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Pre-trial Jury Nullification

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Posts

  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    mythago wrote: »
    Hachface wrote: »
    You have it totally fucking backwards. In 1787, jury nullification was a recognized power of the jury. If the writers of the constitution wanted to remove that power, they would have written it so. But they didn't. They did not change the traditional legal understanding of the jury's power in any way.

    [citation needed on that 'recognized' thing]

    Saggio has provided adequate citation for the recognition of jury nullification in the common law tradition. Somewhere around page 8 I think.
    Trial by jury was recognized, too, yet the Framers put in the Constitution. What's up with that redundancy?

    The king had a tendency to ignore that whole trial by jury thing, so the framers wanted to be extra special sure that trial by jury was an essential part of the judicial system. Also, just as important as the requirement for jury trial in Article III is the requirement that the trial take place in the same state/district as the crime; the king also had a habit of spiriting colonial criminals off to England to face an English jury.

  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    DeShadowC wrote: »
    mythago wrote: »
    DeShadowC wrote: »
    The problem being once someone is arrested for violating said law, there isn't anything they can do if the evidence shows they are guilty, except hope the jury nullifies.

    Sorry, what? If somebody is arrested under a law, nobody is allowed to try to get that law overturned? Nobody is allowed to claim the law is unconstitutional? Nobody is allowed to have the DA's office drop the charges?

    Once they're arrested and being tried its too late to have the law overturned. Once they're being tried the DA has already decided to charge them. I'm talking bad laws which aren't necessarily unconstitutional, of which we've discussed multiple ones in this thread even on this page.

    Basically this.

    You don't need a tyrannical monarch to make jury nullification a valuable feature of the system. All you need is a few badly written laws and some overzealous prosecutors. The United States has both of these in abundance.

  • IncendiusIncendius Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    I find it amusing that you guys offer convincing the DA to not prosecute and writing to the governor for a pardon as solutions. I guess one guy "overrul[ing] the democratic process and judiciary" is fine but 12 isn't.

    Governors and DAs are elected officials with the power to give pardons/decide not to prosecute as part of their job description, jury members are not elected officials and it has yet to be convincingly shown that juries are intended to be arbiters of the justness of a law as well as the facts pertaining to a particular case.

    -SPI- wrote:
    The helicopter is actually the antagonist of the game.
    "Look at you, Human. A pathetic creature of meat and bone, panting and sweating as you run through my jungle. How can you challenge a perfect, immortal machine?... Chuku Chuku Chuku"
  • SiliconStewSiliconStew Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    Incendius wrote: »
    I find it amusing that you guys offer convincing the DA to not prosecute and writing to the governor for a pardon as solutions. I guess one guy "overrul[ing] the democratic process and judiciary" is fine but 12 isn't.

    Governors and DAs are elected officials with the power to give pardons/decide not to prosecute as part of their job description, jury members are not elected officials and it has yet to be convincingly shown that juries are intended to be arbiters of the justness of a law as well as the facts pertaining to a particular case.

    It is not only [the juror's] right, but his duty...to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.

    John Adams, 1771


    .....it is usual for the jurors to decide the fact, and to refer the law arising on it to the decision of the judges. But this division of the subject lies with their discretion only. And if the question relate to any point of public liberty, or if it be one of those in which the judges may be suspected of bias, the jury undertake to decide both law and fact.

    Thomas Jefferson, "Notes on Virginia," 1782


    It is presumed, that juries are the best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumed that courts are the best judges of law. But still both objects are within your power of decision.....you have a right to take it upon yourselves to judge of both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy.

    Chief Justice John Jay, Georgia v. Brailsford, 1794


    Jurors should acquit, even against the judge's instruction...if exercising their judgement with discretion and honesty they have a clear conviction that the charge of the court is wrong.

    Alexander Hamilton, 1804


    In the trial of all criminal cases, the Jury shall be the Judges of Law, as well as of fact, except that the Court may pass upon the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain a conviction

    Article XXIII, Constitution of the State of Maryland


    In all criminal cases whatsoever, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts.

    Article I, §19, Constitution of the State of Indiana


    It is universally conceded that a verdict of acquittal, although rendered against the instructions of the judge, is final, and cannot be set aside; and consequently that the jury have the legal power to decide for themselves the law involved in the general issues of guilty or not guilty.

    Justices Gray and Shiras, Sparf and Hansen v. United States, 1894, dissent


    The jury has the power to bring a verdict in the teeth of both the law and the facts.

    Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Horning v. District of Columbia, 1920


    If the jury feels the law is unjust, we recognize the undisputed power of the jury to acquit, even if its verdict is contrary to the law as given by a judge, and contrary to the evidence...If the jury feels that the law under which the defendant is accused is unjust, or that exigent circumstances justified the actions of the accused, or for any reason which appeals to their logic or passion, the jury has the power to acquit, and the courts must abide by that decision.

    4th Circuit Court of Appeals, United States v. Moylan, 1969


    [The jury has an] unreviewable and irreversible power...to acquit in disregard of the instructions on the law given by the trial judge...The pages of history shine on instances of the jury's exercise of its prerogative to disregard uncontradicted evidence and instructions of the judge; for example, acquittals under the fugitive slave law.

    D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, Unites States v. Dougherty, 1972

    Just remember that half the people you meet are below average intelligence.
  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    ....aaaaaaaaaaand SiliconStew wins the thread.

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