LD – N/D ’15 Jury Nullification

Judging several rounds  of LD last month have left me with mixed feelings on the topic, not the least of which is that jury nullification seems to be an evenly two-edged sword, with examples that cut for both the Aff and Neg with equal power. The strongest cases I heard were Aff, though it still seems that Neg should be able to match them.

As promised to one of the debaters, note the following two articles. If, historically, one of the reasons against jury nullification is the way it was used to acquit whites of offenses against blacks during the 1950s and 1960s, then the question becomes one of lingering racism, and how that affects the use of jury nullification. I heard one Aff claim that racism isn’t as much of a problem as it was then, so that jury nullification is more likely to be used in a positive way rather than in a negative way. The neg had no rebuttal to that point – thus the following two articles. The first is about racial attitudes in general across the country, the second has to do with the use of race in selecting juries, and how that impacts trial outcomes. Collectively they should help show the continuing danger inherent in jury nullification.

The troubling reason why whites in some states may show more hidden racial bias

Thompson – How America Tolerates Racism in Jury Selection



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