I think we all agree that police should not lie under oath, even as to matters of probable cause, even when the defendant is clearly guilty. Their oath is more important than any private desire to see what they believe is “justice” served in any one particular case — if “justice” means twisting the law and violating their oath. Any officer who decides for himself what the law ought to be, in violation of his oath to tell the truth on the stand, is a “rogue cop” and a criminal.
But jurors take an oath, too: an oath to follow the law as set forth in the court’s instructions. In California, jurors cannot serve unless they first raise their right hand and answer “yes” to the following question:
Do you, and each of you, understand and agree that you will well and truly try the case now pending before this court, and a true verdict render according only to the evidence presented to you and to the instructions of the court?
A juror cannot serve unless he answers this question “yes.” Like all questions answered by jurors, this answer is given under penalty of perjury.
And the instructions of the court mandate that jurors must follow the law, and not be swayed by sympathy, compassion, prejudice, or other emotions.
To supporters of jury nullification: would you violate your oath to follow the law, given under penalty of perjury, in order to bend the law to your own personal conception of “justice” in a particular case?
If so, what makes you different from a rogue cop who lies about probable cause in order to convict a guilty criminal?
P.S. It’s a dodge to say that the Constitution provides for (or the Founding Fathers believed in) jury nullification. The oath is a promise to follow the court’s instructions, not some abstract view of “the law” as you believe the Founding Fathers intended you to apply it.
Would you take the oath, or not? Would you faithfully apply it, or not?
Let the rationalizing begin!
(Remember to mention Nazis!)