Should I discuss jury nullification
with my fellow jurors?
For the most part, the answer is no. You should NOT discuss jury nullification with your fellow jurors.
It is well-established that it is perfectly legal for a juror to vote not guilty for any reason they believe is just. However, courts have also decided that they can remove jurors for considering their option to conscientiously acquit.
This applies anytime until the verdict is officially rendered. Even as late as deliberations, if a disgruntled fellow juror decides to tattle on you to the judge, you could be replaced with an alternate juror. We recommend not openly discussing jury nullification during deliberations.
The only possible exception to this general rule would be when it is exceedingly clear that several other jurors are also openly considering it. If there are too many such jurors for all of them to be removed and replaced by alternate jurors, there is a chance either of a mistrial or an acquittal.
If it is just one or two jurors thinking along these lines, they can usually be replaced by alternates. If they are, the most likely outcome is that they will be replaced and the defendant will be convicted.
If a juror simply clams up and refuses to participate in deliberations, they can also be removed for that reason. Consequently, don't simply make up your mind and then refuse to discuss any issues whatsoever with your fellow jurors.
Jurors CANNOT legally be removed for expressing doubt about the defendant being guilty, so it's good to express your doubts if you have them.
You are required to participate in deliberation, but you are not required to justify your vote. You can participate in deliberations by expressing doubts about the defendant being guilty if you have them and by asking questions of and actively listening to your fellow jurors. If you feel the need to explain your vote, you can say something general such as that in your heart you cannot convict the defendant.
Remember that if you are removed from the jury, there will likely not be any other fully informed juror left who is empowered to conscientiously vote not guilty if a just verdict requires setting aside the letter of the law.
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