In the discussion thread: Prosecutors give closing argument in Edwards trial [View all]
Response to grasswire (Reply #8)
Fri May 18, 2012, 01:39 PM
happyslug (12,472 posts)
13. Very rare, esepecially in Federal Cases
You must understand HOW a jury is selected. In most state system, the county Jury Commissioner calls up potential jurors from that county. In rural counties you can get members who think like the Defendant on the Jury for the County as a whole supports what the Defendant did. This is what happen during the Civil Rights Movement, the all white rural juries agreed with the Defendant killing of African American "Agitators" and thus ruled them "Not guilty".
On the other hand, FEDERAL JURIES tend to be pulled from a much broader area, generally including at least one URBAN county. Thus it is much harder to get a jury who believes what the Defendant believes. Without the self-identification, Jury Nullification does not occur (can occur, but almost unheard of compared to Juries who identify with the Defendant). Thus in many of the Civil Rights Cases involving the same facts that a Jury acquitted a Defendant on state charges, a Federal Jury will tend to convict, if the acquittal was the product of Jury Nullification.
This is a FEDERAL TRIAL with a FEDERAL JURY. Most Federal prosecutor are careful enough to make sure people who identify with a Defendant does NOT get on a Jury. Between the larger pool of Potential jurors and more money to spend on the case, it is unheard of a Jury Nullification on the Federal level.
Side note: I did NOT address that technically Jury Nullification is NOT the law anywhere in the US, but does occur. The problem is the last rash of such nullification was doing the Civil Rights Movement. What the Juries did upset a lot of people, leading to changes in HOW a jury is made up (Including increase number of minorities in the Jury Pool).
The last case where someone brought it up was the OJ Simpson Murder Trial. The Jury members themselves shot down that concept, for they simply said that after all was said and done, the prosecutions did NOT prove Murder I and given that Manslaughter was NOT an option, they had to acquit.
Sorry, jury nullification is more an urban legend nowadays, it could occur but I doubt the jury will do so given how juries are picked today, especially in Federal Cases.
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Very rare, esepecially in Federal Cases
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