What Is Jury Nullification?

Attorney Vincent Rivera

Why Jury Nullification Is the Criminal Justice System Dirty Little Secret

Not only do you have the ability to decide whether somebody is guilty or not guilty, you also have the ability to decide whether or not the law should even apply to them.

You have the ability to say,

"I believe this person is guilty, but I think this law is BS, so I'm not going to apply it to them."

It's called jury nullification, and it's the system's dirty little secret because when you report for jury duty, no one's going to tell you about it. The prosecutor's not going to explain it to you. The judge isn't going to explain it to you, and the defense attorneys aren't allowed to tell you that you can find someone not guilty even if they are guilty. It's one of the reasons juries are so powerful in our country because not only do they have the power to decide guilt or innocence, they have the power to decide the very law itself.

Examples of How Jury Nullification Could Play Out in Real Life.

It's like a check and balance against the legislature. Your legislator did not call you before they went out to vote on a bill to get your opinion. But through jury nullification, you have the power to decide what the law is.

Let me give you a few examples of how jury nullification could play out in real life.

Let's say you're on the jury and the case is possession of marijuana, and you believe that marijuana should be legal. Let's say the facts of the case prove beyond a reasonable doubt this guy's guilty. He possessed marijuana, no doubt about it. Through jury nullification, you can decide that even though he's guilty, he's not guilty because you believe that marijuana should be legal.

Another situation, let's say it's a battery case. And let's say the victim had it coming. This victim antagonized, tormented, terrorized, talked all kinds of smack, and they deserved the beating that they got. Now in that scenario, it's not self-defense, and the defendant is guilty of battery. But the jury can decide, "Yeah, he's guilty of battery, but this other guy had it coming. And for that reason, I'm going to find him not guilty."

Or consider the example where you've got a parent who has a sick child, and the parent breaks into the pharmacy, steals some medicine. Now, in that case, that parent is clearly guilty of burglary and theft, but you can still find them not guilty because they did it for the right reasons.

How Rivera Law Can Help You

Vincent Rivera, Kansas Criminal Defense Lawyer

Vincent Rivera, Kansas Criminal Defense Lawyer

Vincent Rivera, Founding Attorney at Rivera Law and a renowned Criminal Defense Lawyer, has seen and experienced the intricacies of the criminal justice system firsthand. He understands the system's flaws and its unwillingness to consider the complete story of the accused. Vincent's practice is rooted in the belief that everyone is more than their alleged crimes. He is dedicated to hearing your story, understanding your circumstances, and conveying your story accurately to the court. His expertise lies in ensuring the judge and jury understand the complete picture, not just the prosecution's version of the story.

One of the unique aspects of Vincent's practice is his expertise in jury trials, an essential element in understanding the phenomenon of jury nullification. He has handled a wide range of cases, from domestic battery, drug possession, and DUIs to federal crimes and felony homicide. He's seen how juries operate, how they can be swayed, and how they can make decisions beyond the pure facts of the case. Whether it's a question of the applicability of a law or a matter of moral judgment, he understands the power juries hold in their hands. His experience with such diverse cases means that no matter what you're charged with, Vincent's been there and knows how to present your story effectively.

Beyond his extensive trial experience, Vincent Rivera is also a two-time recipient of the Kansas Legal Educator Award and has consistently pursued top-level training throughout his career. He is not just relying on his experience; he believes in constant learning and improving, which is essential in the ever-evolving field of law. He teaches trial skills to law students at Washburn Law’s Intensive Trial Advocacy Program (ITAP) and serves as a mentor to other attorneys. By choosing Vincent Rivera as your attorney, you get a dedicated, experienced, and continually evolving professional who will stand by your side, fight for your rights, and help you navigate the complex criminal justice system.

You are not just hiring an attorney; you are choosing a partner who will be your voice, tell your story, and strive for justice on your behalf.