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Race Based Jury Nullification, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 296

Essay

In field of law, jury nullification has been considerably debated, particularly when race comes into focus. Throughout the history, there have been several incidents of so-called jury nullification such as the criminal proceedings of O.J. Simpson, Laurence Powell and Stacey Koon. In race-based jury nullification, the jury hands out an acquittal on the basis of the individual’s race. This commonly occurs in jury groups that are homogenous and have no diversity as well as a reaction to social conditions such as racism and the conduct of officers towards minorities.

Supporters of race-based jury nullification argue that race can be a legal and moral factor for the jury to consider during deliberation. It can be used as a tool to combat racism within the criminal justice system. A paper written by Jemal (1997) even encouraged this among African Americans as he stated that this would change the system’s handling of minority cases.On the other hand, those who oppose race-based jury nullification state that this could only promote negative stereotypes and incite division and discord.

Each side of the debate on race-based jury nullification provides sound and compelling facts and opinions to support their case. However, it is our view that this should be avoided at all costs by the jury. In its entirety, jury nullification may serve some good purpose, but when race is factored into the equation, the result can be detrimental. We believe that race-based jury nullification discourage unity and instead, promotes racism and discrimination. The decision to acquit or convict a defendant should never be done on the basis of race alone. The decision must be based on the facts of the case as well as the evidence presented during the trial.

Reference

Jemal. (1997). Race Based Jury Nullification: A Path To Equality! Retrieved on 26-Nov-2011 from http://www.geocities.com/athens/olympus/1320/nullification.htm

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