Frequently Asked Questions
This information is provided for educational purposes. These are our observations only and do not constitute legal advice. FIJA does not offer legal advice or legal referrals.
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Jury Nullification Basics
- What is jury nullification?
- Is jury nullification legal?
- Why would a juror want to nullify?
- How do I use jury nullification to conscientiously acquit?
- If I conscientiously acquit, can I legally be punished?
- Should I discuss jury nullification with my fellow jurors?
- Are judges who say jury nullification is invalid telling the truth?
- What are some examples of jury nullification?
Legal Basis for Jury Nullification
- Where are jury rights codified in the United States Constitution?
- Where is jury nullification codified in the United States Constitution?
- What is the legal basis for jury nullification?
- What was the intent of the Founders with regard to jury nullification?
- What laws specifically permit jury nullification?
- Is jury nullification illegal where there is no law specifically authorizing it?
- Is jury nullification a right or just a power?
- What have the courts said in support of jury nullification?
- What have legal professionals said in support of jury nullification?
Hung Juries and Mistrials
- Must the jury agree on a verdict?
- What happens if there is a hung jury?
- What is a mistrial?
- What is an Allen (or "dynamite") charge?
- How can someone be retried after a hung jury?
- What does jury nullification have to do with hung juries and mistrials?
- What is double jeopardy?
- When does jeopardy "attach" (and what does that mean)?
- When does jeopardy "terminate" (and what does that mean)?
- Isn't prosecuting someone twice or more for the same offense in the same court putting them in double jeopardy?
- Doesn't prosecuting someone in federal court for an offense they were acquitted of in state court violate double jeopardy?
- What does double jeopardy have to do with jury nullification?
Jury Selection (Voir Dire)
- What is voir dire?
- How do I get on the jury?
- Should I bring up jury nullification during jury selection?
- What are challenges for cause?
- What are peremptory challenges?
- May I be eliminated from the jury because of my race or gender?
- May I be eliminated from the jury because of my religion?
- May I be eliminated from the jury because of my sexual orientation?
- May I be eliminated from the jury because of my political affiliation?
- How is jury selection used to eliminate fully informed jurors who might exercise jury nullification?
- Aren't jurors always required to agree unanimously to deliver a verdict in the United States?
- Has the Supreme Court weighed in on non-unanimous jury verdicts?
- In practice, do any states allow non-unanimous jury verdicts?
- How do non-unanimous verdicts undermine the protective role of jurors?
- Where is the right to a speedy trial guaranteed?
- What is a speedy trial?
- What are the historical roots of speedy trial guarantees?
- Why are speedy trial guarantees important?
- Can courts legally change speedy trial deadlines?
Jury Issues in Capital Cases
- What does jury nullification refer to in capital cases?
- What is a "death-qualified" juror or jury?
- How does death qualification affect trial by jury?
Undermining the Protective Role of Juror
- How does reducing the size of the jury undermine the role of jurors?
- What is asset forfeiture?
- How does asset forfeiture circumvent the protection of trial by jury?
- What is sentencing on acquitted conduct?
- How does sentencing on acquitted conduct usurp the rightful authority of the jury?
- What is jurors' role in sentencing in capital cases?
- What is jurors' role in sentencing in non-capital cases?
Why Can't Somebody Get a Jury Trial...
- for their misdemeanor charges?
- for their divorce?
- for a child custody dispute?
- in juvenile court?
- for Securities and Exchange Commission legal proceedings?
- in tax courts?
- in immigration courts?
- in "drug courts"?