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Jury Nullification

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OPINION
November 5, 2004
To those who think jury nullification (letters, Nov. 2) is a good way to protect the little guy from the abusive power of the government: Think again. The historical use of jury nullification was in the post-Civil War South, where juries in effect legalized lynching by refusing to convict white men accused of killing blacks. Twelve people deliberating in secret and without accountability do not always embrace liberal causes. Barry Carlton El Cajon
ARTICLES BY DATE
NATIONAL
December 24, 2010 | By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times
It seemed a straightforward case: A man with a string of convictions and a reputation as a drug dealer was going on trial in Montana for distributing a small amount of marijuana found in his home ? if only the court could find jurors willing to send someone to jail for selling a few marijuana buds. The problem began during jury selection last week in Missoula, when a potential juror said she would have a "real problem" convicting someone for selling such a small amount. But she would follow the law if she had to, she said.
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NATIONAL
September 23, 2002 | From Times Wire Reports
A measure on the November ballot would let defendants tell juries they can disregard a law if they don't like it--a prospect that has the legal profession aghast. Amendment A would let people accused of crimes argue that a law should not apply to their circumstances or that is has no merit. Jury nullification is not a new concept: Juries refused to convict people who harbored runaway slaves before the Civil War or resisted the draft during the Vietnam War.
OPINION
July 6, 2005 | Warren Paprocki, Warren Paprocki is an engineer in Philadelphia, Miss.
Last month it was my duty to serve on the jury in the trial of Edgar Ray Killen. It was my unpleasant charge to decide the fate of a fellow human. In the course of my 55 years I have survived a war, earned a bachelor's degree, suffered and exalted, traveled the world and worked my way from high school dropout to senior engineer. Still, nothing prepared me for this, nor did any of the other 11 jurors seem any less humbled by this task. No one took this lightly.
NEWS
October 5, 1995 | TONY PERRY, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Did the Simpson jurors ignore the dictates of the law and heed their social consciences and Johnnie L. Cochran Jr.'s call to send a message about racism in the Los Angeles Police Department? One by one, the jurors are surfacing to explain their surprisingly quick verdict and to emphasize that it was their doubt about the evidence that caused them to acquit O.J. Simpson, not Cochran's eloquence or any desire to make a social or political statement.
NEWS
January 19, 1992
Your writer Lois Timnick tells a poignant story about her jury duty in the Santa Monica trial of Thomas (Ocean) Harrison for drinking beer and resisting arrest. According to her, members of the jury agreed that Mr. Harrison was technically guilty, and further that they were "sworn to uphold the law." Hence she says they had to find him guilty--even though they did not think it was a just verdict. But they were wrong. If they thought justice would have been better served thereby, the jurors could and should have found him innocent, even in defiance of the law. Last year, six state governors and one state Senate declared Sept.
NEWS
December 5, 1993 | TONY PERRY, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Jim Harnsberger sees himself as a patriot, a faithful and liberty-loving son of the Founding Fathers. Others suggest that he might be better described as a scofflaw and scoundrel who is preaching nothing less than anarchy. A short man with a loud voice and a confident manner, the 38-year-old "tax consultant" is the local vanguard of a nationwide movement called the Fully Informed Jury Assn.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 20, 1996
In contrast to letter writers (Dec. 11), I follow the O.J. Simpson trials closely with interest and anxiety because of the many important issues involved--not the least of which is the crisis in our justice system exemplified by the recent jury nullification. If we had just witnessed the acquittal of the murderer of civil rights activist Medgar Evers by a Southern jury, I would be just as upset, and for the same reason. JOANNE ROCKLIN Los Angeles Regardless of O.J.'s guilt or innocence, it is clear that the police and police lab were guilty of lapses that threw significant doubt on their case.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 8, 2001 | MAURA DOLAN, TIMES LEGAL AFFAIRS WRITER
Jurors must follow the law--not their consciences--even when they strongly believe the law will produce an unjust result, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday. The court rejected a centuries-old doctrine called "jury nullification," which gives jurors the power to follow their convictions rather than the law. "A nullifying jury is essentially a lawless jury," Chief Justice Ronald M. George wrote for a unanimous court.
NATIONAL
December 24, 2010 | By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times
It seemed a straightforward case: A man with a string of convictions and a reputation as a drug dealer was going on trial in Montana for distributing a small amount of marijuana found in his home ? if only the court could find jurors willing to send someone to jail for selling a few marijuana buds. The problem began during jury selection last week in Missoula, when a potential juror said she would have a "real problem" convicting someone for selling such a small amount. But she would follow the law if she had to, she said.
SPORTS
November 5, 2004 |
Henrik Zetterberg and the Detroit Red Wings finally found a way to shake off the rallying Ducks. Zetterberg had three goals and two assists in the Red Wings' 7-4 victory on Saturday night. The game featured eight goals in a seesaw third period. The Ducks tied the score three times and the Red Wings regained the lead three times. "It was pretty crazy back and forth," said Zetterberg, who scored all his goals in the third period for his fourth NHL hat trick. "Too much back and forth.
OPINION
November 5, 2004
To those who think jury nullification (letters, Nov. 2) is a good way to protect the little guy from the abusive power of the government: Think again. The historical use of jury nullification was in the post-Civil War South, where juries in effect legalized lynching by refusing to convict white men accused of killing blacks. Twelve people deliberating in secret and without accountability do not always embrace liberal causes. Barry Carlton El Cajon
OPINION
November 2, 2004
After reading the first paragraphs of Lara Bazelon's Oct. 27 commentary, "Sometimes, Jurors Have to Take a Stand and Say, 'No, Not in Our Name,' " I couldn't figure out how a jury would not convict after an admission of guilt. However, after reading the facts and circumstances of the case, I applaud the four jurors who refused, and wonder about the eight who didn't. Now if our government, from the president on down, would only seek out the facts before acting on their preconceived notions, we would be far better off, and certainly would not be mired down in the bottomless pit in Iraq.
OPINION
October 27, 2004 | Lara Bazelon, Lara Bazelon is a deputy federal public defender in Los Angeles.
Picture this: On trial in a federal courtroom in Los Angeles is a woman accused of 20 felony counts of mail fraud stemming from the alleged theft of $17,000 from the Social Security Administration. If convicted of all 20 counts, she faces a maximum penalty of 100 years in prison. The prosecution's witnesses describe how the woman repeatedly made false claims that she was not receiving her disability checks in order to get replacement checks and cash them along with the originals.
NATIONAL
October 30, 2002 | Stephanie Simon, Times Staff Writer
Bob Newland calls them his "horror stories," and they are coming in by the dozen -- unconfirmed, one-sided, passionate. A quadriplegic writes of his conviction on drug charges for smoking a marijuana cigarette -- the only relief, he says, for his violent tremors. A teenager writes of her conviction on assault charges for standing up to local bullies.
NATIONAL
September 23, 2002 | From Times Wire Reports
A measure on the November ballot would let defendants tell juries they can disregard a law if they don't like it--a prospect that has the legal profession aghast. Amendment A would let people accused of crimes argue that a law should not apply to their circumstances or that is has no merit. Jury nullification is not a new concept: Juries refused to convict people who harbored runaway slaves before the Civil War or resisted the draft during the Vietnam War.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 27, 1990 | MICHAEL GRANBERRY, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Judges in three trespassing trials involving anti-abortion demonstrators admonished jurors Friday to disregard a "jury nullification" advertisement that appeared in this week's San Diego Reader. Steven J. Casey, spokesman for the district attorney, said Municipal Judge Larrie R. Brainard, presiding over one such trial in El Cajon, told the jury, "in strong words, to pay no attention to the ad, to ignore it."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 12, 2001
Re "Justices Say Jurors May Not Vote Conscience," May 8: The California Supreme Court drove the latest nail in the coffin of liberty by ruling against jury nullification. The court would rather have unjust laws applied to everyone than have juries set some free. They also wrongly blame jury nullification for all-white Southern juries acquitting whites of murdering blacks. As the Fully Informed Jury Assn. ( www.fija.org ) points out, the real problem is the courts' jury selection practices, which exclude blacks even when they are 35% of the population.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 12, 2001
Re "Justices Say Jurors May Not Vote Conscience," May 8: The California Supreme Court drove the latest nail in the coffin of liberty by ruling against jury nullification. The court would rather have unjust laws applied to everyone than have juries set some free. They also wrongly blame jury nullification for all-white Southern juries acquitting whites of murdering blacks. As the Fully Informed Jury Assn. ( www.fija.org ) points out, the real problem is the courts' jury selection practices, which exclude blacks even when they are 35% of the population.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 8, 2001 | MAURA DOLAN, TIMES LEGAL AFFAIRS WRITER
Jurors must follow the law--not their consciences--even when they strongly believe the law will produce an unjust result, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday. The court rejected a centuries-old doctrine called "jury nullification," which gives jurors the power to follow their convictions rather than the law. "A nullifying jury is essentially a lawless jury," Chief Justice Ronald M. George wrote for a unanimous court.
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