This is the best tool that we the people have to safeguard against over zealous government agents and judges. When warranted you are duty bound to nullify the jury.
One innocent man was sent back to prison for sexual assault of a child after the Supreme Court ruled he had no right to evidence that would later set him free.
Another was convicted of murder and came within weeks of being executed because prosecutors had hidden a blood test that later freed him.
In June, 2011 Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, argued that criminal defendants have no right to “potentially useful evidence” that “might” show they were innocent.
In the past, the court has shielded individual prosecutors from being sued, even if they deliberately framed an innocent person.1
A juror once asked the judge about Jury Nullification. The judge told him that it was not legal. How much trust would you put in a judge's opinion who lies to his jury to follow his own agenda instead of the law?
Juries originally were introduced into England to protect the individual from the tyranny of government. One of the first cases of Jury Nullification was in 1670.
Could we not say that the above examples come close to tyranny by the government?
What is this power that we, members of the jury, have?
The jury does not only rule on the facts but also the law itself. In 1879, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court noted that "the power of the jury to be judge of the law in criminal cases is one of the most valuable securities guaranteed by the Bill of Rights." 2 John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court stated in 1789: "The jury has the right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy."
Then what is Jury Nullification?
It is merely one or more jurors voting Not Guilty. This can be based on the jurors knowledge or belief that the law is unconstitutional, the law was applied unfairly in the present case, or the punishment is unwarranted. And, you don't have to leave your conscience at the court house door.
Ex.: A person responds to a cry for help from his neighbor's house. He brings his gun, enters his neighbor's house and prevents a fatal home invasion. He is arrested for carrying without a permit as he is not in his own home. Although technically he broke the law as charged, the law was applied unfairly. If you believe that the “hero” should not be punished you have the duty to acquit. Here you would judge the law only as it was applied unfairly. The facts, of course, speak for themselves.
Near the end of alcohol prohibition, juries refused to convict for alcohol violations which is probably why prohibition was repealed.
As for myself I will decide and I will never be swayed by the other members of the jury, as I am a free man who can think for himself. And, it only takes one dissent for a hung jury. How many of you would let yourself be badgered by a judge or prosecutor instead of following what you know is the correct thing to do? Threats by a judge are meaningless as you cannot be punished for your decision. Supreme Court said, " Jurors have the ability to nullify, but they don't have the right to know of their ability."
1. Scrutiny rises as court shields prosecutors' lapses, By David G. Savage, Tribune Washington Bureau 2. Jury Nullification by Julian Heicklen.
"It may be prudent NOT to mention that you're doing it if you are a lone dissenter." (Suggestion from a Warrior)
Also see: http://www.fija.org/