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"It is clear in our criminal justice system that the jury has the power to nullify -- that is, the power to acquit or to convict on reduced charges despite overwhelming evidence against the defendant. ... In a criminal trial, the court cannot direct a verdict of guilty, no matter how strong the evidence. In addition, if the jury acquits, double jeopardy bars the prosecution from appealing the verdict or seeking retrial. Similarly, if the jury convicts the defendant of a less serious offense than the one charged, the prosecution cannot again try the defendant on the more serious charge. This result occurs regardless of whether the jury consciously rejects the law, embraces a merciful attitude, or is simply confused concerning the law or facts. Thus, nullification—with or without authority, intended or not—is part of our system."
Anne Bowen Poulin (more quotes by Anne Bowen Poulin or books by/about Anne Bowen Poulin)
Professor of Law, Villanova School of Law
Article: The Jury: The Criminal Justice System’s Different Voice, 62 U. CIN. L. REV. 1377, 1399 (1994).
Crime, Jury, Justice, Law