Frequently Asked Questions
Get answers to your questions about jury nullification, juries, jury rights, FIJA, and more.
In this growing collection of frequently asked questions, we go beyond the basics to address how jury nullification intertwines with hung juries and mistrials, the concept of double jeopardy, speedy trials, capital cases, and more.
Quora Answers by FIJA Authors
One way FIJA educates the public is by attracting an audience to our website to read information we make available here. Another way is to distribute the information we teach to people who have not yet found or would otherwise not visit our website by publishing it on sites that are more widely read than ours.
Quora is a question-and-answer website on which readers upvote the best answers and downvote inaccurate and uninformative answers so that the best of the best tends to rise to the top. Additionally, the best answers are featured in email digests that Quora distributes to readers by email, are featured as suggestions as related questions of potential interested to readers of other questions, and so on.
As of September 2018, Quora reported upwards of 300 million website visits per month. FIJA has taken advantage of this opportunity to extend our reach to members of the general public without a special interest in jury issues.
FIJA has published dozens of jury nullification and other jury-related answers on Quora that have been viewed more than 225,000 times. Executive Director Kirsten Tynan consistently ranks in the Top 10 Most Viewed Writers for the topic of jury nullification, frequently ranking #1 above even criminal defense attorneys and prosecutors in this category. She can also often be found on the Top 10 Most Viewed Writers list for the topic of jury duty.
Glossary of Legal Terms
The legal profession has a specialized vocabulary of its own. You will find many of these technical terms used on the FIJA website as well. To assist you in understanding such language related to jury rights that you may come across here, we have assembled an online glossary of terms defining many of them for your education and convenience. This is not meant to be a complete dictionary of all legal terms, but an abridged glossary defining terms commonly used in discussing this particular area of the law.
Laws Regarding Jury Rights
Every juror on every jury in the United States has the right to vote their conscience. Jurors may not legally be punished for their verdicts. This is a common law right dating back over 800 years through United States and, even before that, English history. Sometimes governments have sought to give that right extra protection with specific codification in constitutional or statutory law. Other times they have attempted to weaken and undermine it through legislation.
One of our popular resources is a summary of specific references to the authority of juries to conscientiously acquit contained within state constitutions as an added codification of the right of jury nullification to back up our common law tradition. Previously offered only in .pdf format, FIJA now offers this material as an interactive webpage, complete with dozens of embedded links to the specific state constitutional provisions and other references cited. All of the references have been checked and, in one instance where noted, the text has been updated to account for a constitutional amendment passed since the piece was originally published.
As a companion piece for those who are looking to find out about New Hampshire's unique statutory language—which is in their revised statutes, not their state constitution—FIJA offers a detailed overview of that particular piece of history. In this article, we provide documentation of the various stages in the rise and fall of the New Hampshire statute, which was ultimately eviscerated by the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
We are also in the process of fact-checking and preparing for online publication a wealth of new information on jury-related statutory laws in the fifty states, data on key jury-related Supreme Court decisions, and more.
- Learn about state constitution language regarding jury nullification >>>
- Learn about the rise and fall of New Hampshire's jury nullification statute >>>
- Find out what key jury legislation is under consideration in your state's current legislative session >>>
FIJA aims to be the premier online source of information on specific cases of jury nullification and other key cases in jury rights history. If you are looking for examples of jury nullification, want to know what the courts say about handing out FIJA literature at courthouses, or are interested in other jury rights issues related to jury nullification, this is your destination! Our growing collection includes both historical cases, such as the trials of William Penn and John Peter Zenger, all the way up to modern cases currently being litigated.
Jury Health Project
Since the founding of the United States, governments at all levels have chipped away at many of our rights that the founders intended to be protected by the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights. In other cases, where these founding documents did not guarantee and uphold liberty and justice for all, wider legal recognition of these rights has often been established through Constitutional amendments, legislation, and court precedent. The landscape for jury rights has changed significantly since the founding of the United States. Where do our jury rights stand today? It is time for a health check.
To provide exactly that, FIJA has created the Jury Health Project. We will be looking at numerous aspects indicative of the health or lack thereof of jury systems nationwide. We will evaluate the rules as officially spelled out, as well as their functionality in practice, of juries at the federal level, in all fifty states, and in Washington, D.C. with respect to each of these jury health indicators.
Brochures and Rack Cards
FIJA makes available for free download many of our publications. If you would like to have copies printed locally of our brochures, you can download printable masters of our brochures and rack cards here. Keep in mind that these masters are designed for reading when they are printed front to back and folded. If you are looking at the .pdf files, the information may not appear to be in the correct order because the files are not designed for online viewing. It will, however, be in order when printed and folded.
FIJA is periodically adding to this collection of historic documents, essays, articles, artistic works, etc. pertaining to the right to trial by jury and jurors' right to judge the law as well as the facts and render verdicts according to their consciences. In our ongoing effort to ensure that you can read all of the historic quotes we present in the Resources section of the website in context, we are working to ensure that the all the original source material that is in the public domain for those quotes is available in this section of the library.