Rittenhouse Not Guilty – Might Be Jury Nullification; It Could Be Weak Case, or Jurors’ Underlying Feelings
Karl Rittenhouse Found Not Guilty
WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 19, 2021) - Karl Rittenhouse was just found not guilty on all the many counts (including lesser included offenses) of which he was charged.
While it could be that the evidence against him just wasn't strong enough, there is a possibility that some or even more of the jurors' votes were based upon juror nullification,
That was the prediction of public interest law professor John Banzhaf who has taught the law of self defense for more than 40 years, and provided legal analysis to justify the self defense shootings of New York’s "subway shooter" Bernhard Goetz, DC's "jacuzzi shooter" Carl Rowan as well as in other cases, and correctly predicted the outcomes of many recent police killing cases, as well as the Zimmerman verdict.
Here's the legal analysis and prediction he published several days ago.
Given the very strong feelings and emotions underlying this case - with some characterizing the defendant as a hero and others as a lawless vigilante - there is also a considerable possibility that the outcome of the trial will be decided by juror nullification or jury nullification.
"Juror nullification" (similar to "jury nullification") occurs when a juror exercises his constitutionally protected right to refuse to vote "guilty" even when he is convinced of a defendant's guilt - which could occur because he simply believes that a conviction would be unfair or unjust under the circumstances, when he wants to "sent a message" to the prosecutor, out of sympathy for a defendant, to not discourage certain conduct, or for other reasons.
These could include seeking to protect if not encourage citizens to stand up to criminal rioters, sympathy for gun rights supporters, dislike or even hatred for criminal rioters, reaction to prosecutorial overcharging, etc.
And it take only one juror exercising this right to cause a mistrial, even if all of the other jurors are firmly convinced of the defendant's guilt.
If only one juror votes "not guilty" even while believing that Rittenhouse's guilt has been proven - juror nullification - the result is a mistrial. If all jurors - including some exercising their constitutional right of jury nullification - vote "not guilty," the defendant goes free and there is no appeal.
Jury nullification, a constitutional right recognized and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, occurs when jurors, despite concluding beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant has violated the criminal law as explained to them by the judge, nevertheless unanimously votes "not guilty."
Jurors may do this because they believe that the law is unfair or unreasonable, either in general or as applied in a specific situation, to send some kind of message to prosecutors and/or to the general public, because a conviction in a specific situation might seem unjust for some reason, to register strong discontent with the conduct of the prosecutor, because of public pressure for - or concern about - a particular verdict, or for a myriad of other similar reasons which in some situations might even include issues related to race.
In short, this constitutional right permits jurors to nullify the law as it was meant to be applied, says Banzhaf.
As examples, consider that some believe that jury nullification apparently played a major if not controlling role in many criminal verdicts involving varied defendants: penis-slicer Lorena Bobbitt; the Menendez brothers (Trial 1); subway shooter Bernhard Goetz; Iran-contra figure Oliver North; former Philippines first lady Imelda Marcos; New York Black activist Al Sharpton; reputed mob boss John Gotti (early trials); and the beating trials of Reginald Denny as well as Rodney King (Trial 1).
Perhaps the public will learn more if one or more jurors speaks with members of the press, but it is unlikely that a juror whose vote was based upon juror nullification would admit it, either to the media or to fellow jurors, suggests Banzhaf.