CITES BY TOPIC:  jury nullification
Duncan v. State of Louisiana, 88 S.Ct. 1444, 1451 (1968), 391 U.S. 145

"The guarantees of jury trial in the Federal and State Constitutions reflect a profound judgment about the way in which law should be enforced and justice administered.  A right to jury trial is granted to criminal defendants in order to prevent oppression by the Government.  (Footnote 23)

Footnote 23:  "The [jury trial] clause was clearly intended to protect the accused from oppression by the Government. *  *  *."  Singer v. United States, 85 S.Ct. 783, 788 (1965),  "The first object of any tyrant in Whitehall would be to make Parliament utterly subservient to his will; and the next to overthrow or diminish trial by jury, for no tyrant could afford to leave a subject's freedom in the hands of twelve of his countrymen.  So that trial by jury is more than an instrument of justice and more than one wheel of the constitution:  it is the lamp that shows that freedom lives."  P. Devlin, Trial by Jury 164 (1956).  (End of Footnote)

"Those who wrote our constitutions knew from history and experience that it was necessary to protect against unfounded criminal charges brought to eliminate enemies and against judges too responsive to the voice of higher authority.  The framers of the constitutions strove to create an independent judiciary but insisted upon further protection against arbitrary action.  Providing an accused with the right to be tried by a jury of his peers gave him an inestimable safeguard against the corrupt or overzealous prosecutor and against the compliant, biased, or eccentric judge.  If the defendant preferred the common-sense judgment of a jury to the more tutored but perhaps less sympathetic reaction of the single judge, he was to have it.  Beyond this, the jury trial provisions in the Federal and State Constitutions reflect a fundamental decision about the exercise of official power--a reluctance to entrust plenary powers over the life and liberty of the citizen to one judge or to a group of judges.  Fear of unchecked power, so typical of our State and Federal Governments in other respects, found expression in the criminal law in this insistence upon community participation in the determination of guilt or innocence.  The deep commitment of the Nation to the right of jury trial in serious criminal cases as a defense against arbitrary law enforcement qualifies for protection under the Dues Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and must therefore be respected by the States."

[Duncan v. State of Louisiana, 88 S.Ct. 1444, 1451 (1968), 391 U.S. 145]


Sparf v. United States, 15 S.Ct. 273, 282; 156 U.S. 51 (1895).

It is the duty of the court to instruct the jury as to the law, and it is the duty of the jury to follow the law, as it is laid down by the court.  

[Sparf v. United States, 15 S.Ct. 273, 282; 156 U.S. 51 (1895)]


United States v. Gaudin, 115 S.Ct. 2310 (1995).

The jury can decide mixed questions of law and fact. 

[United States v. Gaudin, 115 S.Ct. 2310 (1995)]


Acosta v. City and County of San Francisco, 83 F. 3d 1143, 1147 (9th Cir. 1996)

Decisionmakers (jury or judge) must rely on the jury's factual findings as to the disputed issues of fact.

[Acosta v. City and County of San Francisco, 83 F. 3d 1143, 1147 (9th Cir. 1996)]


Nichols v. United States, 114 S.Ct. 1921, 1927 (1994).

The Supreme Court had already expanded the language of the Sixth Amendment well beyond its obvious meaning. 


Scarpa v. Dubois, 38 F. 3d 1, 11 (1st Cir. 1994).

Jurors possess raw power . . . which defense counsel may not press for. 

[Scarpa v. Dubois, 38 F. 3d 1, 11 (1st Cir. 1994)]


United States v. Credit, 95 F. 3d 362, 364 (5th Cir. 1996).

The question of whether an offense is a crime of violence for purposes of use of firearm is a question of law which should not be submitted to the jury. 

[United States v. Credit, 95 F. 3d 362, 364 (5th Cir. 1996)]


United States v. Houlihan, 92 F. 3d 1271, 1287 (1st Cir. 1996).

"that  jurors, conscious of the gravity of their task, attend closely the trial court's instructions in a criminal case."  Francis v. Franklin, 105 S.Ct. 1965, 1976 note 9 (1985), and that they follow those instructions.

[United States v. Houlihan, 92 F. 3d 1271, 1287 (1st Cir. 1996)]