Anne Bowen Poulin Quote

“It is clear in our criminal justice system that the jury has the power to nullify -- that is, the power to acquit or to convict on reduced charges despite overwhelming evidence against the defendant. ... In a criminal trial, the court cannot direct a verdict of guilty, no matter how strong the evidence. In addition, if the jury acquits, double jeopardy bars the prosecution from appealing the verdict or seeking retrial. Similarly, if the jury convicts the defendant of a less serious offense than the one charged, the prosecution cannot again try the defendant on the more serious charge. This result occurs regardless of whether the jury consciously rejects the law, embraces a merciful attitude, or is simply confused concerning the law or facts. Thus, nullification -- with or without authority, intended or not -- is part of our system.”

~ Anne Bowen Poulin

Article: The Jury: The Criminal Justice System’s Different Voice, 62 U. CIN. L. REV. 1377, 1399 (1994).

Ratings and Comments

Mike, Norwalk

A great sentiment and phenomenal administration of fact and law in a fairy tale land far, far away. Amerika's criminally corrupt court system, in fact and action, only gives lip service to such noble sentiments, its heart, fact and actions are far removed.

jim k, Austin,Tx

3 Cheers for Jury Nullification. Too bad that more jurors don't know about it.

E Archer, NYC

Law students are taught this, but not the rest of us. However, court rules prevent lawyers from using this as an argument for acquittal, and judges cannot bring it up lest they might lose their position. There is also an argument that since FDR combined the courts of equity with the common law courts (since we were not using real money anymore but commercial paper and thus all common law cases were now commercial) that the common law jurisdiction is not represented in today's courts of law but are in fact admiralty/maritime courts where in fact the jury's decision is only a recommendation and the judge has final say. I have heard that the gold fringed flag in a courtroom indicates the admiralty/maritime jurisdiction. Interesting how today when there is not a unanimous jury conviction, it is called a hung jury or mistrial! And they try again... Talk about injustice!!

J Carlton, Calgary

Archer, I have come across the same line of thinking through others and their court cases...usually with or against tax tyranny. Look up "Capitus Diminui"...see where it takes you.

  • Reply
RBESRQ    12/15/10

Stupid logic... as the opposite also applies

J Carlton, Calgary

RBE, based on the way you explain your thinking, you're obviously way more qualified than a Law Professor at Villanova...LOL

Mike, Norwalk

Robert, explain. What opposite applies?


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