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date: 20 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This essay provides a comprehensive yet compact discussion of jury nullification in the United States. It includes a summary of (a) criminal cases in which juries have deliberately acquitted defendants they believed were guilty under the law as described by the judge, from the nation’s beginning through today; (b) legal rules that prevent nullification from occurring, as well as rules that protect it when it does; (c) constitutional and nonconstitutional arguments for and against recognizing a more robust role for jury nullification; and (d) the findings of empirical research examining how often and under what conditions jurors refuse to convict for reasons other than failure of proof. A list of references includes more than 100 books, articles, cases, and other resources on the topic.

Keywords: nullification, jury, jurors, criminal cases, empirical research, criminal justice, acquittal, verdict, civil disobedience, trials

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