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We need to form an army and stand vigil outside her house and if any uniformed coward tries to take her to prison, we will start a war.
* Mr. Duane is an associate professor at Regent Law School in Virginia Beach, Virginia Copyright © 1996 Litigation. Originally published as 22:4 LITIGATION 6-60 (1996).
Jury Nullification: The Top Secret
by James Joseph Duane
A bill now pending in the Missouri state legislature has whipped up a firestorm of controversy. Judges and prosecutors there call it "a gut-punch to democracy," "an invitation to anarchy," and a bill that "flies in the face of everything this country stands for." One county prosecutor has even called for the resignation of the 20 state representatives who introduced the bill. What could have caused such calamity? This supposedly radical legislation would merely require judges to tell criminal juries the undisputed fact that they have "the power to judge the law as well as the evidence, and to vote on the verdict according to conscience." It is hard to remember the last time there was so much turmoil over a proposal to declassify a government secret during peacetime. Meanwhile, out in Nevada, a 50-year-old florist and grandmother almost landed in prison for her efforts to help spread the word to jurors.
If Americans can't unite on this one issue...
Jury nullification occurs in a trial when a jury acquits a defendant, even though the members of the jury believe the defendant to be guilty of the charges. This may occur when members of the jury disagree with the law the defendant has been charged with breaking, or believe that the law should not be applied in that particular case.