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My own view rests on the premise that nullification can and should serve an important function in the criminal process ... The doctrine permits the jury to bear on the criminal process a sense of fairness and particularized justice ... The drafters of legal rules cannot anticipate and take account of every case where a defendant’s conduct is “unlawful” but not blameworthy, any more than they can draw a bold line to mark the boundary between an accident and negligence. It is the jury—as spokesmen for the community’s sense of values—that must explore that subtle and elusive boundary. ... I do not see any reason to assume that jurors will make rampantly abusive use of their power. Trust in the jury is, after all, one of the cornerstones of our entire criminal jurisprudence, and if that trust is without foundation we must reexamine a great deal more than just the nullification doctrine.
Chief Judge David L. Bazelon (more quotes by Chief Judge David L. Bazelon or books by/about Chief Judge David L. Bazelon)
U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
U.S. V. Dougherty, 473 F. 2D 1113, 1141-42 (Dissent) (1972)
Prohibition, Jury, Justice, Law, Power, Trust