Skip to comments.Jury Nullification
Posted on 06/06/2014 4:00:34 AM PDT by knarf
While meditating on the concept of jury nullification .. I wondered ..
Just one of those thoughts I have too often that amuses me and makes me wonder.
In a day and age when most everyone is a criminal and about 30% (a guess) of those most everyone's a potential felon ... I wondered if it was legally possible for a judge to throw a charge out because the judge thought it was improper, or something.
They do it all the time ... particularly when the defendant is “of color”.
I don’t know but I’d sure like to see judges toss more frivolous cases out.
Judges make new law and ignore existing law all the time. As a specific, it would be possible for a judge to throw out a charge if the judge felt the case or the charge had no merit.
I know you can plead 'guilty' and throw yourself on the mercy of the court .. but can you plead 'not guilty' and do the same ?
I think I need to study more closely the ruling(s) of jury nullification.
Does a guilty guy have a lawyer that admits the guy is guilty but pleads for the jury to throw it out ? (synopsizing here .. )
Or do juries take it on their own to determine the charge is bogus/frivolous ?
It’s completely in the hands of the jury. The judicial system has tried to bury jury nullification. I’m sure any defendant trying to raise the issue would suffer the wrath of the court. The question is would the judge declare a mistrial if any attempt was made to enlighten a jury?
Prosecutors try to weed out anyone educated about jury nullification.
If I was guilty of the charges against me and hoping for nullification, I would prefer a jury. As a prospective juror, I would make an effort to be “truthful but not helpful” during voir dire (jury questioning and screening). I always want to be on a jury, if possible. I want to make the strongest possible case for locking up dangerous predators for as long as the law will permit, and I want to make the strongest possible case for nullifying laws that violate the Constitution or otherwise infringe on basic human rights.
Trust a judge? No, thank you. Most of them place more importance on following the letter of the law and covering their backsides than they do on justice.
Sure, they do it all the time. See the 'affluenza' case out of Fort Worth. Or the case over in east Texas where the Hollywood celebrities are getting a murderer off 'because of his childhood'.
Judges are SUPPOSED to rule on law....Juries on truth.
Jury nullification occurs when a jury acquits a defendant, even though the members of the jury believe the defendant to be guilty of the charges.
Therefore, the answer is no.
The reason the answer is no is because a judge can only judge the evidence but not the law. A jury can judge the evidence and the law.
What I wonder is how many jurors realize the enormous power they have to judge the law as well as the evidence.
John Roberts famously did this in the Obamacare case.
Local Judge...and convicted man in front of the Judges bench.
Son, I got some pennies in my hand and I’m going to toss them in the air in just a min..
Here is the deal, I’ll take a year off your sentence for every penny you catch.
Judge.. You ready?
Judge held out his hand in front of him and tossed them.............behind his (the Judge) back.
Judges and juries have considerable latitude in how they reach their decisions. A judge’s decision should be legally sound or he exposes himself to being overruled on appeal. But a jury does not need to explain its decision at all.
I sat on a jury for an obscenity case in district court. We were instructed on how to consider the evidence and what laws to apply to come to a verdict. But when we got to the jury room, it became a matter of personal prejudices and emotionalism. The judge’s instructions went right out the window.
However, I understand that a judge can overrule a grievously unjust verdict or refuse to accept it and order the jury to continue its deliberations. Or he can call for a “directed verdict” where the evidence is overwhelming in one direction or the other. However, all of those actions risk an appeal.