I’ve probably gummed this story 1,000 times in my life:
If you serve on a jury, and you just flat don’t like the law you’re asked to enforce, you do NOT have to enforce it. You can vote in direct contradiction of the law and in direct contradiction of the judge’s instructions — without fear of reprisal.
John Bloom at UPI’s Assignment America says we are keeping juries stupid and it’s damaging all of us.
News alert: it’s the jury’s job to decide what’s fair and what’s not fair.
It’s not the judge’s, and, contrary to popular wisdom, it’s not the legislature’s. …
Unfortunately, we’ve reached a stage in our history when the people are forced to take back the rights granted by those ancient kings, notably in the form of Amendment A in South Dakota. The so-called “jury nullification” proposal in that state would require judges to tell juries that they’re allowed to interpret the law — not just the facts — so that they can follow their own consciences if they disagree with some concoction of the legislature that shouldn’t be applied to the living, breathing human being set before them.
Oddly enough, this idea strikes fear into the heart of the judiciary everywhere. And yet it’s one of the oldest ideas in the land — almost all the Founding Fathers agreed with it — and, if you think about it, it’s self-evident. If the judge could direct a verdict, by framing a question so narrowly that you could only vote one way, then it wouldn’t be a real jury in the first place, would it?