Article Image

IPFS News Link • Courtroom and Trials

Voir Dire, Jury Nullification, Dred Scott & Donald Trump

•, By L. Reichard White

One of the strongest protections against run-away government was crafted into the Constitution of the American Republic by founder James Madison. It was trial by a jury of twelve of your randomly chosen peers.

The strength of this protection is seriously underrated. Since conviction requires unanimous agreement by the jury, any one of the twelve jurors can block any prosecution by simply voting "not guilty." They can do this based not only on the asserted guilt or innocense of the defendant, but on the validity and acceptability of the law itself.

This is called "Jury Nullification" and was widely understood, accepted, and regularly used until around the time of the Dred Scott Decision.

IF randomly chosen, a jury of twelve peers protects any minority with more than 8% of the population because odds are that one of those randomly chosen jurors will be a member of that minority.

Further, Jury Nullification serves to block legislatures and especially the enforcement apparatus from engaging in questionable legal adventures, knowing that the 12th nullifying juror is waiting out in the hall. This helped keep the whole system straight and nipped bad, stupid, and unpopular legislaton (and prosecutorial shenanigans) in the bud. No sense in spending all that time and money on something a jury will likely cancel.