Skip to comments.Is Juror Annullment illegal?
Posted on 05/22/2005 4:31:57 PM PDT by knarf
Last night, during a "Law and Order" episode, the 'judge' said that juror annullment was illegal.
"It's an honor to be able to spread the word".
U.S. v. DOUGHERTY, 473 F.2d. 1113, 1139 (1972): "The pages of history shine on instances of the jury's exercise of its prerogative to disregard instructions of the judge...."
LORD DENMAN, (in C.J. O'Connel v. R. ,1884): "Every jury in the land is tampered with and falsely instructed by the judge when it is told it must take (or accept) as the law that which has been given to them, or that they must bring in a certain verdict, or that they can decide only the facts of the case."
This was established and demonstarted by a Jury in London in the year 1670, the month of September, a case brought to trial on the first day of that month. That Jury ignored the Judicial direction as what it might find, and was imprisoned overnights without food and water in the Tower of London for so doing. Some were held in the Tower until November.
Still that courageous Jury stood fast to its own judgement. Finally -- after considerable public efforts their verdict stood. Not the verdict for which the Judge asked not the charge the baliff had orignally declared..
The Jury ruled that William Penn was guily only of "Speaking in Public" -- no crime that. They had recast the very charge -- of incitement to riot, and found according to Liberty and Truth.
That trial and ruling by the Jury is part of our common law, as we inherited it.
God bless FReepers that know something and teach it freely to we, the people.
What knarf said, ma'am.
"jury nullification technically is NOT legal, in that it violates the specific instructions of the court with respect to following the applicable law. ...(T)he jurors have not committed a crime, but they HAVE violated their oath as jurors (in New York anyway) wherein they agree to follow the judge's instructions on the law."
I agree with that.
But there have been documented cases of jury nullification, and in some instances it was the noble thing to do (not in the OJ case, though, where the jury may have simply disregarded crucial evidence to form a conclusion that reasonable doubt existed).
The OJ case wasn't jury nullification because they didn't let him off because they thought laws against murder were invalid. They let him off because he was a rich black celebrity. Completely different motives.
In california the old Lawyer led voir dire process has been replaced by Judge replaced voir dire, as in the Federal process.
You are limited still to 6 peremtory challenges, and any number of challenges for cause.
I don't have a problem with it. The 6 gets rid of the unreasonable people (like me). The remainder are really pretty average. Think of the distribution of people, then pick 14 (12 plus to alternates) and then the 6 at each end. The 14 will be, with competent defense, pretty much in the middle, and reasonable. No PHDs, no cop's sisters. It is as good as you get.
Since the purpose of jury nullification is the prevention of the enforcement of laws with which a jury doesn't agree, who cares if it's "illegal" or not?
So if telling him is going to cause him to get high blood pressure as well as overstep the authority of his office, it's a kindness not to tell him. He has no particular need to know, anyway.
But how can it be illegal to disregard instructions which are in themselves incorrect as well as illegal?
Watching CRAP on TV should be illegal
Because jurors have no right, power or authority to determine what the law is or should be. The power of the jury is solely to determine the facts. That is ancient law.
How do you square that with the ultimate outcome of the William Penn heresy case, the Zenger "truth is no defense" when criticizing the government case, and these words of Thomas Jefferson: "I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution."
How about jurisdictions considering legislation requiring judges to explicitly tell jurors of this power?
Remember, judges issue instructions not orders
I don't know, I think Cincinatus might disagree with you. (IMNSHO, he'd be wrong)
Read the Peter Zenger case