Criminal Justice

Is Jury Nullification Legal?

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The Independent Institute's Mary Theroux highlights a heated debate over the doctrine of jury nullification that occurred between libertarian writer David Friedman and federal Judge Alex Kozinksi at a recent Independent Institute forum. Here's a snippet:

Kozinksi:

…juries do not have a right to disregard the law. In fact, juries are sworn to apply the law. If they can't do that or won't do that–and you would not want to be before a jury that is lawless. … It's an abomination. It's a crime. It should not be allowed to happen. The juries should be told in no uncertain terms that if they can't apply the law as instructed by the judge, they ought to get off.

Friedman:

…as a proposition in moral philosophy it seems to me clear that if I'm on a jury and someone is charged for something that I believe ought not to be a crime that my moral obligation is to acquit.

You'll find more along those lines here, including a video of the panel. Reason weighs in on jury nullification here.