Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Influenza and jury nullification

Sorry I've been incommunicado; life has been unrelenting for the last few days. Apologies to the folks who've been Occupying the Inbox.

Big holiday road show (mit Krampus burlesque!), then Genevieve came down hard with the flu, then jury duty all day yesterday.

With regard to that last one, it was a bit surprising how much of the juror orientation was an apology for having summoned jurors, or alternately scolding jurors for complaining about having been summoned. It can be an expensive pain in the ass, sure, but as duties to a free state go, it's one of the least expensive and burdensome.

There were also two conspicuous moments during the orientation in which we were led to believe or told outright that we were required to render a verdict according to the law, whether or not we approved of the law, which is flatly untrue in the United States.

The courts may not like jury nullification, and I understand that many people value consistency too highly to be comfortable acquitting a person who did in fact violate an unjust law. Me, I'd prefer to live in a United States where prosecutors knew they could never get convictions in cases of decent people charged with simple possession of drugs, possession of defensive firearms, or punching out a TSA groper.

1 comment:

  1. The thing of it is, the phrase "no jury will convict {person}" when talking of a justified crime. Jury nullification at that level is bred into the American psyche, so it's not a lousy cause. Hell, I learned about the history of jury nullification in a college humanities course. The forces of the legal system are trying their best to stamp it out, but it's an uphill climb for them.