Pubdate: Thu, 11 Mar 1999
Source: Seattle Times (WA)
Copyright: 1999 The Seattle Times Company
Author:  Matt McCally, Burien


Jurors re-asserting right

Once again, the news media are unable to separate distaste for
anything Libertarian from the objectivity of its reportage.

The error is all the greater because the abused subject, jury
nullification, is both important and misunderstood.

Specifically, a Washington Post story in The Times said that the
action of a female juror in Bellevue - the one who refused to find
David Anderson guilty of the murders he undoubtedly committed - was an
example of some "Seattle-area nullification situations." ("More using
jury box for civil protest," Close-up, March 6.)

But the woman in question told her fellow jurors she sabotaged the
trial out of bitterness over her divorce from a policeman, which left
her distrustful of the legal system. Petulance is not jury

Sometimes, when the law requires obedience to evil, jurors decline to
convict the "guilty" - that is jury nullification.

In the past, nullifying juries have refused, by their verdicts, to
uphold slavery, union-busting and the internment of

Given the recent escalation of the "war on drugs" and the powers of
the Internal Revenue Service, I think we have only begun to see juries
reclaiming their traditional right to conscientious objection.

I hope the media reports, and reports more honestly, when they

Matt McCally, Burien

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MAP posted-by: Rich O'Grady