Chief Judge David L. Bazelon Quote

“My own view rests on the premise that nullification can and should serve an important function in the criminal process ... The doctrine permits the jury to bear on the criminal process a sense of fairness and particularized justice ... The drafters of legal rules cannot anticipate and take account of every case where a defendant’s conduct is “unlawful” but not blameworthy, any more than they can draw a bold line to mark the boundary between an accident and negligence. It is the jury -- as spokesmen for the community’s sense of values -- that must explore that subtle and elusive boundary. ... I do not see any reason to assume that jurors will make rampantly abusive use of their power. Trust in the jury is, after all, one of the cornerstones of our entire criminal jurisprudence, and if that trust is without foundation we must reexamine a great deal more than just the nullification doctrine.”

~ Chief Judge David L. Bazelon

U.S. V. Dougherty, 473 F. 2D 1113, 1141-42 (Dissent) (1972)

Ratings and Comments

Mike, Norwalk

Not shooting the messenger, one of many reasons for nullification doctrine.

J Carlton, Calgary

We The People must have a strong sense of morality and justice in order for this to count the Liberals out. The rest of the electorate seems to have pretty much lost these values as well. So its up to the few of us left who know what America was meant to be, to get involved and educate people.

Mike, Norwalk

The 'A' from Reston, you had better be careful, you've been agreeing with us libertarian types a lot lately. A major mentality shift towards freedom - when thinking or speaking of your body politic servants, don't do so as a 3rd party entity(s) aloof from yourself (the government, public officials, etc.), do so (think and speak) as your personal servants or employees (my employee the cop, agent, legislator, etc.). Among the many things that get put back in a proper perspective, nullification grows huge.

Mike, Pleasant Hill

There's no doubt that America is in a moral and cultural decline of the founding fathers were concerned that we maintain because the system they gave us depended on it. As a jurist we have the power to judge the facts and the law but today the definition of justice seems to elude those responsible for administering it.

"Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt." -- Samuel Adams Essay in the Public Advertiser, 1749

Jim k, Austin

Jury Nullification is the last bulwark against bad law. It's interesting to note that no judge ever mentions this to a jury.

Ronw13, Yachats Or

Manners, intentionally thrown by the wayside for profit and gain. Mike, Pleasant Hill. socialism at its best feeds upon the black dog within. Divining of the law, by jury, every individual has the power to divine, ( conscience.) " A communities sense of values " is always the point of tampering, with any individual, family or society as a whole.


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