The Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic

    Jury Nullification - CASE STUDY


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    Join date : 2009-10-26
    Location : West Point, NY

    Jury Nullification - CASE STUDY Empty Jury Nullification - CASE STUDY

    Post by Admin on Fri Oct 30, 2009 1:13 pm

    Jury Nullification

    The phrase “jury nullification” refers to the acquittal of a defendant by a jury regardless of the weight of the evidence. Jury nullification is possible because once a jury retires to the jury room to decide its verdict no one can compel the jurors to reach a particular verdict, and once the jury has reached its decision, it simply has to announce it. It doesn’t have to explain or justify it. Juries thus cannot be prevented from engaging in nullification. At this time, however, only two states, Indiana and Maryland, allow a judge to instruct a jury that it has the right to do so. In a recent Yale Law Review article, Professor Paul Butler has argued that individuals serving on juries that hear cases in which the defendant is a young African American male, and the crime at issue is a non—violent drug—related offense, should vote to acquit regardless of the evidence. In this connection, Professor Butler points to what he views as widespread discrimination against African Americans in the criminal justice system. He also contends that individual defendants, the African American community, and society as a whole, would all be better of f if young African American males, who commit non—violent drug—related offenses, remained in the community, rather than going to prison.

    Is Professor Butler’s proposal morally justifiable? If so, why? If not, why not?


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