In a criminal case the option to return a general verdict of acquittal invests the jury with the raw power to nullify many legal determinations, including the trial judge's ruling that a search is constitutional. While courts grudingly acknowledge the existence of an extra-legal jury nullification power, courts do not recognize any jury prerogative to determine the lawfulness of a search. The United States Supreme Court's discussion of the jury's role in interpreting and applying the fourth amendment consists of one terse statement that the legality of a search "is a question of fact and law for the court and not for the jury." In challenging that statement, this article draws a sharp line between de facto jury nullification power and the jury's legitimate prerogative to determine law.
Ronald J. Bacigal,
A Case for Jury Determination of Search and Seizure Law,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol15/iss4/4