Is Jury Nullification Legal?
At the end of a trial, the prosecution always reminds the jury during their closing argument that the jury "must follow the law" regardless of whether or not they (the jury) like the law, believe in that law or thinks it is a terrible law.
What is Jury Nullification? Is the power to nullify a verdict the same as the right to?
Jury Nullification: When a jury returns a verdict of "Not Guilty" despite being convinced that the defendant is guilty of the crime charged. The jury in effect, nullifies a law that it believes is wrong, immoral or has been wrongfully applied to the defendant whose fate they have been charged with deciding.
I remember a jury who once acquitted a woman who was charged with murdering her husband. The evidence showed a pattern of years of horrific injuries that she suffered at the hands of her abusive husband, but self defense did not apply because the woman was technically not in fear of her own life at the time she killed her husband. In fact he was passed out drunk at the time she shot him. The photos and medical reports were so bad that the jury did not want to send her to prison for the rest of her life despite what the law required.
Do juries have the right to nullify?
There is no question that juries clearly have to power to nullify, but do they have the right to nullify?
If juries have the "power" to nullify, shouldn't they be told of it? Not only are they not told of it, some court go so far as to tell a jury that they may not exercise jury nullification despite knowing that they can and that nothing can be done to prevent it and they cannot suffer any consequences as a result of it.