When a member of a jury believes a defendant is guilty and chooses to acquit the defendant anyway for reasons of justice, law misapplication, or harsh punishment, this is known as jury nullification. The validity of jury nullification is an idea that is hotly debated in criminal justice, and in this episode of POLICYbrief, Cato Institute’s Clark Neily argues in favor of instructing jurors about what Neily calls “conscientious acquittal,” while Berkeley Law’s Orin Kerr argues that jury nullification empowers niche and sometimes undesirable views of justice.
As always, the Federalist Society takes no particular legal or public policy positions. All opinions expressed are those of the speaker.
Learn more about Clark Neily:
Learn more about Orin Kerr:
Our Broken Justice System
The problem with jury nullification
Bring Back The Jury Trial
Jury Nullification: Good or Bad?
More on the debate over jury nullification – a response to Orin Kerr
It’s Perfectly Constitutional to Talk About Jury Nullification
Changing views of jury power