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Nullification At Work? A Glimpse From The National Center For State Courts Study Of Hung Juries, Paula Hannaford-Agor, Valerie P. Hans Jun 2015

Nullification At Work? A Glimpse From The National Center For State Courts Study Of Hung Juries, Paula Hannaford-Agor, Valerie P. Hans

Valerie P. Hans

In recent years, the criminal justice community has become increasingly concerned about the possibility that jury nullification is the underlying motivation for increasing numbers of acquittals and mistrials due to jury deadlock in felony jury trials. In this Article, the authors discuss the inherent difficulty in defining jury nullification and identifying its occurrence in actual trials. They review the evolution in public and legal opinion about the legitimacy of jury nullification and contemporary judicial responses to perceived instances of jury nullification. Finally, the authors examine the possible presence of jury nullification through empirical analysis of data collected from 372 felony …


Discriminatory Acquittal, Tania Tetlow Feb 2009

Discriminatory Acquittal, Tania Tetlow

Tania Tetlow

This Article is the first to analyze a pervasive and unexplored constitutional problem: the rights of crime victims against unconstitutional discrimination by juries. From the Emmett Till trial to that of Rodney King, there is a long history of juries acquitting white defendants charged with violence against black victims. Modern empirical evidence continues to show a devaluation of black victims; dramatic disparities exist in death sentence and rape conviction rates according to the race of the victim. Moreover, just as juries have permitted violence against those who allegedly violated the racial order, juries use acquittals to punish female victims of …


Trial Distortion And The End Of Innocence In Federal Criminal Law, Ronald F. Wright Mar 2005

Trial Distortion And The End Of Innocence In Federal Criminal Law, Ronald F. Wright

Ronald F. Wright

This article starts with a troubling and unnoticed development in federal criminal justice: acquittals have virtually disappeared from the system in the last 15 years, and for all the wrong reasons. It seems likely that prosecutors have increased the "trial penalty" so much that defendants with meaningful defenses feel compelled to plead guilty, undermining the truth-finding function of the criminal process.

The article examines these federal developments in light of a proposed "trial distortion theory." The theory I develop here evaluates the quality of plea negotiation practices in a jurisdiction by asking whether the system produces outcomes (convictions, acquittals and …