pledge that no freeman would be punished for a violation of any laws without the consent of his peers. King John violently protested when the Magna Carta was shown to him, "and with a solemn oath protested, that he would never grant such liberties as would make himself a slave." Afterwards, fearing seizure of his castle and the loss of his throne, he granted the Magna Carta to the people, placing the liberties of the people in their own safekeeping. (Echard's History of England, p. 1067.) The Magna Carta was a gift reluctantly bestowed upon his subjects by the Its sole means of enforcement, the jury, often met with hostility from the Crown. By 1664 English juries were routinely fined for acquitting a defendant. Such was the case in the 1670 political trial of William Penn for preaching Quakerism to an unlawful assembly. Four of the twelve jurors voted to acquit and continued to acquit even...
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