Share good ideas and conversation.   Login, Join Us, or Take a Tour!
comment by b_b
b_b  ·  780 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Oregon militants acquitted of conspiracy in wildlife refuge seizure

Jury nullification can be an interesting strategy for a juror to pursue in the case that the juror either (a) thinks a law is unjust, or (b) thinks a defendant was inappropriately charged. Nullification is, IMO, a good mechanism on the balance. That said, it raises in some instances a lot of questions about rule of law.

Interestingly, just the other day there was a case argued at the Supreme Court about a guy who was convicted of a crime by a jury who was shown to have an overt racial bias. One juror apparently bullied others by saying, "Of course the guy is a sex offender, he's a Mexican. And no you can't believe his alibi witness, because he's an illegal." (Unsurprisingly, the witness was not illegal.) So, we're having a national debate about whether overt racial bias by juries can be used to throw out a conviction (because no court so far disputes that the man was convicted because of bias, just that the conviction was procedurally sound), but there's no similar debate about what role racial bias plays in acquitting defendants (and of course we can't have that debate because an acquittal in final and absolute, as it should be).

There's no doubt that whiteness and government-hate played a huge role in these acquittals. The jurors essentially said they were "peaceful" and meant no harm (while in many states just brandishing a gun can get you time in jail, so go figure). What message does this send to like-minded groups? How would an exactly similar case play out if these guys were BLM protesters and not "I-like-stealing-common-grassland-resources" protesters? Curious case all around, but I can't help but feel that justice really took a hit on this one.




someguyfromcanada  ·  780 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Oddly enough, the jury apparently felt so strongly about this that it even went beyond the rejection of the DAs "conspiracy" theory. Look at the simple charges of "possessing a firearm in a federal facility". They were shown in the news, on TV and the Internet at a federal facility while possessing firearms. They never denied that. And they were acquitted.

I am surprised that there was jury nullification though as they did not seem to be well received in Oregon and even the people they were protesting for wanted them to go away.