It is not only [the juror’s] right, but his duty…to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.” – John Adams, 1771
The final decision-making body in most civil cases is the jury. Deliberation takes place in a private room and they are allowed to consider the case until they reach a verdict. The jury members are directed to apply the evidence presented by the plaintiff to the law to determine if the burden has been met and the defendant must pay damages. Sometimes a jury will reach a verdict contrary to the weight of evidence because it rejects the law or how the law applies in the case. This can also happen in a criminal case, where a guilty party is allowed to go free. In a criminal case, the judge is not free to disregard the verdict unless the judge finds jury corruption or misconduct. In a civil case, a judge has the power to overturn the verdict, but is generally reluctant to do so.
Your assignment this week is to answer the following questions:
- Provide a definition of jury nullification and find one case involving this issue.
- Do you agree with this type of decision?
- Why or why not?
- Can you give examples to bolster your point of view?
This individual work should include the following: