Chaos, Harmony, and Jury Nullification

Won't telling jurors of their power and right to acquit based on conscience create lawlessness and chaos?


England and America both informed their jurors about their powers from the late 1600's until the late 1800's. Do you think those were chaotic, (aka "anarchic") times?

Maryland and Indiana have explicit constitutional statements mandating that jurors be informed of their powers. (Indiana: "all criminal cases whatsoever, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts." Maryland: "In the trial of all criminal cases, the Jury shall be the Judges of Law, as well as of fact, except that the Court may pass upon the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain a conviction.") Do you think of Maryland and Indiana as chaotic places?

We can reach true chaos in our country. That could happen if enough people become alienated from our government to engage in violence against it. If people believe voting is not a solution to their grievances, jury power is one of the few tools left short of violence for citizens to influence their government.

A person who doesn't think the process for creating law is fair, the law itself is fair, or the process of enforcing it is fair is someone ready to think violence is a solution to his problems. Choking off jury power can lead to true chaos and lawlessness, while informed juries throughout our nation can put government in touch with the will of the people, thereby producing harmony.

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  • Tom Glass
    published this page in FAQs 2021-02-18 16:48:58 -0600