Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Criminal Justice, Crime, Race, Law, Application, Verdict, United States, Supreme Court

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2023/04/10

If we rely on the principles of equity and equality during the proceedings, we will without any doubt conclude that such features of any person as race, skin, nationality, age cannot be the basis for one’s assessment of his personality, especially when the judgment mainly depends on this verdict. Notwithstanding, different researches have proven the opposite state of affairs. For example, Chiricos and Crawford (Wang, 2008) after analyzing 38 different cases “claimed that blacks are more likely to be sentenced to prison than whites”; Spohn (p. 15) concluded that “racial minorities were sentenced more harshly than whites, if they were young and male, or we they have committed drug offenses”.
This has always affected the decision, while deliberations in the courtroom were taking place. Once an accused was a Russian during the Cold War, an African-American or a Mexican, nowadays a Muslim can be sentenced on basis of his ethnic origin. But how will that affect jury nullification? In United States v. Thomas, 116 F.3d 606, 614 (2d Cir. 1997), jury nullification was defined as “a violation of a juror’s oath to apply the law as instructed by the court—in the words of the standard oath administered to jurors in the federal courts, to ‘render a true verdict according to the law and the evidence”.
There are many arguments for and against race-based jury nullification; particularly the one belongs to Professor Paul Butler and another one to Andrew Leipold. From one side, Professor Butler “argues that race is sometimes a legally and morally appropriate factor for jurors to consider” [Keneally, 2010].
But this is in case of a guilty verdict. Here we can also add other arguments for application of such legal construction: a guilty offender will remain arrested as well as that trial under such circumstances is fair, reducing the level of criminal rate.
On the other hand, Andrew Leipold claims that “frequent race-based nullification would only help solidify and institutionalize racism within the criminal justice system”. In such aspect there is a possibility to set the guilty free as well as such verdict is based mainly on concentrating on the feelings and attitude towards a person regarding its features, but not on facts and law; the jury cannot be called unbiased and neutral, if such situation takes place.
There were different cases concerning the issue of application or not the race-based jury nullification. One of the most known cases is the Scottsboro Boys issue, nine African-American teenagers accused of raping two white women in 1931. The jury was all-white for three times and reached only guilty verdict. The opposite side of application of this rule was found in the case of the Jim Crow South consisting in murdering of a black minor by two men in Mississippi, who were acquitted by a jury. The point is that these two men later admitted killing the girl.
The history has shown that the application of ethnicity-based jury nullification contradicts the principles of justice, namely the equal protection in courtrooms regardless race and nationality. The idea consists in possibility of sentencing a person, who can thought a guilty by a jury only because of the other representatives of the same ethnic group. Such situation can occur, when we cope, for example, with Muslims nowadays, who are often associated with terrorism, 9/11 and ISIS.
All these associations can damage the level of justice as well as can be the basis for a long sentence of not guilty. All the arguments for existence of this construction are not strong and the criminal proceedings can be effective and successful without application of ethnicity-based jury nullification.


Keneally, James M. (2010) Jury Nullification, Race, and the Wire Retrieved from:
Leipold, Andrew D. (1996), The Dangers of Race-Based Jury Nullification: A Response to Professor Butler, 44 UCLA L. Rev. 109, 112
United States v. Thomas, 116 F.3d 606, 614 (2d Cir. 1997),
Wang, Xia (2008) Criminal Justice Sentencing in Context: the Effect of Social Environment on Courtroom Decision-Making, ProQuest LLC, Florida. Print

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WePapers. (2023, April, 10) Essay On Jury Nullification. Retrieved April 20, 2024, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/essay-on-jury-nullification/
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Essay On Jury Nullification. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/essay-on-jury-nullification/. Published Apr 10, 2023. Accessed April 20, 2024.

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