Monday, August 01, 2005

What Every American Citizen Should Know!!

Say you are on a jury, and the judge has just instructed you to make a judgment based on the law, but you feel that the law that the plaintiff is being tried under is unjust. What can you do?

You CAN give a verdict of Not Guilty under the doctrine of Jury Nullification.
In his 1998 book "Jury Nullification: The Evolution of a Doctrine," Clay S. Conrad defines "jury nullification" this way: "Jurors in criminal trials have the right to refuse to convict if they believe that a conviction would be in some way unjust."

The doctrine of jury nullification rests on two truths about the American criminal justice system: (1) Jurors can never be punished for the verdict they return, and (2) Defendants cannot be retried once a jury has found them not guilty, regardless of the jury's reasoning. So the juries in both the Rosenthal and Paey cases could have returned a "not guilty" verdict, even though Paey and Rosenthal were undoubtedly guilty of the charges against them.

This may sound radical, perhaps even subversive, but jury nullification serves as an important safeguard against unjust laws, as well as against the unfair application of well-intended laws. It's also steeped in American and British legal tradition.

Read the whole article to understand it's history and use.

In these days of activist judges making new laws from the bench and out of control legislatures creating unjust laws, this is way for the average citizen to not only protest the law but to nullify it's effects. The doctrine of Jury Nullification is not one that the judicial system wants us to know about, let alone to use, because it takes the power out of their hands and places them back into the hands of the people. As Mr Balko said, it is our duty to serve on juries, and it is also our duty to nullify those unjust laws that have infested the American judicial system.

Mr Minority