Dressler, p. 19-28: Jury Nullification



Introductory Comment


J.D. sets up the question: should juries be able to nullify laws?  Should they be told they can do so?


Case: State v. Ragland


My view of jury nullification


Jury nullification is not inherently good or bad.  It can be used for good purposes or for bad purposes.


Any individual’s highest duty is to do what they believe is right, whether or not it is legal.  However, they must weigh this duty against the possible consequences of their actions, including being punished for violating the law.  What is unique about jury nullification is that the jury cannot be punished and cannot be overruled.


What are some things I can do?  I can spray paint “MIKE RULES” on the door of the law school, unless I get caught in the act.  Is this something I ought to do?  No.  Is this something that is expedient for me to do?  No, because my expected cost exceeds the expected benefit.


Even if it is my legal duty as a juror to decide a case based on the facts, it is my moral duty to vote according to what I believe the outcome ought to be.


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