Harlan F. Stone Quote

“If a juror feels that the statute involved in any criminal offence is unfair, or that it infringes upon the defendant's natural god-given unalienable or constitutional rights, then it is his duty to affirm that the offending statute is really no law at all and that the violation of it is no crime at all, for no one is bound to obey an unjust law.”

~ Harlan F. Stone

Harris v. State, 632 So. 2d 503, 543 (Ala. Crim. App. 1992), Judge Mark Montiel, dissenting.

Ratings and Comments

Mike, Norwalk

WOW, that the slaves understood this today ! ! !

jim k, Austin,Tx

The term is "Jury Nullification" and no judge is ever going to mention this to a jury. I doubt that half the lawyers in the country have ever heard of it. I had to explain this to a top lawyer friend in Ohio who had no idea what it was. I guess they overlooked it in law school. Jury nullification is about the last chance a citizen has to nullify a bad law unless the law is stricken from the books.

Waffler, Smith

I doubt that few know of it while on the other hand Judges and lawyers do take an oath to obey all laws. The fact that this happens very, very rarely is evidence that we have few offending statutes on the books in our democratic, jury of our peers society. Some people are just plain silly when it comes to such matters as Judges and courts etcetera, take Roger Clemens for example.

Anonymous, Reston, VA US

Gee, and I thought this was common knowledge...

Mike, Norwalk

Waffler, your conclusion is absolutely wrong. The reason this very, very rarely happens is evidence that the totalitarian statist theocracy infesting this land has subjugated, programed, and dummied down the slaves sufficiently that they don't either have enough courage to implement it or they just simply don't know about it (freedom, liberty, unalienable rights, the Laws of Nature and of Natures God, and true justice spuriously having been deleted from society, no longer present in the conscious psyche of most individuals). There are few statutes on the books of your democratic society (as would be given to a jury of your socialist / slave peers) that are not offensive to the eternal / temporally ephemeral being.

E Archer, NYC

In ancient Greece when democracy got its start, trial by jury was instituted to protect the citizenry from bad laws. Trial by jury has since been implemented in most of the Western world and particularly in English-speaking countries as the Magna Carta protected this right in 1215. The judge is bound to follow the rules of the court -- he/she is a paid government employee and he is not to decide the legitimacy of a statute -- that is the jury's job! And lawyers cannot defend you against the law, as they too are bound to follow the rules of the court. It is the absolute right and duty for jurors to be the judges of law and fact -- that is the entire purpose, always has been. 'Hung juries' are simply those in which there is not unanimous jury verdicts -- hung juries are essentially 'not guilty' verdicts as with a jury, there is no 'vote', no majority rule, if one juror has any doubt and decides 'not guilty' then the verdict is supposed to be not guilty. And the jury foreman's job is to deliver a not guilty verdict if there is one not guilty declared from one juror -- not to go to the judge and tell him that we cannot come to a decision. The overwhelming majority of inmates in American prisons are there serving time for committing no crimes (no mens rea), but simply settling out of court (no trial) -- they are threatened with long sentences if they go to trial, and without common knowledge among the people about Nullification of Law by Jury (which should be taught in school) there is a good chance the defendant will be railroaded. This is the corruption of the judiciary and the complicity of the American Bar Association.

Waffler, Smith

Mike I think it is fair to assume that if you know something everybody knows it.

Mike, Norwalk

Anonymous, why would you assume that if I know something, everybody knows it? Do you know that Jesus is the Christ, Son of the Living God? What is your assumption, how many, or what percentage of the populous at large know or, understand in any detail, of jury nullification? A question to you Anonymous, If everybody knows that compelled compliance, victimless crimes, license, and larceny with impunity are unconstitutional and contrary to law, why do so few, at least, complain about it? If everybody knows what I know, why did so many vote for Mr. Obamunist Goodwrench the assassin to be the executive puppet over the statist theocracy that infests this land? If everybody knows what I know, why do so many attempt to expand the emotional religious myths concerning social conscience, social contracts and other socialist cannons?

Clay S. Conrad, Houston, TX

I've looked up the quote, and it's disingenuous. It is taken from a law review article in which Stone was reciting a proposition he DISagreed with. There's plenty of good authority to support jury nullification; why people keep bringing this quote up is beyond me. It's dishonest.

Waffler, Smith

I think you Mike are the last person on earth to know anything. Liberty-tree being disingenous my goodness between Mike knowing everything and having an inside track on problems of the whole world and now liberty-tree being disingenous oh what is person to do or think? (Yeah Editor why don't clear and clean this up! or at least answer the charge of disenguousness.)

Troy Anderson, Biloxi, Ms

Mr. Conrad, Where can we look the quote up?


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