Let's say a politician is charged with a crime that is normally punishable by prison. But one or more people on the jury is/are of the same party as that politician and thinks they did nothing wrong or they don't want them to go to prison. That person votes not guilty or asks for jury nullification regardless of if the more nonpartisan jurors agree the person is guilty.

In the United States, is such a scenario plausible?

  • 4
    I'll leave it to others with more knowledge of the American criminal justice system to offer an answer, but: yes it's plausible - as is the contraview that they may be convicted due to an opposite partisan or any other polarised belief system as juries are not infallible.
    – user35069
    Dec 19, 2021 at 14:52
  • Does the office the politician holds matter?
    – hszmv
    Dec 20, 2021 at 14:54

1 Answer 1


Yes, such a scenario is plausible, and there are some cases where it has probably happened. But since juries do not normally give reasons for their votes, it is hard to establish when it has and when it has not happened, and I have seen no statistics on such occurrences.

By the way, "Jury Nullification" is simply when one or more jury members vote in a particular way because of something other than the law and evidence as presented in the trial. Most often the term is used when a jury votes to acquit because they dislike or disapprove of the law involved. For example, in the 1850s a number of people accused of violating the US Fugitive Slave Law by harboring runaway slaves were acquitted, reputedly because juries who disliked the law (quite unpopular in many northern states) no matter what the evidence. Later, during Prohibition, some people charged with possessing or selling alcohol were acquitted, reputedly by juries who disapproved of Prohibition. In both cases, it is hard to get authoritative sources that specific cases were actual instances of jury nullification.

Anyway, a juror need not "ask" for jury nullification, that juror just votes to acquit. A jury that votes to acquit (or convict) because of political or personal views about the accused might be said to be "biased" but I am not sure if that would be described as "jury nullification".

  • 1
    Worth noting that while grand juries in states that require them (and in the federal system) are usually a "rubber stamp" for prosecutors, that one of the main circumstances when a grand jury refuses to indict someone is when that person is a politician or other celebrity or public figure.
    – ohwilleke
    Dec 20, 2021 at 19:01

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .