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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Radical Enfranchisement in the Jury Room and Public Life
Author(s):
Sonali Chakravarti
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226654324.003.0001

Radical enfranchisement requires an ambitious standard for civic education and is motivated by two sets of ideals: the first is accuracy in assessing evidence without recourse to bias; the second is a heightened appreciation for the authority jurors have to legitimate or deny punishment for the defendant as a decision distinct from their reflection on the evidence. Together, these two ideals contribute to an understanding of justice that is more substantive than a defense based on procedural legitimacy and is asymptotically achieved through democratic deliberation about the remedy necessary in a given situation. Justice is thus always contextual, particular, and tied to ongoing duties of citizenship for both those who are punished and those who make the decisions. In each of three moments described in the book—(1) the conditions of a hung jury, (2) the examination of doubt, and (3) the possibility of jury nullification (where jurors give a verdict of not guilty as a result of the legitimacy of the law or their desire to show mercy to the defendant)—radically enfranchised jurors must put into practice skills of judgment and discernment while being acutely aware of the dangers of its misuse.

Keywords:   radical enfranchisement, jury, deliberation, hung jury, nullification

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