One Simple Trick! Judges Hate it!

When you’re selected for a jury, the judge will give you stern instructions that your role is to judge the facts, not the law. In other words, your responsibility is to judge whether or not the defendant broke the law and render a verdict accordingly, regardless of your opinion about the law itself.

The judge is lying to you.

As a jury member, you have a right that the judge won’t tell you about. The prosecuter sure as hell won’t tell you about it either, and the defense attorney probably won’t be allowed to tell you about it.

It’s called jury nullification.

In a nutshell, it means that you not only sit in judgment of the facts, you are also the judge of the law itself. If you decide the law is unjust or unfairly applied, you can vote to acquit the defendant, even if there is incontrovertible evidence of guilt.

In the 1850s, for example, juries regularly acquitted defendants prosecuted for violating the heinous Fugitive Slave Act. Most juries exercised jury nullification to acquit those accused of violating prohibition, as well.

Jury nullification gives you, the juror, a tremendous amount of power. With a single word, you can overrule the people’s duly-elected legislators and the best efforts of law enforcement and prosecutors. And the almighty power of the state is helpless to stop you.

Of course, you can also use this power unjustly. Racist juries, for example, have acquitted lynch mobs. The same power that permits you to redress injustice permits you to unloose murderers and rapists into your community with impunity.

Either way, it’s up to you.