Jury Nullification and Democracy
  • Nov 20, 2018 10:00 pm
  • 13:59 mins

Guest: Ilya Somin, Professor of Law, George Mason University Most states require a jury to come to a unanimous decision in order to convict someone of a serious crime. There’s a long-delayed correction to Louisiana’s old racially driven jury law. There is little-known power that juries hold. What would you do if you were sitting on a jury and you felt strongly that the law itself was unjust – or that the punishment was too severe? It turns out juries have a solution in their toolkit. It’s called jury nullification – which simply means that a jury can return a “not guilty” verdict if they object to the law itself or to the severity of the likely sentence.

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Guest: Thomas Aiello, Associate Professor of History, Valdosta State University. Author of “Jim Crow’s Last Stand: Nonunanimous Criminal Jury Verdicts in Louisiana” The power of juries in America. We know they’re an important part of the criminal justice system. We know that when you get called to jury duty, you have to go. And you probably know that you’re charged with a serious crime, a jury of 12 people will have to come to a unanimous decision in order to convict you. But actually, that’s not true in Oregon. It’s the only state that does not require a unified jury to convict someone of a felony. Louisiana was in the same boat until just a few weeks ago when voters decided to require a unanimous verdict in felony criminal trials.

Guest: Thomas Aiello, Associate Professor of History, Valdosta State University. Author of “Jim Crow’s Last Stand: Nonunanimous Criminal Jury Verdicts in Louisiana” The power of juries in America. We know they’re an important part of the criminal justice system. We know that when you get called to jury duty, you have to go. And you probably know that you’re charged with a serious crime, a jury of 12 people will have to come to a unanimous decision in order to convict you. But actually, that’s not true in Oregon. It’s the only state that does not require a unified jury to convict someone of a felony. Louisiana was in the same boat until just a few weeks ago when voters decided to require a unanimous verdict in felony criminal trials.