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Guilty, Not Guilty, Nullify: Nullification in an Age of Abolition

Guilty, Not Guilty, Nullify: Nullification in an Age of Abolition

Chapter:
(p.81) Four Guilty, Not Guilty, Nullify: Nullification in an Age of Abolition
Source:
Radical Enfranchisement in the Jury Room and Public Life
Author(s):
Sonali Chakravarti
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226654324.003.0005

While arguments for greater awareness about nullification, the power of a jury to render a not guilty verdict even if the burden of proof has been met, and the critical role it plays within the legal system have long existed, its relationship to contemporary movements for racial justice, particularly the Movement for Black Lives, has been underdeveloped. One reason for this is that the movement grew out of a desire for greater accountability for police violence against African-Americans, a pattern that had been largely ignored within the public consciousness and also unpunished within the criminal justice system. However, the need for greater education about the power of jury nullification (including imagining the implications of a three option verdict: guilty, not guilty, nullify) allows for the development of the radically enfranchised citizen in ways that enhance movements calling for dramatic changes within the criminal justice system.

Keywords:   Black Lives Matter, jury nullification, juror, police

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