Prison Corrections from Sociological Perspective
How it works
Throughout the past couple decades, America has come a great way in the process of building its judicial branch. One of the major factors in our judiciary system is the power of the jury, however, an issue that often rises within our corrections system is the power of jury nullification. Jury Nullification occurs when a juror knowingly and deliberately rejects evidence or refuses to apply the law to a case. The issue that often times rises with jury nullification is the fact that it can violate a defendant’s sixth amendment right due to the fact that jurors may not understand the power they may hold or how they may be reprimanded if jury nullification is to occur in a case. Much like the idea of the jury, jury nullification has also developed over the last hundred years.
The sheer power of jury nullification comes from two other protections that are secured by one’s right to a fair trial with a jury. The capacity for a jury to arrive at a decision without being reprimanded or punished along with the unreviewable nature of an acquittal makes jury nullification conceivable. History has demonstrated that injustices occur when these parts of a jury are not all around protected. Jury nullification has been a sign of freedom. As we will later examine, numerous different freedoms have been secured through the activity of jury nullification. The abolitionist development progressed through jury nullification. The right to speak freely of discourse, even more than that, owes a few of its lawful triumphs to the jury nullification principle. Even with jury nullification, it is difficult to forestall the government from upholding unjust laws.
How it works
Tragically, however, this force is frequently not known by members of the jury. Additionally, present day law treats the convention of jury nullification contrarily. The courts not just expel attendants associated with jury nullification, the courts have charged members of the jury pushing jury nullification with a great deal of contempt. Basically instructing individuals about jury nullification has driven many to imprisonment. Respondents and their advisors the same have been held in scorn for raising a protection dependent on jury nullification. Numerous different models show the equivalent kind of negative treatment from the courts towards jury nullification. With these activities, legal hearers and juries in general, are either made oblivious of their innate forces, or on the other hand they are too terrified to even consider exercising them. The outcome is that most courts have successfully debilitated the jury from having the option to do its most significant obligation, shielding against oppression. In the meantime, jails keep on topping off against famous requests. It must be said at that point, that on the off chance that a jury is kept from satisfying its motivation, at that point it’s anything but a lawful jury.
One of the many benefits of jury nullification is that it can oftentimes be its own form of moral justice. In cases in which self defense is concerned or in cases where one may have harmed another human being due to being placed in a difficult situation, jury nullification can offer justice in a system that may not be as fair. Due to this implementation of its own moral justice, jury nullification also helps prevent personal bias from playing a role in the conviction process since jury nullification allows jurors to be skeptical of every step of the justice process as well as ask as many questions as they may please every step of the way. Another benefit of jury nullification is that it provides needed checks and balances in our justice system due to the fact that juries have the final say in what happens in a case. This application of the jury creates a checkpoint in order to prevent judicial bias in cases as well as prevent the public from influencing the court case.
Subsequently, because jury nullification creates needed checks in the system, it can take away the influence the public may hold over a case, which can be beneficial as much as it can cause a great deal of harm. On one hand, the jury applies itself as a true and final level of justice in a case, yet on the other hand, the will of the jury can oftentimes go against the will of population. Due to the jury being such a small representation of the population, nullification can permit just one juror to alter the course of an entire trial, which can oftentimes present yet another confound in a case.
Another issue that rises alongside the rise of jury nullification is the idea that jury nullification may stop people who are truly guilty from going into prison simply because a jury may be hesitant to convict an individual of a horrendous crime if their victim was a minority or an African American. One can argue that criminal law is racist because it does not account for the opportunities one may be given throughout their life on the basis of ethnicity or how someone may look. As stated in the course textbook,
“It suggests that criminal law is racist because, like other American law, it is an instrument of white supremacy, Law is made by white elites to protect their interests and, especially, to preserve the economic status quo, which benefits those elites at the expense of blacks, among others. Due to discrimination and segregation, the majority of African-Americans recieve few meaningful educational and employment opportunities and, accordingly are unable to succeed, at least in terms of the capitalist ideal. (C. Kubrin, T. Stucky, 2013. p. 220)
While one may argue that this is not the America we live in today, one often fails to realize that every class and every home lives in a very different America.
Personally, I am with the idea of jury nullification. Jury nullification prevents a great deal of injustice from occurring throughout every segment of our court systems and although one may argue that it does not protect minorities from a number of issues they may be put up against because of their ethnicity, nor does it account for the opinion of one juror changing the outcome of a case, it still offers a system of checks and balances that has proven to be beneficial throughout the decades.
- Kubrin, C. E., & Stucky, T. (2013). Introduction to Criminal Justice: A Sociological Perspective
- (1st ed.). Amsterdam, Netherlands: Amsterdam University Press.