Aug 112013

Editor’s note: This arrived in our inbox as a letter to the editor from a reader in Versailles.

By Sally M. Bowman

In a jury trial it is the judge’s job to provide neutral legal advice to the jury,beginning with a full explanation of a juror’s rights and responsibilities. But judges rarely “fully inform” jurors of their right to judge the law itself and vote on the verdict according to conscience. Something is definitely wrong when the jurors feel apologetic about their verdict as in the Zimmerman/Martin trial.

So when it’s your turn to serve, be aware: you may and should vote your conscience, you can not be forced to obey a “juror’s oath.” You have the right to “hang” the jury with your vote if you cannot agree with other jurors.

There is so much more to jury nullification, and I encourage everyone to research for yourself, especially if you have jury duty or are going to be tried by jury (make sure the jury is informed about “jury nullification.”) It’s a way we have to get rid of bad laws that the government has taken away from “We the People.”

You can also check FIJA, the Fully Informed Jury Association, who believes that “Liberty and Justice for ALL” won’t return to America until citizens are again fully informed–and using–their power as jurors.

This piece is one of three appearing in our August 2013 print edition under the headline, Still thinking about Trayvon Marin. The others included “Spinning race for ratings” and “Reflections on the Lexington town hall meeting.”

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  One Response to “On jury nullification”

  1. I’m glad someone raised awareness about the issue of jury nullification (though I imagine jurors never feel fully comfortable when rendering a decision on any major trial, be it OJ, Casey Anthony, etc).

    I think one of the main issues with nullification is that if you know about it, and make it apparent that you do, you simply won’t be selected. Its just another sad way the law reasserts its own power.

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