Is Jury Nullification the Most Powerful Individual Tool to Neutralize Tyranny?

AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams

In light of the ongoing persecution of January 6 protesters as “insurgents,” it may be apropos to review what is arguably the most powerful tool that an individual has to combat unjust government overreach: jury nullification.


Via Fully Informed Jury Association:

Jury nullification occurs when a jury returns a Not Guilty verdict even though jurors believe beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant has broken the law. Because the Not Guilty verdict cannot be overturned, and because the jurors cannot be punished for their verdict, the law is said to be nullified in that particular case.

Jury nullification has been used throughout history, with varying degrees of success, to negate immoral government laws:

When these kinds of rejections of enforcement of laws stack up over time, the laws become unenforceable. We’ve seen this rejection of the Fugitive Slave Laws and alcohol prohibition, for example, undermine such laws’ enforcement. Eventually, it is no longer worth the time or hassle or embarrassment for government officials to try to enforce these laws. They may be further nullified in a sense either remaining on the books but not being enforced or being repealed altogether.

The Constitutional Double Jeopardy clause contained in the Fifth Amendment bars the government from re-trying a case in the event of an acquittal. Similarly, jurors are legally protected from retribution for using their rights to nullify laws they believe to be unjust.


The practice has its roots in the best traditions of Americana, as it was used to defang the British Crown in the time before the Revolution when it otherwise abused the colonists with impunity. “Nullification had its American origins in colonial juries which ignored British law to acquit dissidents. Along with civil disobedience, nullification may be seen as an integral feature of the birth of this nation,” J.B. Weinstein writes in the American Criminal Law Review.

Jury nullification is one of the only tools at an individual level that enables the individual to exercise his or her own moral judgment within the criminal justice system above and beyond the technical question of whether the letter of a law was broken or not.

The problem for proponents of jury nullification is that lawyers are generally barred from seeding the concept within the minds of juries during court proceedings. If jurors are going to discover the power they have, they’ll have to do it outside of the courtroom.

The reason, of course, that the ongoing theatrical prosecutions of MAGA “domestic terrorists” are located in jurisdictions like D.C., New York, and Fulton County, Ga. (right in the middle of inner-city Atlanta) are two-fold: the district attorneys are partisan Democrats who will prosecute whomever George Soros tells them to prosecute and, more relevant to this discussion, the jury pool is overwhelmingly partisan as well.


In these instances, jury nullification is admittedly a less effective strategy because principled people informed of their Constitutional rights with a strong moral core are much less likely to end up on a jury — a fact which, again, informs the Democrats’ choice of venue for their show trials.

But it only takes one person to throw a monkey wrench in the whole state prosecution machine.


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