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A Defence of Jury Nullification

Brooks, Thom

Authors



Abstract

In both Great Britain and the United States there has been a growing debate about the modern acceptability of jury nullification. Properly understood, juries do not have any constitutional right to ignore the law, but they do have the power to do so nevertheless. Juries that nullify may be motivated by a variety of concerns: too harsh sentences, improper government action, racism, etc. In this article, I shall attempt to defend jury nullification on a number of grounds. First, I discuss the use of general verdicts and reject their replacement in criminal trials by special verdicts. Second, I examine verdicts based upon mistakes and racial prejudice, turning my attention to perverse verdicts and the question of whether or not juries are guilty of legislating when nullifying the law. Finally, I look at the problem of the awarding of excessive damages by juries. My goal will be to provide a sound theoretical defence of the practice of jury nullification.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2004
Deposit Date Nov 16, 2012
Journal Res publica : a journal of legal and social philosophy
Print ISSN 1356-4765
Electronic ISSN 1572-8692
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Issue 4
Pages 401-423
DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/s11158-004-2329-3
Public URL https://durham-repository.worktribe.com/output/1471944
Publisher URL 10.1007/s11158-004-2329-3



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