Dallas Expungement Attorney

Jury Nullification

Jury nullification is when the jury basically voids an official rule in the context of a particular case. It is the process by which a jury in a criminal case effectively nullifies a law by acquitting a defendant regardless of the weight of the evidence against him or her.

Jury nullification is any rendering of a verdict by a trial jury that acquits a criminal defendant despite the defendant’s violation of the letter of the law, or of an official rule. The verdict does not have to disagree with the instructions that were given to the jury by the judge that concern what the law is, but it may disagree with an instruction given by a judge that says the jury is required to apply the law to the defendant when and if certain facts are found to be true.

While a jury’s refusal to convict relates only to the particular case before it, when a pattern of this type of verdict develops in response to repeated attempts to prosecute a statutory offense, the practical effect may be that the enforcement of the statute has become disabled. Jury nullification is therefore a means for the people to express their opposition to an unpopular legislative rule or statute.

Many juries do not know of their ability to, effectively, nullify a law. The court is not required to tell a jury of the power but if a member of the jury asks a question about nullification, the court is required to answer the question truthfully.

One of the biggest historical examples occurred when American revolutionaries or colonists refused to convict other colonists under English law prior to the revolution. Other cases include juries who refuse to convict due to perceived injustice of a law, the perceived injustice of the way the law is applied in particular cases, and cases where the juries have refused to convict due to their own prejudices.

Regardless of why the jury chooses to nullify a law, it still counts as an acquittal in the court room.

Contact a Dallas Expungement Lawyer

If you have been the beneficiary of a jury’s nullification of a law and would like to have the trial and arrest removed from your record, contact the Dallas expungement lawyers of the Law Office of Mark T. Lassiter at 214-651-1121.

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