Jury Nullification

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    I know that there is a lot of discussion of state nullification, but what about the power of Jury nullification? Early redresses to the king and parliament always included the “Right to trial by Jury”, Adams stressed how important it was for the Juror to vote his conscience, Jefferson said he thought trial by Jury one of the only ways to keep government in check, John Jay would tell Jurors of their Right, and even Patrick Henry spoke of the importance of it, and I think gave the proper definition of ones “Peers”.
    We can make an argument that freedom of speech, press, conscience and religion in the colonies in part came about from the Jury.
    I honestly believe if the Jury knew it’s power, and the Grand jury, we could in part slow government, at least we could keep people who have no reason to be in jail except for violating some state statute with no injured party, from getting thrown in and tossed away.
    The Jury (trial by ones peers) I think would even play an important roll in an Anarcho-capitalist society. I know way to many people who think it’s all nonsense and wrong, that mere man shouldn’t go against the judge or state.
    Would you guys consider a lecture on it for Liberty Classroom?
    Thanks, and I love the courses. Fantastic.


    I second this post.

    Especially in light of some recent jury nullification victories, I’d love to learn more about it. It’s got me excited about someday being asked to be on a jury.


    Wow, meant “role” not roll. Haha.


    I wondered the same thing. I was ‘conscripted’ into jury duty last spring, and had the unfortunate luck of being assigned to a trial as a jury alternate. During the briefings from the judge before the trial began, she made it clear that the jury’s responsibility was to determine whether or not the defendant was guilty of the crime being charged with, and seemed to imply that we shouldn’t worry about the law itself. Fortunately, the trial was about embezzlement instead of artificial created crimes.

    It was an interesting experience, but not one that I hope to go through again…


    The leading living American legal historian wrote a book on the process by which juries were deprived of their common-law right to pass on the law as well as the facts. Here’s my review of that outstanding work, which I recommend for laymen and experts alike:



    Excellent article Mr. Gutzman. What is your opinion of New Hampshire’s recent law that was passed allowing the defense in a case to instruct the jury of their Right to judge the law?
    And while the Right was deprived, it actually was never revoked, as I still don’t think even in the USSA have I heard of a Juror being incarcerated for voting against the instructions of the judge.
    Alaska has a interesting ballot measure this year on whether or not to have a state constitutional convention. We have maybe the most socialist state constitution of the many states. While I do not vote, many of my friends want to vote for the convention hoping that they can get one of our “bill of Rights” to not only state the Right of Trial by Jury but also add the Rights of the Juror to it. Interesting, but I think we would end up with something worse than we have, if that’s possible.
    I really believe in the Rights of the Juror, I just wish there was more education and talk about it from the Liberty minded folks, we spend a lot of time talking about state nullification, which is good, but how does the Citizen protect himself from the state? The Jury.
    Thank you for the article!

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