Silencing Nullification Advocacy Inside the Jury Room and Outside the Courtroom
King, Nancy J., 1958-
Jurors in criminal cases occasionally "nullify" the law by acquitting defendants who they believe are guilty according to the instructions given to them in court. American juries have exercised this unreviewable nullification power to acquit defendants who face sentences that jurors view as too harsh, who have been subjected to what jurors consider to be unconscionable governmental action, who have engaged in conduct that jurors do not believe is culpable, or who have harmed victims whom jurors consider unworthy of protection. Recent reports suggest jurors today are balking in trials in which a conviction could trigger a "three strikes" or other mandatory sentence, and in "assisted suicide," drug possession, and firearms cases. Race-based nullification is also a topic of current interest.