(March 28, 2013) With few options left for communities to protect themselves from the ever growing police state, an old and long forgotten aspect of constitutional law is making a huge comeback, and becoming very popular in cases where people are facing jail time for nonviolent offenses.
This reemerging defense is the act of jury nullification, which is basically the right for any juror to not only judge the facts of the case, but to also actually judge the validity of the law itself. This means that if a jury feels that a defendant is facing an unjust charge they actually have the right to rule in their favor even if they are technically guilty.
In 1782, Thomas Jefferson wrote in his book "Notes on the State of Virginia" that "it is usual for the jurors to decide the fact, and to refer the law arising on it to the decision of the judges. But this division of the subject lies with their discretion only. And if the question relate to any point of public liberty, or if it be one of those in which the judges may be suspected of bias, the jury undertake to decide both law and fact.