Jury Nullification

Juries have the implicit power to acquit defendants despite evidence and judicial instructions to the contrary. This power, called jury nullification, is embedded in the jury's right to return a verdict by its own moral compass and has historically permitted sympathetic juries to acquit those whom the jurors perceive as legally guilty but morally upright. The criminal jury's power to deliver a verdict counter to both the law and evidence resides in the fact that a general verdict requires no explanation by the jury. Some citizens' groups and some legal scholars believe that the jury not only should have the ability to nullify but also the right to be explicitly informed of this right. However, the majority of the legal community, with near unanimity among ...

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