I ran across this article today titled Good News: Jury Nullification is Interfering With Marijuana Convictions at a website named The Daily Sheeple. If that name deters you, try one at the Houston Chronicle.
Their focus was on marijuana cases, and with the current trend toward decriminalization of marijuana, jury nullification would seem to fit in nicely with a juror mindset that wants to correct perceived wrongs in a setting designed to correct wrongs.
The issue of jury nullification reminded me of my own call to jury duty a couple of months ago here in Midland, Texas. There were two cases on which I was on the panel - not the jury itself, just the jury panel. I got struck both times. One was a criminal trial in which the defendant was charged with "failure to appear," i.e., having an obligation to show up at a trial and skipping it. During the prosecutor's voir dire he asked whether everyone could have an open mind about the penalty of 2 to 10 years in the slammer. When asked if probation was a possibility, the prosecutor answered that it was not.
More than a few potential jurors said they would have a problem with that. The words "jury nullification" were never spoken, however the prospect of a mandatory jail sentence would surly have weighed on the minds of some of the jurors in the guilt/innocence phase. After all, why didn't they try him for the crime with which he was originally charged? Instead they picked what they thought was an easy one to prove.
A bunch of us on the panel probably got challenged for cause when the attorneys conferred with the judge, because when they called out the 12 jurors they got all the way to number 33 on the 36 member panel.
Anyway, jury nullification can apply to other than the marijuana cases, and in this case, the prosecutor was wise to weed out those who might be tempted to do it. It certainly helped the prosecution in this case as the jury sentenced the defendant to three years, one more than the minimum.
If one believes the morning paper, jurors here are a step ahead. They're nullifying the whole process by failure to appear for jury duty. -- Robo-ed. | No sheeple here. -- Sleepless.