Necessity and Jury Nullification

Posted: 21 Jun 2007

See all articles by Travis Hreno

Travis Hreno

University of Akron - Buchtel College of Arts & Sciences


Jury nullification refers to the behaviour of a jury that votes to acquit a defendant of criminal charges despite believing that: a) the defendant did in fact commit the actions with which she is charged; and, b) such actions are, indeed, prohibited by law. While there are many objections to this practice, the most striking thing about jury nullification is that nothing is done to actually prevent or punish jurors who behave this way. In this paper, I explore three rationales for why jury nullification is an officially tolerated, if not necessarily welcome, element of Anglo-American criminal law jury trials. All three of these rationales centre in one way or another on the idea that the very concept of a jury trial necessitates allowing the jury to extend its traditional purview in such a manner.

Keywords: jury nullification

Suggested Citation

Hreno, Travis, Necessity and Jury Nullification. Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, Vol. 20, No. 2, 2007, Available at SSRN:

Travis Hreno (Contact Author)

University of Akron - Buchtel College of Arts & Sciences ( email )

United States

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