Jury Nullification Paper

1666 words - 7 pages

|Week Three Paper |Max Pts |Your Pts |
|Word Count |1 |1 |
|APA |2 |2 |
|Gram. Sp. Punct. |1 |1 |
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|Defining Terms |1 |1 |
|Examples used |2 |2 |
|Content |3 |3 |
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Jury Nullification Paper
Therese Carlon
June 3, 2012
Joseph Mariconda

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This paper will address a part of state and federal agencies that have been set over the citizens of this country to enforce and maintain law and order. It will also address the strong emotions and feelings expressed by the American minorities as to whether we, as a nation, have been successful in promoting liberty and justice for all.
Does Ethnicity Influence Courtroom Proceedings and Judicial Practices
A 1999 study was conducted to determine whether bias existed in the courtrooms of our nation and if so, to what degree. The name of this study was, “How the Public Views the State Courts: A 1999 Survey found:
Although most Americans (83%) feel that “people like them” are treated either better or the same as others, that perception is not shared by African-Americans. Two-thirds of African-Americans feel that “people like them” are treated somewhat or far worse than other people . . . Almost 70% of African-American respondents think that African-Americans, as a group, get “Somewhat Worse” or “Far Worse” treatment from the courts, whereas over 40% of White/Non-Hispanic and Hispanic respondents have that opinion (ncsonline.org. 2009).
In the subsequent 13 years, there has been very little change in our legal and criminal courts as it pertains to minorities. With the additional stigma of poverty and poorly educated defendants who are primarily minorities of mixed race and ethnic background it soon becomes clear that these cases are almost always pleaded out without ever having a jury trial (McNamara & Burns, p256, 2009).
It is estimated that roughly 95% of defendants facing felony charges are minorities and of those minorities, roughly 78-84% are African-Americans. In cases that do make it to trial, racial and ethnic minorities are tried by all-White juries (McNamara & Burns, p263, 2009).
Given these statistics, and with the recent situations post 9/11, it becomes increasingly obvious that, for most Americans, ethnic persons, whether citizens or not, are to be wary of and treated with caution and suspicion, merited or not.
Jury Nullification
Definition of Jury Nullification
Jury Nullification is the refusal, on the part of a sitting jury in a civil or criminal trial, who chooses not to convict a defendant, despite the presence of evidence that consistently and strongly suggests his or her guilt. The jury chooses to ‘judge the law’ and not its general validity (Rubenstein, 2006).
Pro Arguments for Nullification
Although most federal courts deny the existence of valid nullification, citing Sparf v. United States 156 U.S. 51 (1895), which stated that judges were not required to notify jurors of the inherent right and ability to adjudicate the law in a given case. This shot down an earlier case, Georgia v. Brailsford (1704), which mandated that the court inform jurors of all of their rights regarding case facts and case law (Rubenstein, 2006).
Throughout this nations’ history, jury nullification has...

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