Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor Supports Practice of Jury Nullification Written by Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
An article published by the Fully Informed Jury Association reports that on February 8, 2016 Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor (shown) told a group gathered at New York University that she disagreed with the Second Circuit Court’s holding in United States vs. Thomas. In that ruling, the court refused to recognize the legitimacy of jury nullification, the right reserved by members of a jury to exercise the demands of their consciences in refusing to accept a judge’s interpretation of a law.
“There is a place, I think, for jury nullification — finding the balance in that and the role judges should play,” Sotomayor said, commenting on the Second Circuit’s decision to excuse a juror based on a suspicion that he was practicing jury nullification by refusing to find a suspect guilty.
In its ruling, the Second Circuit wrote, “We categorically reject the idea that, in a society committed to the rule of law, jury nullification is desirable or that courts may permit it to occur when it is within their authority to prevent.”