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Race-Based Jury Nullification

By actionsi Feb 28, 2011 365 Words
Race-based Jury Nullification
Jury nullification is a situation where the jury gives a non guilty judgment to a defendant whom he has evidence that he is guilty of the offence based on various reasons. It occurs when there is enough evidence to convict the defendant but the jury is persuaded that conviction is being injustice to the accused. Jury nullification is mainly based on the race of the defendant or the unjustness of the ruling against the defendant among other factors (Rivera, 2006). Some people view that the jurors should consider this option when they are faced with situation where the defendant is from a minority and he is persuaded that the law is unjust to the defendant. Some people believe that this is the only way to bring equality in our courts of law. They believe that jury nullification based on race is the only way to bring change and reduce racial discrimination in the American law courts. The judgment issued by the judge is not supposed to be wholly based on facts but should consider factors such as the racial injustices and inequalities based on their wisdom and experience. Otherwise a machine can effectively replace the judges (Rivera, 2006). A good number of Americans are not happy about a criminal being let free not because the law is unjust, but because he belong to a certain race. They view jury nullification as releasing wrong does back to the society to commit more crimes. The juror should therefore avoid jury nullification and consider the vulgarity of the criminal act committed, the background of the defendant and whether the law is just or not before deciding on this option. Race based jury nullification is subject to misuse by both the white and the black jurors. In many occasions jury nullification has been used to favor a certain race at the expense of the other race. Whites who have committed crimes against the blacks have been set free by juries at the expense of the blacks. Black juries have also misused jury nullification to free those who harm their enemies thus using race based nullification as a revenge tool against their enemies. (Jemal, 1997).

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