SayUncle gets jury duty, and notes that among the reasons listed for being dismissed does not include, “will judge the facts and the law.” Well, we can’t have that, the system working how it was intended to. That would lead to chaos!
I’ve written in the past, though I can’t for the life of me find it now, about my own views on nullification. It’s really one of those things they ought to teach in civics class, to whatever extent they even teach civics anymore. Juries are a check against the power of the state, and in the United States, it’s generally worked to oppose highly unpopular laws:
In the United States, jury nullification first appeared in the pre-Civil War era when juries sometimes refused to convict for violations of the Fugitive Slave Act. Later, during Prohibition, juries often nullified alcohol control laws, possibly as often as 60% of the time. This resistance may have contributed to the adoption of the Twenty-first amendment repealing Prohibition, the Eighteenth amendment.
Of course, the flip side of nullification is that it was also extensively used in the reconstruction era to acquit those who committed crimes against blacks, but were unambiguously guilty.
But generally speaking, I believe in the people judging the law, as well as the facts. The only caveat there is, the legal system has to work, so I would generally frown on one person hanging a jury because they don’t agree with the law. That has to really be over a matter where there’s a general sense of the members of the jury that the law is unjust, or it’s particular application is unjust. But in order for that to happen more often, people have to know that a jury’s verdict is final.