John Peter Zenger trial, the JURY disregarded the established law and returned a verdict of NOT Guilty.
Jury nullification appeared in the pre-Civil War era when northern juries sometimes refused to convict for violations of the Fugitive Slave Act because jurors felt the laws to be unjust.
I believe that it is the duty and responsibility of the jury to evaluate both the law and the facts when the jury is deliberating.
I would propose and work for the passage of a bill that would require Judges to instruct the jury about their duty to judge the facts and the law and its application in the specific case.
I want us to get back to following the US Constitution in the court room.
THOMAS JEFFERSON (1789): I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.
JOHN ADAMS (1771): It’s not only ….(the juror’s) right, but his duty, in that case, to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgement, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.
JOHN JAY (1794): The jury has a right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy.
ALEXANDER HAMILTON (1804): Jurors should acquit even against the judge’s instruction….”if exercising their judgement with discretion and honesty they have a clear conviction that the charge of the court is wrong.”
SAMUEL CHASE (1804): The jury has the right to determine both the law and the facts.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES (1920): The jury has the power to bring a verdict in the teeth of both the law and the facts.
U.S. vs. DOUGHERTY (1972) [D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals]: The jury has….”unreviewable and irreversible power…to acquit in disregard of the instructions on the law given by the trial judge.”