A judge usually tells a jury that they can decide the facts in the case before them but he will decide the law. That is not correct. Juries have the final decision as to fact and law. They are more powerful than the Governor or President since those officials can only pardon after a guilty verdict. A jury can affirm that there is no guilt! Of course, that strikes at the heart of a judge’s authority, and most of them resent it, ridicule it, and will resist it whenever possible.
A jury can affirm that there is no guilt! Of course, that strikes at the heart of a judge’s authority, and most of them resent it, ridicule it, and will resist it…
We have seen a spat of cases in recent years where admittedly guilty people have been declared “not guilty” by a sympathetic jury. The more outrageous cases are the Menendez “boys” who blew away their parents with shotguns while the parents were eating ice cream. Even though the “boys” admitted the crime, two juries refused to find them guilty. That is jury nullification when a jury, in essence, ignores a law. (In this case, a bad use of an honorable principle.)
Another notorious case involved the Bobbits of Virginia. She mutilated her husband while he slept because he “raped” her. She complained that he was always sexually satisfied while she was never satisfied. Well, her mutilation of him sure didn’t help that problem! Now, neither of them is satisfied. She did the crime (and if anything is a crime, that is), yet a sympathetic jury found her not guilty.
Former Washington, D. C. mayor, Marion Barry was caught on videotape using crack cocaine, yet a jury found him not guilty of that charge and guilty of a lesser offense that resulted in a few months in jail for “his honor.” The all-black jury, knowing he was guilty, decided he was not! That is jury nullification prompted by racism—in my opinion.
Okay, so there are some bad examples of jury nullification when the jury sets aside the law and in essence, strikes it down for the moment. There are also some good aspects of that procedure.
If I were serving on the jury of a man who spanked his child (in a state where that is a crime) I would vote for his acquittal. Of course, if it involved a man who had harmed or tortured a child, I would vote to put him away for twenty years. Non-thinkers can’t see the difference. A parent has an obligation to spank a disobedient child from time to time, no matter what the law says. There is a higher law (gasp!) that we must obey no matter if it means time in the slammer and being misunderstood.
If I were on a jury trying a man for having a gun in his car or briefcase, I would vote “not guilty” unless he was a psychopath, criminal, or former felon. You see, the good guys have a right to defend themselves against the bad guys. This is especially true since the cops can’t be every place when needed and now we are told that we have no legal right to expect their help. You are on your own in most instances.
There are numerous other possibilities where I would disregard a judge’s orders and decide on the law: I would find people innocent who were, in fact, guilty of preaching on the streets (after all, we own the streets), handing out gospel literature contrary to city ordinances, protesting at an abortion clinic, or running a Christian school without government permission.
What will happen when pastors and church leaders are tried for not hiring a homosexual, for firing an adulterer from a church position, or disciplining a church member who refuses to confess sin and stop disgracing the church? People with character will disregard the judge’s order and vote “not guilty” even though the accused are “guilty.”
Jury nullification is the very last blow the average citizen can strike at tyranny. Radicals have thrown down the gauntlet at the feet of Christians; the battle is on. We will fight them in newspaper columns, on radio and TV talk shows, in university debates, in the courts and fill the streets with protesters if necessary.
And we will be Christians during the battles without being passive, weak, anemic, sickly, and despicable people. When people of principle must defend themselves against bad laws, jury members should disregard the pious, pompous, and perverted orders of the judge and vote “not guilty” for people who are obviously “guilty.”
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Sounds like this man went to Liberty university. This man would also let hate crimes go unpunished. A little too conservative for me.
However, he is right to some degree. I would not find guilt where people were utilizing their 1st amendment right.
I would hate to be in the jury room with him. It always seems Christians are the least tolerable people in the world, and willing to judge at the drop of a hat.