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Jury Nullification
by Rick Stanley

Everyone knows that America's criminal justice system is failing. Our prisons are packed with non-violent drug offenders and other political prisoners. (See, for example, this account of the Gregory Golyansky case.) Murderers, child molesters, rapists, and thieves are routinely released early to commit more evil deeds. Defendants with "big-name" lawyers beat serious charges on legal technicalities, while middle class defendants are sent up the river for smoking pot. Clearly, Justice is in trouble.

Sadly, most Americans do not realize that jury nullification is a safe, dependable, and time-tested path leading out of the legal quagmire our failing "justice system" has created.

Every juror in every criminal case has the natural right to disregard the court's jury instructions, and to return a verdict of Not Guilty on the basis of his or her own conscience. If you are summoned to serve on a jury, and you feel in your heart that the law under which the defendant has been charged is unjust, or unconstitutional, it is your right -- indeed, it is your duty -- to let the innocent defendant go free, no matter what the judge tells you about "the facts" and "the law."

If every American understood this simple concept, our failing justice system would be transformed. If jurors refused to convict nonviolent drug offenders and others charged with "victimless crimes," there would soon be more room in our prisons for the murderers and child molesters and rapists and thieves who belong there.

As your U.S. Senator, I will introduce legislation requiring every federal judge to inform each juror in a criminal case that it is the juror's duty to judge both the law and the fact, and to acquit the defendant if the law itself is unconstitutional, or unjust.

Links to more information
about Jury Nullification

Fully Informed Jury Association

Their official web site.

Quote about Jury Nullification

"It is left... to the juries, if they think the permanent judges are under any bias whatever in any cause, to take on themselves to judge the law as well as the fact. They never exercise this power but when they suspect partiality in the judges; and by the exercise of this power they have been the firmest bulwarks of English liberty."

--Thomas Jefferson to Abbe Arnoux,
1789. ME 7:423, Papers 15:283

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