Bashman: "Jury nullification is something our system endures because there's no other alternative, but it's not something to be encouraged."
Reynolds responds: "I think this is wrong: it's not a bug, it's a feature."
Reynolds wrote an excellent review (for the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy) of a book by Clay S. Conrad on the subject. Some excerpts of the review:
Every day, in courtrooms around the nation, cases like this end with the defendants being placed on probation, sent into diversion programs, or - perhaps most commonly - not prosecuted at all. At every stage up to the trial, state actors have discretion to drop prosecution, reduce the charges, or approve probation or diversion. That discretion is almost entirely unreviewable. It is also almost entirely without remark or inquiry.....
Yet strangely enough, the notion that a jury might have discretion to make the same kind of judgment appears shocking, even un-American, to many. Jurors are unaccountable, after all (though prosecutors and judges are not especially accountable either, and are also shielded by absolute immunity).
The review is highly recommended reading, especially for those of you not well familiar with the concept of jury nullification. My estimation of Professor Reynolds' intellect has been raised several notches.
:: Walter 7:06 AM [+] ::