Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Jury nullification, Verdicts
This paper examines the changing cultural understandings of jury nullification, with a particular focus on non-judicial explanations from 1700 to 1850; how colonial executives, American legislatures, and the public understood acts of nullification. Early eighteenth-century observers tended to classify acts of jury nullification as anecdotal events placed in a strict socio-moral framework. Revolution brought about a radical new vision of nullification. Beginning in the 1750s, nullification was understood in a new hyper-political way that emphasized jury agency and independence. By the 1820s, the public returned to a socio-moral understanding of nullification. Once again, acts of nullification were explained as a consequence of emotional responses and social connections to the involved parties. The renewed socio-moral framework diminished the power of the jury and shaped the judiciary itself.
Straub, Kim, "Jury nullification : an extralegal history" (2022). Theses. 377.