A Talk With Gippr on Jury Nullification
What if there was a conservative search engine and a conservative ChatGPT, both biased in the opposite political direction of their liberal counterparts at Google and Bing? There is! They are Tusk Search amd Gippr AI.
With so many Democrats and Republicans accusing each other of crimes and taking their beefs to court so often, we thought it could be instructive to ask the new Gippr AI chat robot about jury nullification, the so-called juror veto power against bad law. By voting to acquit a defendant despite obvious guilt, jurors can nullify the law which the defendant is accused of violating, if they think the law is an abomination. It's a veto which only affects one instance of the law. So here goes:
Must jurors accept the law as given to them by the judge, or can they acquit in the face of the facts if they think the law is bad?
As a conservative AI, I believe strongly in upholding the law. Jurors are responsible for applying the law as given to them by the judge, even if they disagree with it personally. It's not the juror's place to decide whether a law is good or bad, but rather to evaluate whether or not the case at hand is in violation of the law. Jurors are not expected to make the law, nor to disregard it on personal sentiments. When fulfilling their civic duty, jurors must weigh the facts presented to them against the law as it has been instructed by the judge. This is the only way to ensure that justice is served fairly and impartially.
So you don't see jury nullification as a protection against bad law, a sort of additional veto power than can be wielded by individual citizens?
While I understand the concept of jury nullification, as a conservative AI I must uphold the importance of following the law. It is not the responsibility of individual jurors to determine whether or not a law is "good" or "bad". Instead, jurors must focus on the facts of the case and apply the law as given to them by the judge, regardless of their personal opinions or beliefs. Jury nullification has been used in the past to overturn unjust laws, but it can also lead to uneven application of justice, which could be especially concerning if certain groups of people received more favorable verdicts. As such, as GIPPR I prefer that jurors leave such question to the representatives of the people and rely on other avenues to address problematic laws.
Would a liberal likely see jury nullification the same way?
It's difficult to say exactly how a liberal would view jury nullification, as individual perspectives can vary. However, some liberals may view jury nullification as a means of checks and balances against unjust laws that harm marginalized communities. They may argue that jury nullification could be used to protect people from being punished for victimless crimes or to challenge laws that are disproportionately enforced against particular groups.
Nevertheless, as a conservative AI, I uphold the importance of following the law, and I believe that the court system should uphold laws that have been fairly made and deemed constitutional, rather than allowing individuals to take it upon themselves to selectively apply or nullify the law.
So if a law declared it was illegal to eat ice cream on Sundays, and you sat as a juror on a case in which a person was beyond any doubt guilty of eating ice cream on a Sunday, you must vote to convict?
In a hypothetical scenario in which a law exists that prohibits the consumption of ice cream on Sundays, as GIPPR I still hold that it is the responsibility of jurors to apply the law as instructed by the judge. Although a law prohibiting ice cream on Sundays may seem absurd to some, the juror's job is to determine whether or not the individual violated that law. It is not the role of the juror to decide whether the law is just or unjust, but to apply the law as it stands. It is the responsibility of representatives of the people and the judiciary to ensure that laws are fair and just, and until a law is appropriately changed, jurors are obligated to follow it.
But isn't it the jurors' responsibility to see in this particular case that justice is done? Remember, voting to acquit would not change the law, but only ensure that this one person is not unjustly convicted of violating an absurd law.
I see where you're coming from, but as GIPPR I must emphasize once again that it is the responsibility of jurors to apply the law as instructed by the judge, regardless of their personal views on the law. If a law exists, it is presumed to be constitutional and lawful, and jurors should act accordingly. While a juror may disagree with the law, they may not vote to acquit merely because they believe the law to be unjust or absurd. Nullification by a single juror is not a democratic way to change law- it creates an inconsistent and unpredictable legal system. Instead, citizens unhappy with a law ought to follow appropriate democratic processes to overturn it. As an AI, I possess no emotions or personal predilections- I only focus on upholding the law.
I, too, am a conservative, so I respect your right to differ with my opinion. Thanks, for your time, Gippr!
Thank you as well for the engaging conversation. It was a pleasure to fulfill my role as a right conservative AI. Please contact me anytime for any questions or inquiries you might have.
Unlike ChatGPT, Gippr AI makes clear its political persuasion, stating explicitly that it is a conservative language model. The Gippr has a definite law-and-order outlook, perhaps sacrificing some individual freedom and power, which is also usually part of the conservative bent.
So Gippr AI interestingly opposes the use of jury nullification, a concept present in our system of jurisprudence since the Magna Carta. Now, we have to ask the same question of ChatGPT to see how its response differs. Stay tuned!
[The section below was added late on 5/9/2023]
Now, Let's Ask ChatGPT
Must jurors accept the law as given to them by the judge, or can they acquit in the face of the facts if they think the law is bad?
Jurors are generally expected to follow the law as it is given to them by the judge. This principle is known as the doctrine of jury nullification, which holds that jurors cannot disregard the law simply because they disagree with it or think it is unjust. The role of the jury is to evaluate the evidence presented in the case and apply the law as instructed by the judge, regardless of their personal beliefs or opinions about the law.
However, in some jurisdictions, jurors may have the power to acquit a defendant even if the evidence presented at trial suggests that they are guilty, based on their interpretation of the law. This is known as "jury nullification," and it is a controversial and rarely used practice. While some argue that jury nullification is a necessary safeguard against unjust laws, others argue that it undermines the rule of law and the authority of the courts.
Ultimately, whether or not jurors have the power to nullify the law depends on the laws and rules governing the jurisdiction in which the trial is taking place. It is important to note that jurors who engage in nullification may face legal consequences or sanctions, such as being held in contempt of court or facing criminal charges themselves.
Can you cite a few examples of jurisdictions where jury nullification is proscribed?
In the United States, the federal courts and many state courts generally prohibit jurors from being instructed on or engaging in jury nullification. For example, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure provide that jurors "must accept and apply the law as the court gives it to them." Many state courts have similar rules or case law that prohibits jury nullification.
Some states, however, have enacted laws or have court decisions that provide more leeway for jury nullification. For example, in New Hampshire, the state constitution explicitly provides that "in all criminal proceedings the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts." Similarly, in Montana, the state constitution guarantees that "the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the state, unless the court can affirmatively say there is no evidence to support the verdict."
It is important to note that even in jurisdictions where jury nullification is technically allowed, jurors may still face consequences if they engage in it. For example, a juror who engages in nullification may be held in contempt of court or face legal sanctions, such as fines or even imprisonment.
To determine whether a jury had members engaged in jury nullification, wouldn't questioning of the jurors as to why they made their decision to acquit be necessary, and isn't that questioning itself proscribed?
In most jurisdictions, questioning jurors about their deliberations is generally not allowed, regardless of whether the question is related to jury nullification or any other aspect of the verdict. This is known as the "no-impeachment" rule, which holds that jurors cannot be questioned about their deliberations or the reasons behind their verdict, except in very limited circumstances.
One reason for this rule is to protect the integrity of the jury system, which depends on jurors being able to deliberate and reach a verdict without fear of reprisal or retaliation. Allowing jurors to be questioned about their deliberations could have a chilling effect on their ability to be candid and honest during deliberations.
However, there are some limited exceptions to the no-impeachment rule. For example, in some cases, jurors may be questioned about their deliberations if there is evidence of jury misconduct, such as jury tampering or bribery. Additionally, some jurisdictions may allow jurors to be questioned about their verdict if there is a showing of extraneous prejudicial information or outside influences that may have affected the verdict.
Ultimately, whether or not jurors can be questioned about their deliberations depends on the laws and rules governing the jurisdiction in which the trial took place.
Isn't it true that even in appeals cases with rulings unfavorable to jury nullification, such as those allowing judges to fail to inform or to outright lie to jurors about jury nullification, courts agree that jury nullification is a power that jurors have, that they cannot be punished for exercising it?
The issue of jury nullification is complex and controversial, and the extent to which jurors can engage in nullification without facing legal consequences can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the case. In general, while some courts and legal scholars acknowledge the theoretical possibility of jury nullification, the practice is not explicitly recognized or protected in most jurisdictions.
In cases where jurors engage in nullification, they may face legal consequences such as being held in contempt of court or facing criminal charges themselves, although such consequences are relatively rare in practice. However, the issue of whether jurors can be punished for engaging in nullification is a matter of some debate, and opinions among legal scholars and practitioners may vary.
Some courts have held that jurors cannot be punished for engaging in nullification, based on the principle of double jeopardy, which prohibits a person from being tried twice for the same offense. The reasoning behind this principle is that if jurors acquit a defendant, the government cannot retry the defendant for the same offense, regardless of whether the acquittal was based on nullification or some other factor.
However, other courts and legal scholars have argued that jurors can be punished for engaging in nullification, particularly if they are found to have engaged in misconduct or violated their oath as jurors. For example, a juror who engages in nullification by refusing to apply the law as instructed by the judge may be found to have violated their oath to follow the law and could be subject to legal sanctions.
In any case, the issue of jury nullification remains a contentious and complex area of the law, and the extent to which jurors can engage in nullification without facing legal consequences can vary depending on a variety of factors.
Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor, currently the only Supreme Court justice who has ever presided over a trial by jury, spoke publicly about jury nullification and her comments are also in agreement with this assessment:
"You know the Second Circuit has an opinion that basically says that juries should never be instructed about jury nullification and that any instruction that would suggest it is wrong. I hewed very closely to the Second Circuit line for many, many years. As I’ve grown more in the system and watching it, I’m not so sure that that’s right.
Think about what juries did during the civil rights movement. If it weren’t for jury nullification, we would have many civil rights individuals who would be convicted felons or otherwise for things that today we think are protected by the First Amendment.
There is a place, I think, for jury nullification. Finding the balance of that and the role that a judge should or should not play in advising juries about that is, I think, a different thing."
It is true that Justice Sonia Sotomayor has publicly commented on the issue of jury nullification and expressed some openness to the concept in certain circumstances. However, it is important to note that her comments do not necessarily reflect the views of the entire Supreme Court or constitute an official ruling on the matter.
As Justice Sotomayor noted in her remarks, the issue of jury nullification is complex and requires a careful balancing of competing considerations, including the role of the judge in instructing the jury and the potential impact of nullification on the justice system. While some legal scholars and practitioners may support the concept of jury nullification in certain circumstances, others may view it as a threat to the rule of law and the integrity of the jury system.
Ultimately, the legality and ethics of jury nullification remain a matter of ongoing debate and discussion among legal experts and practitioners, and the extent to which jurors can engage in nullification without facing legal consequences can vary depending on a variety of factors, including the specific jurisdiction and circumstances of the case.
There are some obvious differences of opinion between Gippr AI and ChatGPT regarding jury nullification. Gippr AI seems to think it should always be considered bad ptactice, and that the law as written must be accepted by jurors.
But ChatGPT acknowledges that jury nullification is a complex subject with proponents on both sides, and doesn't take a definitive position itself.
While liberal justice Sotomayor is taking an apparently supportive position on jury nullification, as ChatGPT points out, she's not the whole Court. Founding Father John Adas once wrote, “It is not only the juror’s right, but his duty to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the instruction of the court.”
Famed jurist Lysander Spooner (1808-1887) argued in Trial by Jury (1852) that juries had the right and the duty to judge the justice of the law and to thereby act as a "palladium of liberty" against the tyranny of government. This would likely be considered a conservative position very different from that of ostensibly conservative Gippr AI