(I should first say that I got this as an attachment from an online forum I don't know who wrote it but it's a great piece on Jury Nullification)
STATE LANGUAGE on JURY NULLIFICATION
The Washington Post published a front page story entitled, "In Jury Rooms, a Form of Civil Protest Grows", last year. According to the article, jurors are not always following judges' instructions to the letter.
The article recounted that sometimes in jury trials, when those facts which the judge chooses to allow into evidence indicate that the defendant broke the law, jurors look at the facts quite differently from the way the judge instructed them to. The jurors do not say "On the basis of these facts the defendant is guilty."
Instead, the jurors say, "On the basis of these facts, the law is wrong," and they vote to acquit. Or, they may vote to acquit because they believe the law is being unjustly applied, or because some government conduct in the case has been so egregious they cannot reward it with a conviction.
In short, a passion for justice invades the jury room. The jurors begin judging the law and the government, as well as the facts, and they render their verdict according to conscience. This is called jury nullification. There is no doubt that jury nullification was one of the rights and powers that the people were exercising in 1791 when the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution was adopted.
The constitutions of Maryland, Indiana, Oregon, and Georgia have provisions guaranteeing the right of jurors to "judge" or "determine" the law in "all criminal cases".In addition, 40 state constitutions declare that "All political power is inherent in the people", or words to that effect.
A single nullification verdict against a particular law may or may not alter or reform the government, but thousands of such verdicts certainly do. Witness the decisive role of jury nullification in establishing freedom of speech and press in the American Colonies, defeating the Fugitive Slave Act, and ending alcohol prohibition. The people have all power, and have at all times a right to alter, reform, or abolish their government in such manner as they think proper, therefore they have the right to jury nullification, which is tantamount to altering or reforming their government when they come together on juries to decide cases. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind. If the people have the ultimate right of revolution to protect their liberties, then they certainly also have the lesser included and more gentle right of jury nullification to protect their liberties.
Jury nullification is one of the "rights.. retained by the people" in the Ninth Amendment, and it is one of the "powers.. reserved.. to the people" in the Tenth Amendment. Jury nullification is decentralization of political power; it is the people's most important veto in our system. The jury vote is the only time people ever vote on the application of real law in real life.