Fully Informed Jury Association

Are you fully informed about jury nullification?

FIJA in the News & Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 08 Nov 2013

-Nullification by Jury

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DCMetroAdThis editorial in The Washington Times mentions the billboard ads in the Washington, D.C. metro. It gets some information wrong, but argues in favor of jury nullification as the last line of defense against unjust laws, citing numerous cases of people being arrested for minor offenses.

EDITORIAL: Nullification by jury

Under the American justice system, 13 judges sit in judgment of defendants. One presides in a black robe, and the other 12 sit in the jury box. “The 12 good men and true” (now including women) are not bound by the law or the judge’s instructions to convict a defendant; jurors are free to make up their own minds and act accordingly. This is usually the last line of defense for someone caught in the toils of an unjust law or unfair trial.

Note that in the case of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, juries did not protect slaves by refusing to convict them. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 outright denied alleged fugitives the right to trial by jury. How juries actually nullified the Fugitive Slave Act was refusing to convict defendants prosecuted for aiding fugitive slaves.

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