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3 comments

  • I just finished watching Dr. Phil and my view is probably different than most people who have commented on this injustice. I live in Maryland and our state constitution says this:

    Article 23:
    In the trial of all criminal cases, the Jury shall be the Judges of Law, as well as of fact, except that the Court may pass upon the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain a conviction.

    This is the MOST important part : “the Jury shall be the Judges of Law, as well as of fact” The jury can judge the law, and if they decide that the law is unjust, they can act accordingly.

    This means that the jury are SOVEREIGN. This means they have “supreme and permanent authority” over all other individuals, groups, and organizations when determining a verdict.

    Now my point: The juror on the show said that he “had to follow the law and the Judge when rendering to a verdict. Every time I hear a juror say this, I cringe! THE JURY CAN DO WHATEVER IT LIKES!

    Under the US Constitution, juries have this power also:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_nullification

    People need to understand that when a judge says that you MUST follow his instructions, HE IS WRONG!

    • You are 100% correct that a jury has the legal right to jury nullification. It is my understanding that there is a catch 22 to jury nullification and that is that the lawyers can’t suggest to the jury that it is an option. Because of this most jurors don’t know that they have a right to do this. Recently a non profit group from Montana has put up signs around court buildings in Washington DC telling juries they have the right to jury nullification. This has angered many of the prosecutors who don’t want this information out there. This has caused a debate between those who say it is jury tampering and those who say it is free speech. You can read about this here.

    • You are RIGHT ON! A juror DOES NOT HAVE TO obey the judge OR the prosecutor. AND neither the judge or the prosecutor can question why they voted that way. Jury nullification is still a constitutional right in this country. I wish the jury in this case had been more educated in what Jury Nullification was all about. This is a prime example of where the charges DO NOT fit the crime. There are at least 2 points that the prosecution MUST prove in a criminal case: 1) Mens Rea, in this case would mean they had a criminal responsibility with intent – in this case, felony murder. The other element is 2)Actus Reas and, the two have to walk hand-in-hand for a criminal charge. Now since Hill only brought felony murder charges, neither of these elements were legally proven for that felony murder. It could have been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt for burglary but NOT felony murder.

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