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"The right of the jury to decide questions of law was widely recognized in the colonies. In 1771, John Adams stated unequivocally that a juror should ignore a judge’s instruction on the law if it violates fundamental principles: “It is not only ... [the juror’s] right, but his duty, in that case, to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.” There is much evidence of the general acceptance of this principle in the period immediately after the Constitution was adopted."

Note: The Changing Role of the Jury in the Nineteenth Century, Yale Law Journal 74, 174 (1964).

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