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Jury Nullificatio


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Team C: Jury Nullification
October 15, 2012

Team C: Jury Nullification Jury nullification has been a growing concern throughout the years for many Americans. Jury nullification is a constitutional doctrine that allows juries to acquit guilty defendants but who do not deserve punishment. Many believe that when this sort of action takes place the jury racially identify with the criminal defendant. There have been several cases for an example: the O.J Simpson case or the police officers in the Rodney King beating. The evidence was visible, but the verdict was not guilty. This paper includes how and if ethnicity influences courtroom proceedings and judicial practices, arguments against ethnicity-based jury nullification, contemporary examples of ethnicity based-jury nullification, and by choosing a position for or against ethnicity-based jury nullification. Ethnicity Influences and Judicial Practices
There have been plenty of attempts to advance equal justice in the United States (Ward, Farrell, & Rousseau, 2009). In the criminal justice administration disparity still remains a concern. Criminal justice research on sentencing has found disparity based on defendant characteristics as gender, race, and class. There have been two changes by many individuals to secure equal justice in the court system. Implementations of sentencing guidelines, reduce bias, and increased racial and ethnic group representation among arbiters of justice (Ward, Farrell, & Rousseau, 2009). This may diversify the pool of explicit and implicit bias that will reduce White advantages. Racial and ethnic composition of law enforcement and legal authorities has changed in selected jurisdictions (Ward, Farrell, & Rousseau, 2009). Many people expected this progress toward equal representation among legal authorities to reduce racial and ethnic group inequality. Overt racial animus and discrimination have explained persistent disparities in the United States court systems (Ward, Farrell, & Rousseau, 2009). A Majority of researchers agree these outcomes tend to center on a more subtle, but compounding inequalities. Psychology will provide insight into mechanisms to which greater racial and ethnic group balance in representation among legal authorities (Ward, Farrell, & Rousseau, 2009). These affect criminal justice outcomes because of the absence of racial animus or discrimination. Some studies have found that certain individuals harbor strong racial sentiments. Biases influence individual attitudes and actions that are along the lines of in group favoritism and out group derogation (Ward, Farrell, & Rousseau, 2009). Differences of a common focus on individual level obscures the relative distribution of racial group power and influence specific contexts of social control, which limits understanding of contextual significance of increased but varying patterns of diversity among police, court, and other criminal justice decision makers (Ward, Farrell, & Rousseau, 2009). Sentencing Research
Sentencing guidelines from the federal government have relocated and constrained discretion in sentencing making it certain categories of court workers and contexts of decision-making keys to the remaining relationships between race and sentencing outcomes (Ward, Farrell, & Rousseau, 2009). The federal courts are regaining discretion and have also considered revising guideline models. It will be an opportune moment to examine how variable racial groups influence legal decision-making, relating to racial disparity in federal sentencing.
Therefore, ethnicity does influence courtroom proceedings and judicial practices. Sentencing Research Sentencing has suggested social organizational characteristics that certain courts influence the outlooks, opportunities, and behaviors of court work groups, giving it shape to cultures of case processing and sentencing (Ward, Farrell, & Rousseau, 2009). Researchers indicated that Whites will be more apathetic toward racial issues and to harbor implicit white racial preferences compared to their Black counterparts (Ward, Farrell, & Rousseau, 2009). Black counterparts may hold stronger Black preferences that can reduce White defendant advantages and Black advantages in the case of criminal sentencing (Ward, Farrell, & Rousseau, 2009). There are several arguments for and against ethnicity-based jury nullification, but the team believes they should refrain from discussing just the African Americans and Hispanics. The ill-treatment of African Americans is constantly by not only the public but also by the criminal justice system as well. So, here are the arguments for and against ethnicity-based jury nullification. Regardless of race, everyone should receive his or her right to a trial by jury. In the team’s opinion, if one race is allowed a trial by jury every race should have the same treatment. No ethnic group should receive ill-treatment or treated unfairly. Fairness within the Legal System Every race should be allowed to re-appeal their case if he or she believes the justice system mistreated him or her or sentenced him or her for a crime he or she did not commit. If an African American requests an appeal, the courts should not deprive him or her of that right. The justice system needs to be fair. Last, regardless of the juries or individual(s) race, the jury needs to refrain from prejudice. What this means is if the jury has enough evidence toward an individual of any race, the jury needs to go by the evidence. If the evidence matches the individual and the crime in question the individual should be guilty and vise versa. In one discussed an all-white jury determined that the four White police were guilty of the crime they committed; it was about ethnicity-based jury nullification even though the case was also related to racial profiling and police brutality. Jury Nullification Examples The trial of teenagers Brandon Piekarsky and Derrick Donchak of Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, has many individuals claiming race-based jury nullification by the all-White jury. The two young men were on trial for the death of Luis Eduardo Ramirez-Zavaol, a 25 year-old Mexican native in 2008, (Brasch, 2009). The all-White jury convicted the two males of simple assault. Donchak also convicted of furnishing alcohol to minors and three counts of corruption of minors (Brasch, 2009). The jury disregarded eye-witness testimony that Brandon caused the fatal blow that resulted in the death of Ramirez and ruled not to convict him of criminal homicide (Brasch, 2009). Anderw Blomberg, a former police officer for the Houston, Texas, was acquitted by an all-White jury in his role of the beating and stomping of Chad Holley, a 15 year-old African American (Donnelly, Carey, MacDonald, & Garcia, 2012). Andrew Blomberg, accused of stomping Holley after he fled from a burglary. The minority community demands to know why there were no other ethnic groups on the jury panel (Donnelly, Carey, MacDonald, & Garcia, 2012). The Stand on Jury Nullification The members of this team are against ethnicity-based jury nullification. Juries should make a decision on their verdict based on facts not feelings or opinions. This type of nullification has been the effect of a response to social conditions: the perception that the criminal justice system targets minorities. One example of this type of nullification is the Bronx, New York, jury. This term was assigned originally to describe a jury consisting mostly of minorities in the Bronx, New York, which refuses to convict minority defendants. Bronx juries have extended to other cities that have large minority populations. One explanation for this might be that jurors are trying to make a statement of racism within the criminal justice system; another could be that the jurors are focusing not on the facts of the case, but their experiences with police misconduct and abuse. Facts or Actions The team does not agree with ethnicity-based jury nullification because the jury should just stick to the facts and not the justification behind the defendant’s actions. Although the team is not for it, it does have its pros and cons. If jurors were only to judge by facts, they would not have to be there in person. It is because jurors are people who have feelings, opinions, experience, and a conscience that the court system relies on them for a verdict. The cons are just as valid. Ethnicity-based jury nullification can be beneficial in the majority of cases. A defendant with the similar race as a jury member can be opportunity to nullify a case based on race. Jury nullification allows criminals to go free just because of his or her race. This would be drastic in the case of severe crimes. Implementation of Jury nullification should occur only in lesser crimes that target Black Americans, such as drug crimes. Allowing a dangerous person to go free because of his or her race or a White person to nullify a case are some of the reasons people are against ethnicity-based jury nullification. Race is a never-ending story that continues to be a problem and a concern for African Americans in the justice system. Everyone deserves fair justice and not just to exclude a certain individuals because of the color of a person’s skin. Jury nullification happens in many cases as explained above. Many people go freely based on the color of their skin, but justice is not served to keep these harmful individuals off the street. Optimistically, if we ever have to serve jury duty we are reliable and make the right decisions when deciding to return an individual back into society or to incarcerate the individual. The decision is in our hands, we determine what is wrong.

References: Ward, G., Farrell, A., and Rousseau, D. (2009, December). Does Racial Balance in Workforce Representation Yield Equal Justice? Race Relations of Sentencing in Federal Court Organizations. . Law and Society Review, 43(4), p757-806, 50p, 5. Retrieved from Brasch, W. (2009, June 19). Twelve Angry White People: Jury Nullification in a Pennsylvania Coal Town. Retrieved October 11, 2012, from The Public Record Intrepid Ne Journalism: Donnelly, J., Carey, I., MacDonald, S., and Garcia, R. (2012, May16). First Officer on Trail in Teen's Beating Found Not Guilty. Retrieved October 11, 2012, from Fox News:

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