jury nullification


Definition of jury nullification

: the acquitting of a defendant by a jury in disregard of the judge's instructions and contrary to the jury's findings of fact

Examples of jury nullification in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web One of the most famous cases of jury nullification occurred during the 1955 trial of two white men in Mississippi who were accused of murdering Emmett Till, a black teenager who had allegedly whistled at a white woman. John Blake, CNN, "There's a painful Black History Month lesson in Trump's impeachment trial," 5 Feb. 2020 The federal government eventually pressed charges, but at that point, jury nullification reared its ugly head. Nicole Hemmer, Vox, "The government prosecution of a “black identity extremist” fell apart. Meanwhile, white supremacists are on the march.," 18 May 2018 The Simpson case sparked endless chatter about policing, jury nullification and the criminal justice system’s treatment of black men. Jason L. Riley, WSJ, "Bill Cosby Couldn’t Pull the Race Card—Unlike O.J. Simpson," 1 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'jury nullification.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of jury nullification

1972, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of jury nullification was in 1972

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Cite this Entry

“Jury nullification.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jury%20nullification. Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for jury nullification

jury nullification


Legal Definition of jury nullification

: the acquitting of a defendant by a jury in disregard of the judge's instructions and contrary to the jury's findings of fact

Note: Jury nullification is most likely to occur when a jury is sympathetic toward a defendant or regards the law under which the defendant is charged with disfavor. Except for a statutory requirement to the contrary, a jury does not have to be instructed on the possibility of jury nullification.

More from Merriam-Webster on jury nullification

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about jury nullification

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