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Evidence

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Evidence

Law Faculty Publications

1981

University of Richmond

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Full-Text Articles in Law

A Case For Jury Determination Of Search And Seizure Law, Ronald J. Bacigal Jan 1981

A Case For Jury Determination Of Search And Seizure Law, Ronald J. Bacigal

Law Faculty Publications

In a criminal case the option to return a general verdict of acquittal invests the jury with the raw power to nullify many legal determinations, including the trial judge's ruling that a search is constitutional. While courts grudingly acknowledge the existence of an extra-legal jury nullification power, courts do not recognize any jury prerogative to determine the lawfulness of a search. The United States Supreme Court's discussion of the jury's role in interpreting and applying the fourth amendment consists of one terse statement that the legality of a search "is a question of fact and law for the court and …