Jurors in all courts in the United States have the right to vote their consciences without being punished for their verdicts. The Founders valued this feature of English common law, and purposely built it into our legal system. Even though it was well understood as a protective feature of the system and used in both pre- and post-revolutionary America, some states added explicitly codified guarantees of this right in their state constitutions. Former FIJA board member and attorney Tom Stahl discusses these additional protections that can be found in many state constitutions, and points out that they put the lie to some anti-jury nullification claims that this right of jurors is merely an accidental happenstance in our legal system.
Tom Stahl's article provides a detailed overview of jury nullification and related language in the constitutions of the fifty states. 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 Executive Director Kirsten C. Tynan has written a detailed overview of that particular piece of history. In this article, she covers the rise and fall of the New Hampshire statute, which was ultimately eviscerated by the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
We are building what we expect to be the most comprehensive collection of legal cases about jury nullification, free speech in juror rights education, and other key jury-related cases in the below categories. Click here and check back frequently for new case files.
- Jury Nullification Cases
- Free Speech Cases Regarding Juror Rights Education
- Other Key Jury-Related Cases